How an Experienced Olympia Juvenile Defense Attorney Can Help

Your teen got into trouble and now could be facing harsh penalties for what they allegedly did. You’re worried about what’s going to happen. You don’t want your teen to have to go to a juvenile detention center.

Instead of trying to navigate the complex court system on your own, take matters into your own hands and hire an experienced Olympia juvenile defense attorney. Here’s how they can assist you at this time.

They Will Review Your Case

A juvenile defense attorney in Olympia can review your teen’s case and possibly get it dismissed. Or, they may be able to get a reduced sentence for your teen, such as house arrest or community service.

They Can Connect With Prosecutors

An Olympia juvenile defense attorney will have connections with prosecutors in the area, which could serve your teen well. Your attorney will highlight your teen’s positive attributes in court and hopefully be able to speed up the legal process as well. Then, you won’t be left in limbo for months on end.

They Will Support You

Your attorney is here for you during this tumultuous time. They will be in your corner, answer your questions, address your concerns, and keep you updated at all times. They will be your partner in this.

Were you arrested for a crime in Olympia, Washington, or surrounding areas? Then contact The Law Office of David Lousteau, PLLC, for your free consultation. We fight for you and defend the rights of the accused. Visit us online or call us at (360) 493-2600 for an immediate response. We look forward to helping you with your case.

Mistakes To Avoid With a DUI Incident in Olympia

Encountering police and getting arrested for suspicion of DUI in Olympia is stressful. Several important things are at stake including whether or not you serve jail time, have a license suspension, or pay a large fine. Whether this is your first DUI event or you have been through it before, there are mistakes you should try to avoid. Here are some of them.

Talking to the Police

Other than identifying yourself and providing basic vehicle information, avoid answering police questions. There is no advantage to you by answering questions. You have the right under the U.S. and Washington State Constitutions not to, and, you could end up saying the wrong thing and hurting your case.

Not Calling an Attorney Promptly

Even though the court may provide you with a public defender, there are some things a public defender cannot do for you. The biggest one is advising you whether to file for a Department of Licensing Hearing, which, in some cases, must be decided within 7 days of a DUI arrest.

Posting on Social Media

Saying anything publicly about your DUI is a bad idea. You may post something that will get you into trouble and hurt your case. Don’t post about it on social media or talk to your friends and family about it – instead, save it for your attorney. Your private conversations with a lawyer are protected by the “attorney-client privilege,” these other conversations and postings are not.

Pleading Guilty At Your First Hearing

You may feel like you have to plead guilty because you have no choice. This is absolutely false! If you plead guilty without your lawyer having reviewed your case and advising you, you could miss important defenses. DUI’s can be highly technical cases. It is not unusual for someone to think they have no chance in court only to learn from an experienced DUI lawyer that there is a viable defense to the charge.

Were you arrested for DUI in Olympia, Washington or surrounding area? Then, contact The Law Office of David Lousteau, PLLC for your free consultation. We fight for you and defend the rights of the accused. Visit us online or call us at (360) 493-2600 for an immediate response. We look forward to helping you with your case.

Who’s Disregarding Washington’s Distracted Driving Laws? The Answer May Surprise You

A survey of 1,160 Washington drivers conducted by AAA of Washington shows that the group of drivers most likely to disregard the law isn’t teens—but “parents with children living at home.”

According to a report on kiro7.com, the most common illegal task drivers continue to do is setting up driving directions on a cellphone app or vehicle navigation system while driving.

“Of all the drivers surveyed by AAA, 82 percent say they have done this at least once in the past 30 days. For parents with children living at home, the number grows to 87 percent,” AAA Washington said.

How Washington’s E-DUI Law Works

Although lack of staffing on the Washington State Patrol has made enforcement of the E-DUI law something of a challenge, law enforcement does have latitude and the penalties do have bite. A police officer can pull someone over just for using a handheld device. The penalty for a first-time distracted driving is the standard traffic fine of $136. That fine nearly doubles to $235 on the second distracted-driving citation.

The parameters of the law aren’t completely inflexible. Drivers may use a smartphone in their car, but only if it’s mounted in a dashboard cradle, and drivers can only hold the device in their hand if they’re pulled off the roadway or traffic lanes.

According to Washington Patrol, there’s been a 5.5 percent decrease in the number of distracted driver-involved crashes in the year since Washington state’s E-DUI law went into effect. That’s after distracted driving became the second driver-related cause of traffic fatalities in the state from 2015-2017, according to AAA Washington.

What Happens If You’re a Heathcare Professional and You Get a DUI?

Washington state law mandates that “each [medical] license holder must self report any conviction, determination, or finding that he or she has committed unprofessional conduct.” State law also defines “unprofessional conduct” as “the commission of any act involving moral turpitude, dishonesty, or corruption relating to the practice of the person’s profession, whether the act constitutes a crime or not.”

What You Need To Decide

Here’s where your interpretation comes in. If you’re not certain about whether your criminal matter “relates to” your profession, you do have the choice to decide that it doesn’t and to subsequently not disclose it to the state Department of Health. But because failing to disclose this material fact to the Department may subject you to a separate track of discipline when you’re obtaining or reinstating a license, you should consider consulting an attorney before making any decision.

Even if you are ultimately convicted of your DUI/DWI charge, that charge may fall within the state’s “unprofessional conduct” standard—that is, “current misuse of alcohol [or] controlled
substances”

Caseloads and Delays in Washington’s Counties: How They May Affect You

Spokane publication The Inlander reports that the retirement of Spokane County judge Gregory Tripp, combined with efforts by the county to tighten its budgetary belt, has led to a backlog of DUI and domestic violence court cases that need to be heard. Although the district courts pledged to take up the slack, they seem to have been taken by surprise.

[Spokane district courts] didn’t foresee the kind of caseload they’ve had so far in 2018. Namely, district court has seen a staggering 28 percent increase in domestic violence case filings this year, along with a 25 percent increase in driving under the influence case filings over the same period, according to district court Judge Vance Peterson.

With regards the domestic violence side, the Inlander notes a fact that can be transferred to any county, including Thurston:

The city of Spokane [notes County Commissioner Josh Kerns] added 10 officers to the force in 2018. That could be responsible for some of the increase [in domestic violence cases being filed], with officers more easily able to respond to calls.

In short, higher staffing rates in a county’s law enforcement ranks will likely result in more domestic violence cases that need hearings. The bottom line is that if it can happen in Spokane County, it can happen in counties throughout Washington state.

What It Could Mean For Clients With DUI and Domestic Violence Charges

Counties across the nation face regular resource shortfalls. The lack of judicial reinforcements in Spokane County courts is a product of tougher Washington state law enforcement initiatives to combat the rising tides of both DUI and domestic violence incidents. Like most counties in the state, Thurston and others in the western part of the state face a rising caseload of both. If western Washington counties also (maybe inevitably) start facing resource shortfalls in their courts, both plaintiffs and defendants in DUI and domestic violence cases will likely face delays.

Lots of delays—in hearing schedules, filing procedures and all the other processes that make the state’s judicial bureaucracy tick. The wisest piece of advice to those charged with either a DUI or domestic violence: don’t delay things even further by missing filing deadlines and scheduled hearings in your case. And if necessary, get a responsible attorney on your side who can make sure to keep you on track.

An Extraordinary DUI Case & Three Lessons

What can we learn from a case where a law enforcement officer gets caught driving recklessly and dangerously under the influence of alcohol?

Turns out, more than you might think.

The Case

This past April, a former Stevens County Deputy Sheriff received a deferred sentence after driving while intoxicated through a crash scene and leading police on a high-speed chase last Thanksgiving in Flathead County, Montana.

The Flathead Beacon takes up the story:

According to court records, Hoover was driving down Montana Highway 35 in Creston on Nov. 23, 2017 when he drove through the scene of a fatal crash and struck a vehicle. A Montana Highway Patrol trooper who was helping investigate the crash got into his vehicle and started to chase Hoover […] Hoover and the trooper reached speeds upwards of 100 miles per hour.

[Hoover eventually turned] onto Sonstelie Road, where he stopped the vehicle and turned off the lights. Hoover then exited the vehicle with his hands in the air. Hoover admitted that he was looking at his phone when he approached the crash scene and never saw the vehicle he allegedly hit. Hoover took a breathalyzer test and blew a .178, twice the legal limit, according to court records.

The former officer was charged with felony criminal endangerment and misdemeanor DUI, to which he initially pleaded not guilty before later changing that plea. He was given a three-year deferred sentence for felony criminal endangerment, plus a suspended concurrent 175-day jail sentence.

Lessons We Can Learn From It

For one thing, it shows that of course anyone can get a DUI—even an off-duty law enforcement officer. But it also brings up three object lessons:

1. Keep your mobile phone out of reach when you drive so that it doesn’t distract you. Washington state distracted-driving laws are distinct from DUI, and they’re some of the strictest in the country. They disallow not just holding a personal device while you drive, but also associate an additional fine to activities like eating and drinking, applying makeup, shaving, and others if they do contribute to a traffic violation.

2. If you get into an accident, stay put—especially if you’ve had even a single drink. Don’t drive away, because you don’t need a hit-and-run on top of a DUI charge.

3. Do not submit to a breathalyzer test. Besides the obvious mistakes Deputy Hoover made, he somehow failed to remember that the test is voluntary in most states (including Montana as well as Washington) and officers can rely on it to build probable cause to arrest you.

Washington Cracks Down on Left-Lane Camping

Do you enjoy driving in the left lane on the freeway? It’s understandable — it’s less congested, and you can get where you’re going a lot more efficiently. But using the left lane for long periods, a.k.a. “left-lane camping,” is actually illegal. The left lane is for passing slower vehicles only; as soon as you pass the slower car, you should move back into the right lane.

Says Who?

According to Washington state law RCW 46.61.100, section 2, “all vehicles shall be driven in the right-hand lane then available for traffic, except (a) when overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction, (b) when traveling at a speed greater than the traffic flow, (c) when moving left to allow traffic to merge, or (d) when preparing for a left turn at an intersection, exit, or into a private road or driveway when such left turn is legally permitted.”

Basically, use the left lane only when you need to pass a slower-moving vehicle, and make sure that you move back over to the right lane once you have passed that slow poke. As tempting as it may be to hang out in the left lane, it might cost you.

Expensive Consequences

Left-lane camping is a common offense. In 2016, Washington State Patrollers stopped over 16,000 people for camping in the left lane. If you are pulled over for staying the left lane too long, you can expect to pay a hefty fine of $136.

What Does This Mean for DUI?

An officer can pull you over for hanging out in the left lane, which can then lead to other complications. In fact, a recent case upheld left-lane camping as a legal basis for pulling you over and then discovering you were also driving under the influence. Simply put, driving continuously in the left lane is a traffic infraction for which an officer can pull you over. If you’ve been drinking or consuming controlled substances, you then run the risk of being charged with DUI or DWI. So, don’t take any unnecessary risks—just stick to the right lane unless you’re passing.

The Law Office of David Lousteau

The Law Office of David Lousteau, PLLC

The Law Office of David Lousteau, PLLC