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Disclaimer: The criminal driving defense information presented at this site should not be considered formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer or attorney client relationship. Any results set forth here were dependent on the facts of that case and the results will differ from case to case. Please contact a Washington State drunk driving lawyer or attorney for a free initial consultation. This web site is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the State of Washington.

My defense law firm serves the following Western Washington communities, among others: Snohomish County, King County, Skagit County, Alderwood, Arlington, Bellingham, Bothell, Brier, Camino Island, Darrington, Edgewood, Edmonds, Everett, Gold Bar, Granite Falls, Index, Lake Stevens, Lynnwood, Marysville, Mill Creek, Monroe, Mountlake Terrace, Tulalip, Mukilteo, Silvana, Smokey Point, Snohomish, Stanwood, Sultan, Woodway, Anacortes, Bow, Burlington, Clearlake, Concrete, Hamilton, La Conner, Lyman, Marbelmount, Mount Vernon, Sedro Wooley, Bellevue, Kirkland, Lake Forest Park, Mercer Island, Redmond, Seattle, Shoreline, Woodinville.

I also serve the following Zip Codes: 98011, 98012, 98020, 98021, 98026, 98033, 98034, 98036, 98037, 98043, 98046, 98052, 98072, 98082, 98087, 98201, 98203, 98204, 98205, 98206, 98207, 98208, 98213, 98223, 98241, 98251, 98252, 98256, 98258, 98259, 98270, 98271, 98272, 98273, 98274, 98275, 98287, 98290, 98291, 98292, 98293, 98294, 98296





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Experienced and Aggressive Criminal Defense
1.  Be Polite.  Your demeanor with the police is recorded.  Sometimes on video tape or audio tape but most often just in the police report itself.  Prosecutors and Juries pay attention to your behavior and something as simple as being polite can make the difference between getting a good offer of settlement from the Prosecutor or not.  When it comes to trials, being polite might just make the difference for the Jury in deciding whether or not you are credible.

2.  Find a safe place to pull over.  Another factor often highlighted in police reports is the manner of driving. Not just during the initial observations, but also the response time and decision making displayed while pulling over. A jury may well excuse minor traffic infractions observed prior the officer’s emergency lights coming on but are less likely to dismiss bad driving after you know there’s a cop behind you. 

3.  Think safety.  Traffic stops are among the most dangerous activities a police officer can engage in.  The reason is simple: they have no idea what they are about to get into or whether there is a weapon in the vehicle.  As a result, officers will be especially concerned for their safety when approaching your vehicle.  To relieve some of this concern, keep your hands in plain sight on the steering wheel.  Avoid the temptation to start digging for your license, insurance card and registration, there will be plenty of time to gather those documents. 

4.  Don t argue with the cop.  Criminal charges can and should be fought.  Don t waste your breath trying to fight the charge at the scene.  Rather, choose to fight were it will make a difference: In the courtroom.

5.  Don’t make unnecessary statements.  In my experience, there is almost nothing you can say that will not hurt you in some fashion- even seemingly innocent statements.  If you are stopped by a police officer, he is investigating you for a crime or infraction; treat the contact that way.  You are required to provide certain information like your name, driver’s license, registration, proof of insurance etc.  Anything else you say can AND WILL be used against you – so politely decline to answer any other questions.  There are a million ways to do this but try something like, “I’ve been advised not to answer any questions like these and am choosing not to answer.”  There is no way you are going to talk your way out of a charge if the officer thinks he has grounds to arrest – so don’t try, it will only end up hurting you.

A common interrogation tactic is to take advantage of people’s natural desire to “Fill the Void” when one side of the conversation takes a long pause.  Experienced officers will employ this simple tactic to extract more statements from the person they are investigating.  Don’t fall for it, its just a trick.

6.  Don’t consent to the search of your car.  If a police officer is asking you for permission to search your car, then he probably does not have another justification for searching.  Allowing a police officer to search your vehicle will not help your case.  If he finds nothing that fact will most likely be ignored.  If he finds something – it can only hurt you.

In Washington State , a well recognized exception to the warrant requirement of our constitution is “Search Incident to Arrest.”  That means that if you are arrested, the police are allowed to search the “lunge areas” of your vehicle without your consent.  This does not include locked containers.

7.  Witnesses and written statements.  Evidence has a way of disappearing if it is not recorded immediately.  As such, it’s important to gather as much evidence immediately after arrest as possible.  This means writing down who was present at the time of driving and getting statements from those witnesses when possible.  Take the time to write down what happened, in your own words.  Put "For my Attorney" at the top of the paper - to preserve its confidential nature.

8.  License Status.  Because of a legal doctrine called "Due Process," your license cannot be taken from you until you have a hearing and a reasonable opportunity to be heard.   This means that if your license was good before the stop, its probably good until you get convicted.  If you have any doubts, you can check with the Department of Licensing here.

9.  More trouble.  If you license is suspended (even if you didn t know about it before the stop) the worst thing you can do is to continue to drive.  Most Prosecutors will make harsher offers for repeat offenders.  Talk with a lawyer and find out what other options exist, like restricted licenses etc.

10.  Contact a lawyer right away.  Being stopped for a Criminal Driving offense is stressful.  Contact a lawyer immediately and discuss your case.  Having answers to questions as basic as “What is going to happen?” or “Can I still drive?” can really reduce your stress level.

You will have to defend yourself in Court.  This means that you will have court dates that you must attend and you will be facing the prospect of jail time.  That is not something you need to face alone; a lawyer can help you through this difficult time and advise you on the best ways to win the case or at least minimize the impact of the charge.  



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