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DUI – Officer Illegally Stopped the Vehicle

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The Case

The client found himself accused of a DUI one late night in Vancouver. He was stopped by the police for veering from his lane on the freeway into the adjacent one. His defense attorney, Tom Carley, scrutinized the evidence carefully and managed to secure a positive result – a complete dismissal of the charge.

At a Glance

Case Type

A DUI Charge

Location

Vancouver, WA

Case Date

January 2023

Result

Full Dismissal

Case Details

  • Type of Case: DUI
  • Length of Trial: 6 months
  • The Final Verdict: The prosecutor ended up dismissing the case. 
  • Strategies Used: Tom Carley meticulously examined the evidence in the case, including the police report and the officer’s vehicle camera footage. After a thorough analysis, it was concluded that the officer had made several significant mistakes during his investigation.

The Overview

This client was charged with a DUI one night in Vancouver. The client was pulled over by police for drifting out of his freeway lane into the next lane. Defense attorney Tom Carley reviewed the evidence in the case and obtained a favorable outcome – a full dismissal of the charge. 

Research

This case lasted for six months. During this time, defense attorney Tom Carley combed through the evidence in the case, the police report and also the officer’s vehicle camera. Upon reviewing the evidence, it was determined that the officer committed several critical errors in his investigation. Tom Carley successfully argued this case to the court and to the Department of Licensing. Both entities ruled in the client’s favor.

About the Case

What did the officer do wrong? The officer illegally pulled over the client’s vehicle. In Washington, vehicles are required to be driven as nearly as practicable within a lane of travel under Revised Code of Washington 46.61.140. In State v. Prado, the Court of Appeals ruled that the “nearly as practicable” language in the statute demonstrated a recognition by the legislature that brief incursions over a lane line will happen from time to time. Based on this reasoning, the Prado court determined that a “vehicle crossing over the line for one second by two tire widths” is not enough for the office to pull a car over. There must be more errors committed by the driver in order for the officer to pull the car over. Prado ruled that RCW 46.61.140 does not impose strict liability upon drivers. Similarly, State v. Jones extended this ruling, holding that an officer is required to look at the totality of the circumstances. What were traffic conditions like? Did the defendant speed or go too slowly? Did the defendant cause any collisions or near collisions? Did the defendant commit any other driving violations? In looking at the totality of the circumstances, a defendant who crosses over a skip line, in isolation, is not enough for an officer to pull the vehicle over. 

In Tom Carley’s client’s case, the officer noticed the defendant’s vehicle drift out of its lane into the next lane. This sole infraction was the reason for the traffic stop. Both the court and the Department of Licensing ruled in Tom’s client’s favor, holding that the officer illegally pulled the car over. The case resulted in a dismissal. 

Justice

This case’s successful outcome underscores the importance of vigorous legal defense and the adherence to due process. In this instance, Tom Carley’s client was fortunate enough not to face any severe consequences due to the diligent work put into challenging the officer’s investigative methods.

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The Outcome

Tom Carley successfully argued to the court that the officer cut significant corners in his investigation, which resulted in several violations of his client’s rights. After the judge sided with Carley, the prosecutor ended up dismissing the case. A case dismissal resulted in no jail time, no conviction, and no license suspension for this client. 

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DUI – Officer Illegally Stopped the Vehicle

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