In this DUI case, my client (“MC”) was arrested for driving under the influence in Snohomish county. The state trooper stopped MC’s vehicle for allegedly “not having working license plate lights” and nothing else. After a brief DUI investigation, the trooper arrested MC for DUI (driving under the influence).
RCW 46.37.020 mandates vehicles to display lighted headlights and other lights after sunset or before sunrise and at any other time when persons and vehicles on the highway would not be clearly discernible at a distance of one thousand feet. This statute is relevant because it would determine by law when lights are required on a vehicle while driving and in what type of conditions.
RCW 46.37.050(3) states: “Either a tail lamp or a separate lamp shall be so constructed and placed as to illuminate with a white light the rear registration plate and render it clearly legible from a distance of fifty feet to the rear…” This statute is relevant because it specifically relates to a vehicle’s license plate and some facts related to my case.
My evaluation of MC’s DUI case; the trooper had no basis to stop MC’s car. However, the state prosecutor didn’t agree with me. I never take it personal when a prosecutor does not agree with me because, at times, I know they are just doing their “duty.” So, I set MC’s DUI case for a motion hearing. A motion hearing is a hearing similar to a trial but without a jury. There is no waiver of a jury trial for this type of hearing. It’s a hearing where testimony will be provided by witnesses and legal issues presented to a judge. After hearing all the issues the judge will decide and make certain rulings.
Fortunately for MC, the judge agreed with my argument and dismissed MC’s DUI case! The judge decided the trooper did not have a reasonable basis to stop MC’s vehicle. As MC criminal defense attorney, I put a lot of time and energy reviewing police reports, Washington State laws, interviewing witnesses and presenting my findings to the judge in a persuasive manner. MC was very pleased his DUI was dismissed!