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Olympia Car Accidents/Personal Injury/Criminal Defense Blog

Former NFL player pleads guilty to DUI

Washington football fans may be interested to learn that, on June 19, it was reported that a former linebacker for the New York Giants pleaded guilty to DUI. The charge stemmed from a drunk driving incident in September 2016 when 57-year-old Lawrence Taylor struck a motor home and sideswiped a police car in Florida.

Authorities with the Florida Highway Patrol said that the former linebacker was driving a Bentley on the highway in Palm Beach County at about 5:20 p.m. when he struck a motor home. He then sideswiped a police car, taking off the vehicle's mirror. There were no injuries reported. Taylor was taken to Palm Beach County jail where he admitted that he may have had "too much" to drink.

Alternatives to jail time

People in Washington who are convicted of an offense may not necessarily have to go to jail. There are a number of alternative sentences that they might receive instead. For example, a person might get a suspended sentence. The suspended sentence may or may not have a condition, such as requiring the completion of a substance abuse program. Probation is similar to a suspended sentence but usually places restrictions on a person's freedom.

A person might be required to pay something either as a fine or restitution. The former is paid to the state while restitution is paid to the victim of the offense. For example, a person who vandalizes a building might be required to pay restitution to the owner of that building. Another alternative to a sentence or to paying fines is community service.

Common causes of pedestrian accidents

The temperatures are heating up, which means more people are taking to the sidewalks and roadways. If you are among them, it is important to recognize what this influx of foot and road traffic might mean for your safety. Many drivers taking to the streets during the summertime are students with limited driving experience, and this and other factors enhance your risk of injury as a pedestrian.

According to the Traffic Safety Store, more than 70,000 pedestrians suffer injury caused by vehicles each year, and about 4,000 of those pedestrians lose their lives. To reduce your chances of this type of an accident, know that many pedestrian accidents result from:

Speedy trials and the role of jurors

Washington residents who have been accused of committing a crime should be aware that they are guaranteed to a speedy trial under the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This ultimately means that those accused of committing a crime must be brought to trial within a reasonable time frame.

In the U.S., a speedy trial refers to an appropriate amount of time between the arrest and the commencement of the trial. The amount of reasonable time may vary by state and by the circumstances surrounding the case. However, a court could potentially dismiss a case if it is deemed that too much time has passed between when a defendant was taken into custody and when the trial was scheduled to commence.

Tiger Woods police report contradicts earlier media stories

Washington residents may remember Tiger Woods best for his early career dominance and sublime technique, but the 41-year-old golfer been involved in several off-the-course incidents in recent years that have tarnished his reputation and hindered his comeback efforts. The latest such incident occurred during the early morning hours of May 29 when Woods was taken into custody by police in Florida on DUI charges.

Celebrity gossip websites and major media outlets quickly seized on the story. The rush to brand Woods a dangerous drunk was further fueled by a mugshot in which the four-time Masters winner looked disoriented and tired. However, subsequent police reports revealed that toxicology testing had found no alcohol in the professional golfer's system.

Refusing to take a breath test

In the state of Washington, motorists who hold a valid driver's license or who operate a vehicle within the state lines are deemed to have given consent to have a breath test conducted on them by law enforcement personnel when requested. If they do not submit to a breath test, they could face certain legal consequences.

By statute, operators of vehicles give their implied consent to breath tests if law enforcement officers have reasonable grounds to believe that they are driving under the influence of alcohol. However, prior to administering the test, the officer is required to inform drivers of their rights under the law. This includes informing them that they have the right to seek additional testing by qualified individuals of their choosing.

David Hasselhoff's daughter charged with drunk driving

Washington residents may be interested to learn that actress Hayley Hasselhoff was taken into police custody on May 13 for driving under the influence. Hayley, the 24-your-old daughter of David Hasselhoff, has appeared in several television shows and movies, including "Sharknado." Her father has battled with alcohol and substance abuse issues publicly in the past.

Hayley Hasselhoff was reportedly driving on U.S. Highway 101 when her vehicle came to a halt on the Fallbrook off-ramp at about 4 a.m. Witnesses alerted the authorities to the stopped vehicle. When they arrived at the scene, authorities found the 24-year-old actress passed out with her foot on the brake. The authorities were able to wake her up and take control of the vehicle.

Washington's zero-tolerance laws for minors and drunk driving

Minors may be charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or marijuana in Washington even when their blood alcohol concentrations are lower than the allowed limits for drivers who are at or over the age of 21. If they are convicted of the offense, they may face serious penalties.

Under the law, drivers who are under the age of 21 who have blood alcohol concentrations of 0.02 or above but less than 0.08 may be convicted of driving while under the influence of alcohol. A conviction of the offense is a misdemeanor. Drivers who are under the age of 21 and who have blood alcohol concentrations of more than 0.00 of THC but less than 0.05 may be convicted of driving under the influence of THC, which is also a misdemeanor.

Study looks into the impact of ignition interlock laws

Washington is among the 26 states that mandate the installation of ignition interlock devices in the vehicles of all individuals convicted of DUIs. A recent survey suggests that the nation's roads would be safer if all states had such laws on their books. The study was conducted by researchers at the Colorado School of Public Health and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and it was published in the April 2017 issue of the "American Journal of Preventive Medicine."

Laws requiring the installation of ignition interlock devices have long been thought to deter repeat offenders and save lives, and the researchers looked at NHTSA accident data gathered between 1982 and 2013 to see if these arguments are borne out by the facts. They concluded that these laws reduce the number of alcohol-related fatal crashes by 7 percent and have saved the lives of about 1,250 road users since their introduction in 1993.

Washington poised to strengthen DUI penalties

After years of procedural delays in the state legislature, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has a chance to sign a bill that would classify the fourth DUI in 10 years as a felony that requires a prison sentence of 13 to 17 months. Existing state laws regarding drunk driving have been the weakest in the country. Under existing law, someone could be arrested for drunk driving five times before facing felony charges.

The effort to reform criminal classifications for repeat drunk driving offenses has floundered since 2013. Although the bill passed committees in the Senate or House multiple times, it never made it through a full vote until now.