Barbara A. Bowden

Tacoma, WA DUI Attorney

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Washington DUI Myths: Debunked

dui mythsCriminal defense lawyers in Tacoma, WA represent defendants charged with all different manners of crimes, from low-level misdemeanors to serious felonies. Driving under the influence of alcohol is one of the most common offenses in any state, with nearly 1.5 million people arrested for a DUI each year. That’s about 4,000 DUI arrests every day, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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Washington Governor Signs Harsher Felony DUI Laws

As of March 31, 2016, harsher penalties are in store for many repeat drunk driving offenders in the Evergreen State. Washington Governor, Jay Inslee, recently signed a new felony DUI bill that doubles the maximum penalties for felony-level drunk driving convictions.
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DUIs in Tacoma

Two major DUI crashes occurred in Tacoma this past February, resulting in two fatalities. Here’s a quick look at what happened:

duiPuyallup, Feb. 8

On Monday, Feb. 8, a 46-year-old man was driving home from work when a drunk driver hit his vehicle, according to KIRO 7 News. The driver, a 24-year-old woman, reportedly ran a red light at the Puyallup intersection of South Meridian and Pioneer. It was approximately 11:22 p.m. when her pickup truck T-boned a Honda civic and dragged it 80 feet, killing the man inside.

According to reports, the woman “seemed incoherent at the scene and did poorly in a field sobriety test.” Puyallup police officers reported smelling alcohol on her breath and stated that her speech was slurred. She admitted to the authorities that she had been drinking earlier that night, and that shebut thought she had hit a parked car.

She was booked on suspicion of vehicular homicide and her bail was set at $35,000. According to KIRO 7 News, her BAC level could not be confirmed at the time of her booking and therefore it was unknown if she was legally drunk while driving. However, her actions that night suggest she probably was. Police on the scene reported that she “only pretended to blow during two breathalyzer tests” after the crash and her BAC levels had to be tested in a blood draw test.

On the day of her booking, the situation took an interesting when the deceased man’s 16-year-old daughter used the opportunity to make a passionate plea against those who drive under the influence. She talked with reporters and photographers at the Puyallup Police Department just two days after her father was killed in the accident.

The teen expressed her grief, saying that her father will not be able to see her graduate from high school. She also asked others who consider drinking and driving to “stop and realize that you might change a life forever.”

Tacoma, Feb. 27

Another fatal DUI incident occurred at the end of the month in Tacoma, which killed one and injured three others. According to KOMO News, a 25-year-old Tacoma man was driving northbound at Interstate 5 and milepost 136 when he lost control of his vehicle. Authorities have stated that his speed and driving under the influence caused the man to lose control. There were three male passengers in the vehicle with him, ages 19, 25, and 26.

The 19-year-old passenger died in the accident, which occurred around 12:30 a.m., while the three other men were rushed to the local hospital for treatment. Charges are expected to follow.

Our legal team extends our deepest condolences to the friends and family members of those who have died from drunk driving crashes, and we urge all Tacoma residents to be mindful of your actions when alcohol is involved. If you’ve been in a DUI-related accident in Tacoma, please do not hesitate to contact The Law Offices of Barbara A. Bowden for legal assistance.


Drinking and the Holidays in Washington

The holidays are here—a time of good cheer and fellowship with friends and family. From wine to beer and eggnog to buttered rum, many of us enjoy our favorite alcoholic beverages during the holidays. Unfortunately, drinking and driving do not mix regardless of the time of year.

Alcohol-Related Accidents and Deaths during the Holidays

Wine on TableThe statistics are clear: alcohol-related accidents and fatalities increase during the holidays.

  • Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, it is estimated that 25,000 people will be injured and 1,200 people will be killed in alcohol-related accidents.
  • Thirty-one percent of traffic deaths each year are alcohol-related; however, during the Christmas holiday, that rate increases to 37 percent, and during the New Year’s holiday, the rate increases to 58 percent.
  • During the holidays, 40 percent of traffic deaths are related to alcohol.
  • DUI violations increase by 33 percent during the holiday season with New Year’s Eve being the highest increase (155 percent increase in DUIs).
  • Ninety-six percent of people surveyed admitted to going to work hungover during the holidays. Fifty-seven percent of people admit to driving while under the influence during the holidays.

What are common misconceptions about types of alcohol?

Unfortunately, many people have common misconceptions about alcohol that contribute to the number of DUI violations during the holidays.

MYTH: Beer is not as intoxicating as liquor.

MYTH: Drinking coffee, taking a cold shower, or turning on the air conditioner will sober you up faster.

MYTH: It is okay to drive after only a couple of drinks.

MYTH: Eating certain foods before drinking allows you to drink more before becoming legally intoxicated.

MYTH: If you can walk a straight line and stand on one foot, you are okay to drive.

TRUTH: Only time will sober you up because nothing you do will cause the alcohol in your system to metabolize any faster. Even one drink can impair your ability to drive.

What do you need to know about drinking and the holidays?

Approximately 40 percent of people who were polled admitted that they have friends and family members who use the holidays as an excuse to drink. While there is nothing wrong with enjoying your favorite alcoholic beverages during the holidays, it is dangerous to drive while impaired by alcohol. You are a danger to yourself and to others. It is also not illegal to become intoxicated during the holidays; however, it is illegal to drive in Washington while intoxicated.

In Washington, you can be convicted ofa DUI if your BAC is:

  • .08 or higher for anyone 21 years of age or older
  • .04 or higher for commercial vehicle drivers driving a commercial vehicle at the time of the stop
  • .02 or higher for anyone under the age of 21

Washington DUI laws are strict and the penalties for a DUI conviction in Washington are severe. Do not be sorry—be safe this holiday season!

When do you need a designated driver?

Always! The only way to avoid a drunk driving charge is not to drive after drinking. The safest way to enjoy alcohol during the holidays is to appoint a designated driver who will not consume any alcohol. You, your friends, and family can enjoy the holidays knowing that each of you will arrive home safe and sound. Assigning a designated driver is the responsible way to enjoy the holiday season.

Happy Holidays from The Law Offices of Barbara A. Bowden

We want to wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season. If you are charged with DUI this holiday season, remember you are innocent until the state proves you guilty of driving under the influence. Contact our office to discuss your legal defenses to a Washington DUI charge.

4 Big DUI Cases You Should Know About

DUIs happen all over the globe, each and every day.

People believe they are fine to drive, or maybe they have been wrongfully arrested of a DUI. There have been several cases across the U.S. in the last couple weeks.

Drink and KeysCave City, Kentucky

A 39-year-old man was arrested on Saturday, August 29, after being pulled over for suspected intoxicated driving. He was, in fact, under the influence of alcohol, in addition to possessing open containers and drug paraphernalia in the vehicle.

Although the man was in Kentucky, some similar laws apply to the state of Washington. It is illegal to have open containers in your vehicle in Washington,

Learn more about his arrest here.

Tempe, Arizona

A 25-year-old man was arrested after failing to stop at a DUI checkpoint in Tempe on Sunday, August 30.

The man was driving the vehicle, and another man was in the vehicle, in addition to the driver’s 1-year-old daughter. Law enforcers began to pursue his vehicle after he was seen driving recklessly.

The man was booked into Fourth Avenue Jail with a number of possible charges including DUI, child abuse, possession of drug paraphernalia and more.

You can read more about his arrest here.

Laurel, Delaware

A 38-year-old woman was charged with her second-offense of driving under the influence on Sunday, August 30.

Her vehicle hit a parked police vehicle around 4:00 a.m. on the side of the road. The woman was booked into Sussex Correctional Institution after she was unable to secure her bail.

Learn more about this incident here.

Owatonna, Minnesota

An 18-year-old male was arrested after his vehicle crashed into the median in Owatonna. The incident occurred around 3:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 22. The man was approached by police and told the police that he had consumed marijuana and fallen asleep.

Police officers conducted a field sobriety test, which he failed, and a breath test. The breath test showed that he had a BAC of .156.

The man has since been charged with two counts of DUI causing bodily harm, in addition to possessing marijuana and driving under the influence.

Accidents like these can happen. It’s best to be honest with the officers, but know your rights beforehand. Our attorneys can help you understand your rights in the state of Washington.

You can read more about his accident and other Owatonna incidents here.

Authorities are cracking down across the nation on DUIS in an effort to minimize these incidents.

If you find yourself close to one of these situations, call a cab to take you home. If you know you will be drinking, you should select a designated driver to take everyone home after a night of drinking.

If you or a loved one has been arrested for a DUI in Tacoma or Lakewood, Washington, contact the attorneys at The Law Offices of Barbara A. Bowden as soon as possible. Our attorneys are here to help you. Call today.

Michael Phelps Entered Recovery Program After DUI Arrest– Should You?

michael phelps duiIn early October, Michael Phelps splashed into the headlines, and not for adding another Olympic gold to his record-setting medal count. The serial Olympian was arrested for his second DUI. According to a report in Fox News, the 29-year-old was charged with drunk driving when he failed the field sobriety tests. His blood alcohol level registered at .14. [Read more…]