Barbara A. Bowden

Tacoma, WA DUI Attorney

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Fact vs. Hollywood: Trying to Get Out of a Traffic Ticket or DUI

Drunk and reckless driving is something that many movies and TV shows highlight for dramatic and/or comedic effect. Although these on-screen situations are certainly entertaining, they aren’t always the most accurate portrayal of what happens when an individual operates a vehicle under the influence or drives recklessly.

That being said, there are some important lessons to be learned from these movie and TV show clips. Let’s take a quick look at some of the most memorable scenes from the big screen that involve drunk driving or reckless driving:

1. The Mighty Ducks

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This was a 90s Disney classic that every Millennial (and their parents) are probably familiar with. The scene portrayed in The Mighty Ducks, where team coach Gordon Bombay is pulled over under the suspicion of drunk driving, is less flashy than most Hollywood portrayals of drunk driving. This scene is actually a good way to start off our list. It shows that anyone can make a mistake and be charged with DUI.

2. House of Cards

In the popular Netflix show House of Cards, the famous politician Peter Russo is pulled over for drunk driving. As many drivers do try to do, this character explained that he is too famous to be arrested for drunk driving—that perhaps a deal can be worked out instead. This is another rare case of a DUI arrest portrayed fairly accurately in a TV show.

3. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

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Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas provides an interesting perspective for driving under the influence of an illicit substance other than alcohol. Raoul Duke, the main character played by actor Johnny Depp, is clearly unfit to drive and his cognitive abilities are just as incapacitated as a drunk driver’s abilities (if not more so). In reality, this car chase scene probably wouldn’t happen. Technology has advanced so much that law enforcement officials can work together to locate and track drivers remotely and quickly.

4. The Wolf of Wall Street

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The Wolf of Wall Street provides another dramatic portrayal of driving under the influence of illicit substances. In real life, it’s not likely that a driver this incapacitated would be able to keep his or her vehicle running for as long as Leonardo DiCaprio’s character did. If nothing else, a real-life driver would be facing many painful injuries after causing that much property and vehicular damage.

5. Groundhog Day

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Getting out of this incident from Groundhog Day certainly wouldn’t be easy in real life. Even a small amount of property damage can mandate a hefty fine. Making casual jokes with the police officer who pulls you over is also not advisable. As this scene showed, it usually still leads to an arrest.

6. Easy Money

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The famous quote in this clip from the movie Easy Money—“I drive better when I’m drunk”—is unfortunately not as humorous when drivers use this logic to get behind the wheel after drinking. Research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that the average drunk driver will drive while intoxicated around 80 times before being caught, and 63% of the American population will be involved in a DUI-related accident (like the one narrowly avoided in Easy Money). Legislation called “open container laws” also prohibits passengers from consuming alcohol in a moving motor vehicle.

7. The Longest Yard

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This scene from The Longest Yard is a very good example of several things not to do when you are pulled over for reckless driving—and when police officers suspect that you are intoxicated. From insulting the police officers to showing evidence of his beverage, the main character played by Adam Sandler would be looking at a hefty fine and a long time in jail.

8. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

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Driving in a straight line in between two 18-wheelers and getting out without so much as a scratch? Unlike this scene from the movie Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, it is not likely to happen. Reckless driving—even when alcohol isn’t involved—is still considered a serious offense.

9. Bridesmaids

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When Kristen Wiig’s character is pulled over under the suspicion of DUI, the police officer asks her to perform a quick sobriety test: walking in a straight line. In real life, a police officer would more likely ask a driver to take a breathalyzer test instead. Walking in a straight line isn’t exactly the best test of sobriety, especially when you’re wearing heels. Her character manages to get out of a traffic ticket by appealing to the officer’s emotions, but in reality a driver would still walk away with a ticket for reckless driving.

But Outside of Hollywood…

Although drunk driving may be entertaining on the big screen, it is something that isn’t quite so humorous when you’re involved in drunk driving incident in real life. Even though more than 29 million Americans drive drunk every single year, around 4,000 are arrested every single day.

At The Law Offices of Barbara A. Bowden, we understand that the average DUI in Tacoma, Washington, is much more serious than the average DUI in Hollywood. If you’ve been charged with driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, contact our experienced legal team today.

Tacoma’s Temporary Moratorium on Marijuana Is Now in Full Effect

Although the state of Washington has legalized recreational marijuana usage, the City of Tacoma has placed a temporary hold on new retail operations associated with marijuana use.

Specifically, it prohibits new retail marijuana stores from opening up while the moratorium is active, but the nine state-licensed marijuana retail stores already operating in Tacoma will be allowed to keep their doors open throughout this period. This temporary moratorium could last as long as six months, but might only last four or five months if Tacoma city officials are able to revise marijuana-related regulations.

The Tacoma City Council unanimously passed this decision on January 12th. Now, the Tacoma Planning Commission will seek to devise new rules for the maximum number of marijuana-related storefronts there. The issue of medical and recreational marijuana legislation has been present in Tacoma ever since the state legalized the drug for recreational use, but this official pause is the first time that city officials have made an effort to revise older regulations in order to comply with newer state regulations. Up until now, marijuana usage has been a sort of gray area for Tacoma residents and regulations haven’t been strictly enforced.

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Marijuana breathalyzers coming soon to Washington?

Marijuana breathalyzers could be coming to Washington sometime this year, according to researchers at Washington State University. The breathalyzers would be a welcome tool for police, as recognizing individuals who are driving high can be a challenge.

Brethalyzer

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Marijuana breathalyzers coming soon to Washington?

Marijuana breathalyzers could be coming to Washington sometime this year, according to researchers at Washington State University. The breathalyzers would be a welcome tool for police, as recognizing individuals who are driving high can be a challenge.

What does this mean for drivers?

Not much right now. These breathalyzers will likely not be admitted or trusted for years to come. It is still important that Washington drivers know their rights under the law. In the state of Washington, a person cannot have more than 5 nanograms of THC (marijuana) per milliliter of blood to safely operate a vehicle. Currently, if an officer suspects that you are intoxicated with marijuana, they will ask you to submit to a drug recognition evaluation. Just like a field sobriety test performed when an alcohol DUI is suspected, this test is voluntary.

Police officers often look out for signs that might indicate a person is driving under the influence, such as

  • The smell of cannabis
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Speech irregularities
  • Marijuana inside the vehicle

Those who are pulled over for a marijuana DUI are typically stopped for similar reasons as alcohol DUIs. However, the body processes marijuana differently than it does alcohol. The same amount of marijuana can affect a chronic smoker and a new user very differently.

The safest thing to do is not risk operating a motor vehicle after consuming marijuana. Ask a trusted family member or friend to give you a ride, call a taxi or Uber driver, or wait to drive until you are completely sober. Knowing your limit as a marijuana user is very important. Much like a new medicine, you are advised to see how the drug will affect you before operating a vehicle.

Considering the consequences of a marijuana DUI, it’s not worth the risk of operating a vehicle impaired. A first marijuana DUI offense in Washington includes a 90 day license suspension and fines. A conviction could extend this punishment for up to four years. Of course, with more convictions come more severe penalties. A second or third conviction within seven years can yield a fine of up to $5,000 and between 30 days to one year in jail, not to mention license suspension for several years.

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What You Should Know About Holiday DUIs

Holiday DUI GuideBetween Thanksgiving and Christmas, it is estimated that 25,000 people will be injured and 1,200 people will be killed in alcohol-related accidents.

Click to view the full graphic.

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.

Understanding the Kerry Kennedy Sleep Driving Case

Most recently, Kerry Kennedy, the daughter of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, was charged with driving under the influence of a drug in the state of New York. She testified that she mistakenly took the wrong prescription drug the morning of the accident. She claims she did not feel any effects while she was getting ready to leave the house. She can only remember up to the point when she entered the highway; the next thing she knew, her car was stalled and a police officer was knocking on her window. Kennedy had side-swiped a tractor-trailer and was charged with an Ambien DUI, as she was found with the sleep aid in her system. Kennedy was acquitted of her charge. Read more about the Kerry Kennedy case and Ambien DUI defense.

6 Things to Know After Your First DUI

6 Things to Know After Your First DUIIf you are facing your first DUI charge, there are likely a lot of concerns running through your head.  Compounded with the stress of being charged with a DUI, it might be hard to understand all that is happening to you currently.  We have a list of important considerations to keep in mind when facing DUI charges:

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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.

What Happens at Court After a DUI Arrest?

August Bowden InfographicSo, you were charged with a DUI. Click the infographic to learn about what you can expect on your court date. If you have additional questions, contact the Law Offices of Barbara A. Bowden today. We have an office that is conveniently located in Lakewood, WA.