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Author: Brent Thompson

State v. Jones: Bad Stop or Bad Laws?

State vs Jones - Bad Stop - Bad Laws - Seattle Criminal Lawyer Blog

The Police Stop: A Quandary

Most of us do not want a police state where government officials or police can simply stop you and ask you for your “papers” for no reason.  Yet there is also that righteous indignation about those who “get off” “scot-free” because of “technicalities.” Consider this tension in the context of vehicle stops for minor technicalities. On one hand, no one wants to be stopped on their way to work for failing to follow a perfect vector down the road. On the other hand, we do not want our spouses, children, and friends to be put in danger on the roadway.

Years ago Division One of the Court of Appeals issued what became a somewhat controversial opinion in State v. Prado. You can read more about Prado here or review the opinion in full here. In short, the case concerned a driver who drove across an eight-inch white line by two tire widths while exiting the freeway. The driver was stopped for violating RCW 46.61.140(1) which requires vehicles to be driven “as nearly as practicable entirely within a single lane…”

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DUI Field Sobriety Tests – The “Eye Test” and its Limitations

DUI Eye Test - Limitations - Seattle Criminal Lawyer Blog

There are three standardized tests all officers in Washington are trained to administer during DUI Detection.

When I was in my early twenties, my best friend drove me to a New Year’s Eve party. He was the designated driver for the night. He drank one beer. The night was long. After the music stopped I hopped into my friend’s car and we began to head home. As we drove down a long county road my friend was pulled over by a deputy sheriff.

I recall the sheriff approaching the car and asking my friend for his license and registration. All documents were produced without issue. The sheriff then asked him how much he had to drink. My friend was honest and replied, “I had one beer a long time ago.” The officer asked him to step out of the car. That is when I saw him checking his eyes. The eye test took a little bit, but eventually the officer let my friend go on his way (unusual these days).

I recall my buddy coming back into the car saying something along the lines of “I didn’t have any problem with that test. It wasn’t hard to follow his finger.”

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Evolution of Search and Seizure Law: Blood Draws for DUI (Part 3)

Bood Draws for DUI - Search and Seizure - Seattle Criminal Lawyer Blog

In Part 2 we discussed the constitutional problem concerning admission one’s refusal to submit to a breath or blood test as substantive evidence of guilt.

Unfortunately, it seems there is a lack of uniformity among trial courts and judges concerning this issue at this time. But Missouri v. McNeely has caused the law to evolve in other ways as well.

In late July 2014 the Court of Appeals of the State of Washington released a new opinion in State of Washington v. Martines. As discussed in Part 2, the court recognized that the extraction of blood is a search. But the court went a step further:

It concluded that the testing of the blood is a second search distinct from the blood draw because the purpose is to examine personal information in the blood.

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Part 1: Why Conservatives Should Support Fed Legalization Of Pot In Washington State

Why Conservatives Should Support Federal Legalization of Pot in Washington State - Seattle Criminal Lawyer Blog

Conservatives champion small federal government limited to the express functions set forth in the constitution (i.e. enumerated powers), state sovereignty, federalism, separation of powers, laissez faire economics, and limited regulation.

Yet some conservative pundits (including Sean Hannity of Fox News) appear disgusted with the recent moves of Colorado and Washington state to legalize marijuana. Why? This may be consistent with social conservative values.

But it is inconsistent with conservative principles with respect to limited federal government and state sovereignty.

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