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Category: Blog

Differences Between Felonies and Misdemeanor Crimes in Washington State

All crimes in Washington are enumerated in the Revised Code of Washington (RCW). The codes outline what a crime entails and presents sentencing guidelines for the appropriate punishment. Washington crimes are split into two categories: felonies and misdemeanors. Misdemeanors are considered less serious offenses, and can be divided into “Simple” and “Gross” categories. Felonies are subcategorized into three classes: A, B, and C. These classes rank from most serious to least serious.

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How to Challenge Field Sobriety Tests (FST) in Court

The state must prove you operated a vehicle with a blood-alcohol-content (BAC) higher than .08 to convict you of driving under the influence (DUI) in Washington. A wide variety of tests can be administered by law enforcement on the field, but what is not often known is that many of the tests are not approved by the National Highway Traffic Administration. Due to this lack of regulation, it is possible for an experienced defense attorney to challenge field sobriety test results when contesting a DUI charge in court.

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What is a Mandatory Alcohol Assessment?

After a DUI conviction, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or state DUI criminal court can order you to attend alcohol education and treatment programs if you are classified as a DUI offender. These programs are officially known as Mandatory Alcohol Assessment Programs. You may have heard of the assessments referred to as “Drunk Driving Education” “DUI School” or “AEP.” Regardless of title, these programs have the same focus: alcohol education and therapy. Some DUI offenders can have their driving privileges restored if they complete the terms of their mandatory alcohol assessment.

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Washington IID Requirements for DUI

police dui test

Facing charges for DUI is no laughing matter; a DUI in Washington can follow you for life. If this is your first DUI charge, you may be interested in knowing that under Washington state laws, you may be required to install a device called an ignition interlock to drive your car if you are convicted for up to one year. This is a strong possibility if you do not have a strong DUI defense attorney to fight the charges against you.

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When can Police Search your Vehicle in Washington?

police search

In the United States, privacy and property rights are deeply valued. The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution grants each citizen the right to be “secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects” against unreasonable searches and seizures. In order for police officers to search your home or property, they are usually required to present a valid search warrant. However, if you have provoked the curiosity and suspicion of a police officer while driving a car, a search warrant is not needed for the officer to look inside your vehicle. All that is needed is reasonable suspicion, or “probable cause.”

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