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Read our blog for the latest info about DUI arrest representation in Spokane, including information about marijuana and under age DUI. Nicholas George is a DUI Defense Attorney with years of experience defending drunk drivers in Spokane, WA. Nicholas George Spokane DUI Attorney - The DUI Warrior! Legal Representation.

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Under Age Drunk Driving - What Can You Do?

Under Age Drunk Driving - What Can You Do?

Dark DUI Data

63% of Americans will be involved in a drunk driving accident in their lives. This will either be by the driver or another vehicle.

More than 29 million people have admitted to driving under the influence in the past year.

29% of convicted drunk driers have been convicted of a prior DUI.

The average person convicted of drunk driving is a first-time offender. However, on average the offender admits to having driven under the influence around 80 times before.

Under Age Drunk Driving

Underage drunk drivers are technically breaking two rules so their infraction is more serious. First, the consumption of liquor underage. Second, driving while intoxicated.

Specifically in Washington, underage drivers are commonly pulled over for driving under the influence of illegal drugs.

The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis board has reported the following:

• Compared to drivers over the age of 21, drivers between ages 16 to 20 are twice s likely to die in a car accident when they drive while intoxicated.

• Teenagers who begin drinking alcohol over the age of 15 are four times as likely to develop an alcohol dependence, compared to individuals who wait until age 21.

• In 2007 data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed underage driving cost Washington Residents $1.4 billion in that year alone.

What Can You Do?

It is vital for parents to be the convincing teachers who talk to your own son or daughter about drunk driving dangers and correct the steps following a drunk driving accident.

As with all DUI cases it is important for teens to remember these points if they are pulled over for drunk driving.

• Respecting law enforcement is essential. Drivers are not required to incriminate themselves. They still need to be respectful and refer to law enforcement as trooper, deputy, or officer.

• Implied consent laws require drivers to complete drug or alcohol tests at the station if they are pulled over under the suspicion of DUI.

• Drivers can choose which type of chemical test they prefer (blood, breath, or both). Portable breath tests should never be taken at the scene of a traffic stop.

• Never assume that driving after drinking alcohol will be okay, even if you are going somewhere “just down the road” or if you have “only had a couple drinks”. It is always better for both teens and adults to call a friend or family member who has not consumed alcohol for a ride.

It is crucial for parents and teens to understand that bad things happen to good people. Consequences do not have to be permanent.

Contact me today if your child has been stopped for a DUI defense. I want to help you.


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Unlike Alcohol, its Tough to Set DUI Limits for Marijuana

Recent article by Ashley Halsey III of the Washington Post focusing on the issues surrounding limits for drivers who have consumed marijuana:

There is a legal limit for drunk driving, but when it comes to marijuana, new research shows it may be impossible to say just how high is too high to drive.
There's no breathalyzer for pot, and researchers say blood tests are useless when it comes to telling whether someone who has been smoking is fit to drive.

The question matters now that four states have made it legal for any adult to smoke marijuana, and more than 20 others have approved its use for medical reasons. In Washington, one of the first states to approve recreational marijuana use, a study released this week found that 17 percent of drivers involved in fatal crashes two years after marijuana was legalized had THC, the component that creates the high, in their system.

At least 20 states have approved laws on marijuana use by drivers. A dozen of them have made any use of the drug by those behind the wheel illegal; six others have set a legal limit similar to the .08 alcohol level, with any driver testing above it subject to a DUI conviction.

A report by researchers at the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety said there is no threshold that indicates when a marijuana smoker may be too impaired to drive.

'There is no reliable number that has any meaningful value in terms of predicting impairment,' said Jake Nelson, AAA's director of traffic safety and advocacy.

The AAA Foundation recommends doing away with setting legal limits for THC. Instead, it says each police department should put a cadre of officers through 72 hours of training, followed by field testing, to be certified as drug recognition experts (DRE).

If an officer suspected marijuana use, a DRE could be called in to conduct an hour-long series of tests, and if they provide confirmation, a blood test would follow.

'It shifts the burden of evidence from the prosecution to the defense,' Nelson said. 'If you can prove that you weren't [using pot], you can avoid conviction, but if you can't beat this case, then you're going to jail.'

Nelson says that since there is no threshold, some people who are not fit to drive will get off the hook if they are stopped or involved in a crash.

'People who are driving impaired are still going to crash,' he said.

But 'if you have a blood concentration of THC below whatever stated threshold it is in your state, essentially the courts will presume sobriety. The odds of getting convicted of impaired driving, even if you're all over the road, are slim to none because of that number. And because we know from the research that the number is meaningless, that there's no research that supports any stated threshold, so to have those laws on the books is bad news.'


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Driving While Baked: New marijuana breath test device to detect levels of THC

The legalization of marijuana in Washington has raised concerns over 'drugged driving', including testing methodology, accuracy of tests for THC and unfair arrests for 'recent use' of marijuana. Proposed solutions include a new 'marijuana breathalyzer' for detecting the level of THC in your system.


Read more at the WashingtonTimes.com


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Drunk driver receives shorter prison sentence for treatment

Portland judge sentences eight-time DUI offender to shortened jail sentence allowing for intense treatment and probation.

Read more at The Spokesman-Review.com


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Fourth DUI could soon be a felony in Washington

Senator Mike Padden's (R-Spokane Valley) Senate Bill 5037, making a fourth DUI charge a felony, passes the House 85-11 Thursday evening.

Read more at The Spokesman-Review.com


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West Side man arrested for alleged 11th DUI

59-year-old Seattle man with a criminal history showing 10 previous DUI's is arrested for driving while under the influence for the 11th time.

Read more at The Spokesman-Review.com


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Driving While License Suspended (DWLS)

Driving While License Suspended (DWLS)

If you have been charged with driving while your license is suspended you could be facing jail time, fines, and a criminal conviction on your driving record along with increased insurance rates. If you are accused of driving with your license suspended it is important to have an attorney at your side.

Third Degree is the most common crime of driving while your license is suspended. This is a crime punishable up to 90 days in jail ad a $1,000 fine. You can be charged with this even if you did not know your license was suspended. All the prosecutor has to prove is that you drove your car while your license was suspended.

Second Degree is punishable by up to one year in jail and a $5,000. If convicted, your license can be revoked for an additional year. Meaning, you will have to take the driver's test again before you can get your license back.

First degree is also punishable by up to one year in jail and a $5,000 fine. There is mandatory jail time of 10 days if you are convicted on your first offense, 90 days for a second offense, and 180 days for a third offense. This is the most serious driving while suspended offense.


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Hit-and-Run

Charges of a hit-and-run are serious as you are subject to up to a year in jail, a $5,000 fine and license suspension in addition to higher insurance rates.

This is a crime that involves hitting a vehicle where there is either a drier or an occupant who is not injured and then leaving the scene. If you are a driver involved in an accident with an occupied vehicle, you must stop and provide your name, address, insurance information, vehicle license number, and driver's license. If you leave the scene without providing this information and are later found, a charge of hit-and-run 'attended' will almost certainly be filed. The state has two years from the date of the incident to file charges.

The state must prove you are aware of the accident. It is not necessary that you know or were aware that the other vehicle was occupied, even though this fact is what elevates the charge from a misdemeanor to a gross misdemeanor. If convicted, your license will be revoked for a period of at least one year.

Washington law requires that a person who has been involved in an accident that damages property to stop and provide his or her name, address, license, and insurance information. Hit-and-run unattended is a simple misdemeanor.

Your drivers license is not revoked upon conviction for hit-and-run unattended.


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Intermediate Licenses: Teenage Drivers Can and Cannot Do

If you are a teenage or the parent of a teenager, you are probably aware that the process to get your license is more complex these days. At sixteen and seventeen you can no longer simply receive an adults driver’s license. There is a whole process now, where a teenager has to go through a graduated licensing process. This process starts with an intermediate license where teens are restricted to a probationary period. This means with an intermediate license a teenager has more restrictions than an adult’s license. It is important to know exactly what these restrictions are and mean for teenagers.

Intermediate Licenses are Governed by 46.20.075

Teenagers may drive if they fulfill the following requirements:
1. The applicant must be at least sixteen years of age and be in compliance with the following:
a) The applicant has to have an instruction permit for six or more months (no less).
b)The applicant must pass a driving test administered by the department of licensing.
c) The applicant also has to pass a driver’s education course (that is certified in accordance with state standards).
d) A supervisor (parent, guardian, or employer) has to certify to the department of licensing that the applicant has driven fifty or more hours under supervision. Ten of these hours have to be driven at night. The supervisors have to be twenty one years of age and ad their license for at least three years.
e) The applicant cannot have a traffic infraction or citation pending.
f) The applicant cannot have an offense on their record involving the use of alcohol or drugs during the period that they have an instruction permit.

Once a teenager is eligible and receives their Intermediate License there are important restrictions a teenager and their parents need to know. If not, a teenager can receive a traffic ticket for an unknown Intermediate License Violation. This can result in a suspension of their license.

Intermediate Licenses: Rules and Limitations

Here is what Intermediate License holders cannot do:
1. A teenager cannot drive with a passenger for the first six months. Unless the passenger is over 20 years of age or intimidate family. Immediate family means the spouse, domestic partner, dependent children, and other dependent realities that live in the same household.
I. Even after the six-month restriction is lifted, the teen cannot drive with more than three passengers under twenty years of age or people who are not immediate family.

2. A teenager cannot drive between the hours of 1 a.m. to 5 a.m.
3. Similar to an adult license, it is important to remember that using a cellphone or other wireless devices are not allowed.

Any violation of these rule can result in a traffic ticket. If you are a teenager or the parent of a teenager that receives a traffic ticket, it is important to fight the ticket. Contact an attorney who can advise you of the best course of action when fighting a ticket. Call Nick George, available 24/7 at (509) 474-1112.
Here is what Intermediate License holders can do:
1. The use of a cellphone is permitted when calling 911 to report an emergency or illegal acticity.
2. After driving with an intermediate license for twelve-month probation period, then a teenager with no convicted traffic offenses can drive without a passenger or curfew limitation. The teenager has to also be free from accidents on their record where more than one car was involved and the teen was cited at fault.

It is Important to Fight Any Teenage Traffic Ticket

It is important for you teen to be a safe driver. Not only do you want them to be safe, but there can be costly consequences to risky driving practices by teenagers. For one, insurance rate will rise with any driving offenses on their record.
Above all, you must be concerned with the consequence of a suspended license. The odds that a teenage driver will receive traffic tickets are fairly high. This is because teenagers are just learning the rules of the road and become easily distracted. Sometimes, teens knowingly break rules due to feeling invincible or just immaturity. Many times, teens will not take into consideration the consequences of traffic ticket and the higher insurance premiums. Any violations made while driving with an Immediate License can be issued as a traffic ticket.


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Intermediate Licenses: What Teenage Drivers Can and Cannot Do Cont.

RCW 46.20.267 Intermediate License Restrictions


A person using an Intermediate License who violates a traffic offense described in RCW 46.61 or the restrictions on an Intermediate License under RCW 46.20.075 (above) will be subjected to the following:
1. First Conviction: The department shall mail the parent or guardian of the teen violator a warning letter. The letter also includes the consequences for any subsequent violations:
2. Second Conviction: The Department of Licensing will suspend the person’s immediate driver’s license for six months, or until the person reaches eighteen years of age; whichever comes first. The parents or guardian will receive a notice of the suspension.
3. Third Conviction: The license will be suspended until the person reaches eighteen years of age.

For the purposes of this section: a single traffic ticket for more than one offense constitutes a single traffic offense.

The Dire Consequences of Receiving More than One Traffic Ticket


If a teenager commits two traffic offenses within a six-month period, they face a suspension of their license. This means your teen will not be able to legally drive for at least six-months. On the third conviction they will have their license suspended until they reach eighteen.
Parents are inclined to let their teenagers receive a lesson when it comes to their first traffic ticket. While getting a ticket can be a valuable lesson, there is the danger of later having their license suspended for another infraction. It is harmful not to fight the first ticket a teenager receives. Statistically, teens have a higher chance of speeding or being involved in a traffic collision. Teens have a greater chance of speeding or being involved in a traffic accident. Teens have a greater chance of speeding and being involved in an accident. Many report being under the influence and influence from friends. Over half of all teens admit they drive fast on occasion.
Just because you think your teen has learned a lesson from getting their first ticket, does not ensure that they will not make future driving mistakes. This is why it is vital to talk with your teens about safe driving and put up a fight against those first driving tickets. A teenager losing their license until eighteen can have negative impacts on the whole family. Contact Nick George for a free consultation about your teen’s ticket.


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Legal Aspects of Possession and Use of Marijuana: Legality

The following information will help you better understand the legal aspects of possession and use of Marijuana. If you have been arrested for marijuana possession or driving while under the influence of marijuana, we can help you fight the charges in Spokane Court.

What is Marijuana?

'...all parts of the plant Cannabis, whether growing or not, with THC concentration greater than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of the plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant, its sees or resin.'

What is Usable Marijuana?

'...dried marijuana flowers. The term 'usable marijuana' does not include marijuana-infused products.'

What are Marijuana-Infused Products?

'...Products that contain marijuana or marijuana extracts and are intended for human use. The term “marijuana-infused products” does not include usable marijuana.'

What is Delivery?

'...The actual or constructive transfer from one person to another of a substance, whether or not there is an agency relationship.'

What does Distribute Mean?

'...To deliver other than by administering or dispensing a controlled substance.'

What is Legal Under Washington Law?

A person who is 21 or older may posses a total of
1 oz. of usable marijuana
16 oz of marijuana-infused product (solid)
7 oz of marijuana-infused product (liquid)
The possession, use, and related drug paraphernalia.

What is not Legal Under Washington Law?

The possession of marijuana between 28.3 grams and 400 grams (misdemeanor).

Possession of 40 grams or more (Class C Felony).

Possession of Marijuana by a person under 21 (exceptions for medical).

The manufacturing and or delivery of marijuana unless the Washington State Liquor Control Board promulgates regulations; licensed the producers, processors, and retailers to manufacture and deliver marijuana-infused product.

What do Police Look for in a Marijuana DUI?

The observance or smell in a vehicle indicating that the driver may be impaired.

Using marijuana may be legal, but driving impaired is not.

Officers are learning:
• The effects of marijuana consumption.
• The physical and behavioral indicators of marijuana consumption and impairment.
• Proficiency in the use of Standard Field Sobriety Tests.

What are Other Effects of Marijuna?

THC calms users. This makes them generally cooperative so that police can extract details about their use and consumption.

Users are generally jovial, talk loud, and exhibit inappropriate humor.

In general, marijuana users feel they have the ability to perform any physical or mental task. They easily loose interest and forget instructions while under the influence.

Later in the duration phase, as THC levels fall, users become disinterested and sometimes paranoid.


What are the Effects of THC and Alcohol?

Combined consumption of low levels of THC and alcohol appear to impair users out of proportion to the amount consumed.

THC slows actions, making users cautious. THC users may be driving under the speed limit.

Consuming alcohol along with marijuana tens to overcome the slowing aspect to the THC and user may speed to the point of recklessness.

What are the effects of THC Infused Product?

THC users may not be smoking marijuana, but instead using liquids infused into foods. In this case the officer might not be able to observe or smell marijuana.

Cops may see signs of impairment to which they can ask the driver if marijuana was used and how it was consumed.

Police are investigating into articulate objective facts of THC impairment before the arrest, implied consent warnings, and blood draw.

When an arrest is made, police follow case law, agency policy, and their training in securing the evidence of marijuana consumption.

What Happens in a Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) Performance?

Eyes – Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus
• Looking for unresponsive and dilated (large pupils).
• Lack of convergence (the inability of the eyes to come together)
Walk/Turn and One-Leg Stands
• Impairment on attention (forgetting instructions)
• Muscle Tremors
• The same impairments of alcohol
Romberg Balance
• Estimated time of 30 seconds, standing with feet together, hands at side and head tilted.
Police look for:
• Muscle and eyelid tremors
• Swaying
• Impaired time perception


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Reckless Driving or Racing

If you have been charged with reckless driving r racing the penalty could be up to one year in jail, $5,000 fine, and a thirty (30) day license suspension. On top of the penalties you will have to file as a SR 22 or high risk insurance that is in place for three years.

Police can issue charges for anyone speeding over twenty (20) miles per hour over the sped limit. Reckless driving is defined as driving with willful and or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.

You can be charged with racing even if you are not speeding. Police can compare two vehicles with the speed they are driving. You do not have to know the other driver to be charged. It is important to have a lawyer at your side when charged with racing or reckless driving.


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Speeding Tickets

Not only can reckless driving or racing drive up your insurance rates, but speeding tickets can also make your insurance rates higher for three years.

RCW 46.61.440 – The speeding statute. Speeding tickets are infractions that insurance companies pay attention to for raising rates. Speeding tickets can be based on pace, radar, laser, lidar, aircraft, or visual estimates. Officers do not have to make you sign the ticket or even had you the ticket. They can mail you the ticket after they observe you.

RCW 46.61.440 – The speeding in the school zone statute. If you have been issued a ticket for speeding in school zone this is a serious offense. The fine you are subjected to is higher than a normal speeding ticket. Also, judges cannot reduce fines on a school zone speeding ticket. Some judges will not defer a school zone ticket.

If you hire Nick George to fight your speeding ticket or school zone ticket, he will go to Court for you. Nick has been in practice for over a quarter of a century and is dedicated to getting positive results.


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SR-22 Insurance: What the Heck is it and Why Should You Care?

You may be required to purchase a high risk, SR-22 insurance policy by the state of Washington as a result of a DUI conviction, a Reckless Driving conviction, or multiple convictions for civil traffic infractions. Typically, a driver is required to maintain an SR-22 policy for 3 years, but the underlying reason for the policy may change the total amount of time that you are required to carry it.

SR-22 is a creature of the government. Technically, SR-22 is a certificate of insurance issued by an insurance company that shows proof of liability insurance to the Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL). It is Washington State's requirement that you have a form which proves you hold a high-risk auto insurance policy for specific periods of time. SR-22 is referred to as a 'Financial Responsibility Form.'

If your driver's license is suspended, Washington State may require you to provide SR -22 in order to get your license reinstated. Without an SR-22 Financial Responsibility Form, you cannot reinstate your license. If you are required to show proof of Financial Responsibility, you cannot just present your insurance card or even your insurance binder to DOL. A SR-22 is a separate filing that is sent to you by an insurance company to present as proof to the DOL. Many insurance companies will work with you to provide proof of SR-22 on the same day that you purchase the policy.

Just because you've been required to carry SR-22 insurance doesn't mean you don't have options. You can purchase high-risk insurance whether you own a vehicle or not. You can also apply SR-22 to a motorcycle policy. Finally, you can purchase SR-22 as a liability only policy on a vehicle, or liability plus full coverage (comprehensive and collision).

Why does this matter for me?

An SR-22 policy is expensive. The SR-22 Financial Responsibility Form only requires a filing fee of approximately $15. The problem is that once you are required to carry SR-22, you are placed in a high risk category. If you weren't already a high risk policyholder, your insurance premiums will automatically increase.

It's impossible to state the cost of an SR-22 insurance policy because of all of the factors that go an insurance company's calculation (including type of offense, policy holder's age and prior driving history). However, according to Mothers Against Drunk drivers, the average amount of SR-22 based on a DUI conviction is between $3600 to $6000 a year. The amount is on top of all of the fines and fees that you encounter in order to reinstate your driver's license.


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Traffic Tickets and Immigration Status

If you are an immigrant living and driving in Washington State, you should be aware that even a minor traffic ticket can have devastating consequences.

According to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Data, '13,028 immigrants were deported in 2011 after being arrested on less serious traffic law violations, nearly three times the 4,527 traffic offenders deported two years earlier.' source: Click Here

According to 2011 article in The Seattle Times, despite great protest by immigrant communities, the Obama administration changed its priorities to focus on deporting illegal immigrants who are criminals or pose a threat to national security or public safety, rather than traffic violators. So, there is some relief in sight for those immigrants fearing deportation for traffic tickets. However, while the change is being effectuated, there are hundreds of thousands of deportation cases pending in immigration court that must be reviewed on a case by case basis. Source: Click Here

Essentially as an immigrant without legal status if you receive a Washington State traffic ticket, you need to consult an attorney to protect you. The deportation laws with regard to traffic tickets are constantly changing.

Deportation is a cruel process. Even if you succeed in your fight against INS, it may involve lengthy detention, separation from your family members, and other emotional trauma.

Also, police often arrest drivers they suspect of being undocumented. 'The rise in traffic offenders in the deportation statistics worries immigration advocates, particularly because traffic stops are largely made by police, sheriff's deputies and the highway patrol.

The best way to prevent deportation is to keep Washington traffic tickets off your record in the first place. Attorney Nick George has helped many clients in similar situations to yours keep their driving record clean. If there are no new traffic tickets on your driving record, you have nothing to worry about. Further, you can fight a traffic ticket without fear of jail or being detained.


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Traffic Infraction Defense

BY NICK GEORGE

Traffic infractions should be taken seriously. Unresolved, they can adversely impact you in many ways. I am devoted to achieving the best possible result for you. However, I would ask you to abide by certain ground rules. They are as follows:

A. Scope of Representation

• I do not represent defendants appealing committed findings on tickets.
• I do not defend parking tickets or camera tickets.
• I do not represent you for automobile property damages/personal injury claims.

B. If You Hire Nick George, This is What is Expected of You.

• Sign and return Flat Fee Agreement as soon as possible. Time is of the essence in responding to traffic tickets.
• Pay my fees promptly. Prompt payment helps my fees stay relatively low. If you are having problems, please contact my office so we can help you.
• Let us know of any address or phone number changes.
• Answer any questions I have asked truthfully and completely. Please respond in writing.
• Take care of insurance, licensing, and defective equipment problems promptly.
• If you believe there are facts I need to have for our hearing, please put them in writing or supply me with photographs that will support your case.
• Treat all court personnel with respect, judges and clerks alike.

C. My Mission Statement

The overriding goal of every traffic ticket I defend and represent, is to obtain the best possible result so that the charge(s) involved impact your driving record and, in turn, your insurance and/or employment situation in the least adverse way possible. Obviously, the first goal is to dismiss every charge. Based upon the volume and length of my experience, I can tell you that is going to happen 100% of the time.

If dismissal is not going to occur, there are several options available to minimize the impact on your driving record, insurance rates, employment, and more. My goal is to get the best results possible under the circumstances.

I understand that, depending on the fact and circumstances of the traffic ticket (e.g., the charges involved, the specificity and other witnesses, your admissions, the judge, the court, your driving history, the prosecuting attorney, etc.) these charges may be found to be committed under relatively low standards of proof, despite my best efforts. I DO NOT GUARANTEE ANY SPECIFIC OUTCOME AND I DO NOT GUARANTEE DISMISSAL OF THE CHARGES INVOLVED. YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE TO PAY THE COURT FOR ANY COURT-ORDERED FINES OR COSTS. YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR COMPLYING WITH ANY COURT-ORDERED CONDITIONS AND/OR COMPLETING ANY NEGOTIATED DEFENSIVE DRIVING CLASSES.

D. FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)

What are my chances of getting this ticket dismissed?
Every case is unique. Results depend on a number of factors, including but not limited to:
Facts the officer wrote in case
If there are defects in the ticket
Judge deciding your case
Admissions you made to the officer
Whether the public records, if any, are properly on file with the court
What are the legal elements involved in the charges against you
The identity of the prosecutor

All of these facts are what I have to evaluate in handling your case. However, these are known right at the very moment of the hearing, and not before that time.

Do I need to appear at my Court hearing?

Contested hearings are civil matters. If you are represented by an attorney, the general rule is that you do not need to appear. However, if there are facts you need to dispute or let the court know about, then you will have to appear because you cannot simply submit a written statement when you are represented by an attorney. The charges involved are also important factors in this issue. Unless you receive a subpoena from the court, or if we write you that you need to appear, then you need not appear. However, if you want to see what happens, you certainly should come to court.

I have gotten my ticket dismissed before, so this one will get dismissed, won’t it?

Every ticket is unique and depends on infinite factors. Like the disclaimer in financial ads that past performance is no guarantee of future success. You should also be aware that Washington maintains an unofficial record on you, which is available only to courts, police, and prosecutors. It is called “DCH” and it lists every traffic citation and/or criminal charge for which you received a ticket or notice. If you have an extensive DCH but your ADR is clean because you have had a number of tickets dismissed, this fact is certain not to escape the notice of prosecutors. Over the past twenty years the trend has reversed. Then, most courts did not have prosecutors at contested hearings. Now, many courts do have prosecutors at contested hearings.

Do I need to make an appointment to hire Nick George?

No. You may contact the office by clicking the Contact Us button below.


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Causes of Inaccurate Radar Reading

Introduction

Did you know that more than a quarter of traffic violations that are given are done in error? Faulty radar guns, laser guns, and other faulty techniques can cause you to receive a ticket that you should have not received. What makes matters worse; most people who receive traffic tickets pay their fine and never think twice about it.

Interference

One of the most common forms of a faulty reading for radar guns and laser guns is interference. Radar guns use the electromagnetic spectrum to help them gauge the speed of a vehicle. Problems arise with interference when the electromagnetic spectrum has multiple forms of energy happening at once. Air conditioners in police cars and power lines overhead are common forms of interference.

Cosine Error

A correct reading on police equipment comes with experience. A cosine error on radar guns, typically happen with inexperience. These faulty readings usually occur due to the angle in which the police care is sitting or moving.

Shadowing

If a police officer is attempting to determine the speed while moving, a shadowing effect is common. This occurs when the officer passes behind a moving object, like a tractor-trailer. Radar guns will pick up the moving truck as the background instead of the real background, causing a faulty reading.

Two Other Common Techniques Used by Police to Detect Speeders are Pacing and Aircraft:


Pacing

Pacing is commonly used by police to issue speeding tickets. When officers drive behind a car, they can determine the speed without a radar gun or laser. Officers simply follow cars and note their speed using the speedometer in the police car. For pacing to be accurate, the officer needs to maintain the same distance between their car and your car. This must occur long enough for the officer to achieve an accurate reading.

Problems typically arise with pacing if the officer follows you around curves or up or down hills, or if the pace is interrupted by a stop sign. Pacing is one of the least accurate forms of speed measurement, especially if the officer paces you but maintains a great distance between his and your car.

Air Craft Speed Detection

Air craft speed detection is used by officers to detect the speed a car is traveling based on how fast a car travels from one marker to another marker. There is a pilot who uses a stopwatch to determine this speed. The pilot can then inform an officer on the ground to pull you over.

Do not assume because an officer has used one of these speed measuring technologies, that you cannot successfully fight your speeding ticket. On the contrary, thousands of Washington speeding tickets are dismissed each year due to inaccurate readings and other errors. Radar guns, laser guns and other forms of speed measurement are not foolproof.

If you simply pay your traffic ticket, you are admitting the violation that you may not have committed or that you could have beaten in court.


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Should I Mitigate or Contest my Traffic Ticket?

What is a Mitigation Hearing versus a Contested Hearing?


The difference between a Mitigation Hearing and a Contested Hearing is if you elect to 'mitigate' your Washington traffic ticket, you admit that you committed the traffic violation. You are telling the judge that you admit you did what the police officer said you did but want an opportunity explain the circumstances.

Once you admit to the Court that you committed the traffic infraction, the traffic ticket will go on your driving record. At best, the judge may reduce your fine. Do not seek to mitigate your traffic ticket with the hope that a judge will dismiss it. A mitigation hearing is not the forum to fight your traffic ticket. If you want to try to get your ticket dismissed, you need to request a Contested Hearing instead.

Contested Hearing?


A Contested Hearing is the opposite of a Mitigation Hearing. By requesting a Contested Hearing, you are telling the judge: 'I did not do what the police officer said I did.' A Contested Hearing is like a small trial. Often, a prosecutor is present to argue the State or City's case before the judge. In some jurisdictions, no prosecutor appears. Nick George is familiar with over seventy Washington State Courts.

At a Washington Contested Hearing, the defendant does not have to appear. A defendant has the right to have his or her attorney appear on his behalf. Often, it is in a defendant's interest not to appear at the Contested Hearing. If the defendant is present, the prosecution can call a defendant to the witness stand and he or she must testify. Unlike a criminal trial, there is no Fifth Amendment right not to testify against yourself in a Contested Hearing.

At the hearing the judge first hears preliminary legal motions from both sides. In many Contested Hearings, legal motions brought by defense result in dismissal of the traffic ticket.

If legal motions are unsuccessful, the hearing proceeds. The City or State presents its case because, as the government has the burden of proving you committed the traffic infraction. Both the prosecution and defense have the right to call witnesses and present testimony. Frequently, defense will question the police officer who wrote the ticket or the speed measuring device (RADAR or LIDAR) experts who maintain the speed measuring device. The defendant also has the right to testify. Finally, both sides make final argument to the court, and the judge renders a decision. The standard of proof in a Contested Hearing is a 'preponderance of the evidence.' Preponderance of the evidence is a much, much lower burden of proof than the criminal standard of :beyond a reasonable doubt.' It means, whether the judge believes it is more than likely than not that you committed the traffic infraction (about 50% and a feather).

Should I Mitigate or Contest by Traffic Ticket?


If you mitigate your Washington traffic ticket, it will go on your driving record. Further, it will cause an increase in insurance premiums. Thus, you may pay much more in the long run.

I've Already Requested a Mitigation Hearing. Can I Contest my infraction instead?


Yes, if you've requested a Mitigation Hearing from the court but now realize that your interests are better served by fighting your traffic ticket, Nick George can help. He can contact the Court and request that your hearing be changed to a Contested Hearing.


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What Should I do if Pulled Over for a Traffice Infraction of a Criminal Traffic Violation (DUI)?

1. Make sure you pull over correctly and safely.


The law requires drivers to pull over onto the right shoulder in response to a police officer's lights. Do not pull over on the left shoulder. If you do, the police officer can order you to move your vehicle to the correct side. The officer can also give you a traffic ticket for pulling onto the wrong shoulder. Minimize danger to the police officer by pulling safely off the roadway as far as possible on the right shoulder.

2. Keep all of your necessary documents organized and available.


It does not matter who you are, when pulled over, all drivers get nervous. To help yourself, keep all documents accessible to alleviate your nerves. Keep your license, registration, and proof of insurance near enough that you will not have to exit the vehicle. This will help your interaction with the officer go smoothly. An officer is more likely to give you a break if you quickly provide all of the right documents.

Do not forget to ensure you have all these correct documents in your car. Renewed your driver's license. Check if your vehicle tabs are expired. Is your Vehicle Registration signed? Many people forget to have these tasks up-to-date and more consequences can result from these mistakes. Finally, do you have your insurance card, and is it expired? Hundreds of 'No Proof of Insurance' traffic tickets, if not thousands, are issued in Washington State each year simply because drivers forget to keep proof of insurance in their car.

3. Put the law enforcement officer at ease.


An officer faces the prospect of danger during every routine traffic stop so, do your part to make the officer feel safe. Keep your hands in sight so the officer can see them. Do not make any strange or sudden movements. Including reaching for your documents until instructed. When pulled over at night or in bad weather turn on your interior light so the officer can easily see what you are doing and that you do not have any weapons.

4. Be polite and respectful.


Generally, police officers are regular people who want to make it home safe from work. When an officer pulls you over they know very little about you. Their job is, by its nature, high risk. Put the officer at ease by being polite and cooperative. The more respect you show them, the better your conversation will be. Further, the more respect you demonstrate, the greater chance you have for getting a warning or a ticket written for a lesser infraction.

Even if you encounter a police officer who you feel is rude or disrespectful, the rules for you remain the same. It may not be easy, but you must maintain a polite demeanor to end the interaction quickly. Under no circumstances should you argue with an officer or ask to see the radar reading. Arguing with a police officer will not only get you nowhere, it could make things much worse for you.

5. The less you say, the better.


Do not try to talk your way out of a ticket or plead your case. While being as polite and respectful as you can be, say as little as possible. Chances are, anything you say will be written by the officer in his police report. It may be offered as evidence against you in a contested hearing. Further, if you make an admission, it may limit what your traffic attorney can do with regard to your traffic ticket in court.

You have a duty to identify yourself and provide your license, registration and proof of insurance. Beyond that, you do not have an obligation to say anything to a police officer. One of the first questions police officers ask is: 'Do you know why I pulled you over? Or, 'Do you know how fast you were going?' The best way to answer to that question, is to say, 'I'm sorry officer, I don't know'. You've been polite, you've answered the question, and you've said nothing incriminating. If the officer continues to question you, continue to answer the same way.

6. Do not make any admissions.


Under no circumstances should you tell a police officer what you thought you did wrong or how fast you were going. First of all, you do not know why the officer pulled you over. Even if you suspect you know what you did something wrong, your statements are evidence that can be presented against you in court.

7. If you make admissions, an attorney can still fight your traffic ticket.


If you believe you've given an officer incriminating information (such as admitting to an officer that you were speeding), it is still worth hiring an attorney to fight your traffic ticket. Attorney Nick George is used to seeing traffic tickets containing incriminating statements made by his clients. He knows how to best deal with those statements, and how to get a traffic ticket dismissed despite them.


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Nicholas George - Spokane Criminal Attorney & DUI Attorney

1312 N. Monroe, Suite 263, Spokane, WA 99201
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