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Spokane Washington Legal Blog

Experienced criminal defense is crucial for repeat DUI offenses

Anyone in Spokane who drives while under the influence of alcohol will do so knowing that the consequences could be severe. Even a conviction on a first DUI offense can lead to a jail term, community service, license suspension and more. When it comes to repeat drunk driving offenses, the punishments are significantly more severe, and having an experienced criminal defense attorney to protect an accused person's legal rights is crucial.

In Washington state, any driver who is deemed a repeat DUI offender can be charged with a felony when it comes to a fourth charge within 10 years. This is called the look-back period, and a bill to extend that period has recently been cleared by the Washington Senate. It will allow prosecutors to look at previous DUI offenses during the previous 15 years.

Family law and parental relocation in divorce

Most courts in Washington state favor circumstances in which children of divorcing parents can maintain loving relationships with both parents. They also want parents to continue to be active participants in the lives of their children. However, the tasks of family law judges can become particularly challenging if the parent with primary child custody wants to relocate to a different area or another state.

The relocation of the parent and the child will not only deny the other parent of participating in the child's life, but it will also remove the child from familiar surroundings such as the school, friends, extended family members and more. This usually goes against the aim to act in the best interests of the child. However, if the parent's request to take the child along when relocating is denied, he or she may still move away but leave the child with the other parent. Will this be in the child's best interest if this arrangement will prevent in-person contact between the child and the relocating parent?

Drowsy driving can result in severe personal injury

Drowsy driving is a significant problem. Washington State Patrol expressed concern over potential crashes and personal injury when more motorists take to the highways and rural roads as the weather improves. A WSP trooper warned that drowsy and fatigued drivers are just as dangerous as drivers who are under the influence of alcohol.

Reportedly, two crashes recently occurred on Interstate 182 within 12 hours, only six miles apart. The accidents happened on a recent Tuesday. In the first incident, an out-of-state driver reportedly dozed off, causing his vehicle to cross over the center line. A big rig struck his car. Just 12 hours later, a vehicle rolled over after leaving the roadway when the driver fell asleep.

Can Social Security disability benefits eligibility be extended?

Those in Washington state who are ready to return to work after a period of disability might be unsure about their rights to remain eligible for benefits. This person will enter the Social Security Trial Work Period that will last for 60 months, during which time he or she must work for nine months -- not necessarily consecutive months. During this time, Social Security disability benefits will continue.

If the worker can continue working after these 60 months, he or she will be entered into the Extended Period of Eligibility. This provides another 36 consecutive months of eligibility for Social Security disability benefits. The recipient of the benefits must track and report his or her earnings during this time for evaluation by the Social Security Administration. There is an earnings standard called the Substantial Gainful Activity limits, and if the worker's income exceeds those limits, his or her Social Security disability benefits might be affected, but if the wages are lower than the limit, disability benefits will continue.

Cases involving teens and drugs need skilled criminal defense

Whenever a teenager in Washington state is arrested on drug charges, his or her parents would likely do whatever they can to prevent a conviction and the adverse impact it could have on their child's future. Securing skilled criminal defense is the first and most crucial step to take. A 17-year-old former high school student was arrested on drug charges on a recent Thursday.

Reportedly, after surveillance of a home opposite the Wenatchee High School, investigators suspected the sale of drugs to numerous school-age teens who came and went during school hours. The arrest was made after a drug task force executed a search warrant that they say yielded narcotics, marijuana, cocaine, THC vape cartridges and oil concentrates, and various pills. The merchandise was allegedly all lined up for sale inside a front window of the house.

Family law: Legal separation before divorce might be wise

When Washington couples decide to end their marriages, they will have different options to consider. One of the options available under family law is a legal separation. While they will remain married, they will be divorced from bed and board. Any property acquired after the date of the separation agreement will be regarded as non-marital assets.

Couples can negotiate a separation agreement and address the same matters as they would in a divorce settlement agreement. Issues included can be the division of property and debts and child-related issues, such as parenting, custody and visitation. They may also agree on child support and alimony, but it will have to be approved by the court, and both parents will have to be allocated reasonable visitation with the children.

Tips for new co-parents

One of the hardest things to do after separation is to work alongside the other person, but for parents, that’s exactly what needs to happen.

Co-parenting isn’t easy, but it can be rewarding when you get it down. At first, it might feel impossible but it doesn’t have to. Here are a few tips to start co-parenting smoothly:

Criminal defense might be crucial when cop drones are deployed

A recent report by the Franklin County Sheriff 's office indicates that two drones equipped with cameras were the newest members of the police force in southern Washington. The report says the cameras use thermal imaging to locate not only suspected criminals but also people who are lost or missing. However, there are legal restrictions as to when and where these drones may be used, and anyone who is arrested based on drone surveillance might need the services of a criminal defense attorney.

Based on the Fourth Amendment, people are entitled to be private and secure in their homes and protected against searches and seizures without warrants. One such a case involved a search carried out by federal officers in 1992. They used surveillance equipment that performed thermal imaging scans of a house across the road from their outlook post. The equipment indicated excessive heat in the garage, and they suspected indoor marijuana growing.

Personal injury claim could result from recalled propane torches

Workers in all industries in Washington state are entitled to safe work environments. Employers must ensure that all known safety hazards are addressed, and they have to protect the health and safety of employees. However, a malfunctioning or defective tool or piece of equipment can cause an unanticipated incident that might result in personal injury.

For that reason, business owners must keep an eye out for any recalls that might affect their industries. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recently announced recall by Harbor Freight of Greenwood propane torches. These torches produce flames when the propane mixes with oxygen, and they are typically used in soldering of copper water pipes, brazing, and other low-temperature welding jobs.

Family law: Consider the physical and emotional needs of a child

Navigating a Spokane divorce is rarely easy, and when there are children involved, it becomes even more challenging. While each parent might be overwhelmed by the need to ensure stable post-divorce financial situations, family law first focuses on the physical and emotional needs of the children. The best interest of a child is the primary focus of judges, and they typically address a number of factors when making child custody rulings.

Even if joint custody is sought, the court will consider which parent has been the primary caregiver, as well as the age of the child and his or her bond with each parent. The food, clothing, shelter, medical care and educational needs of the child will be assessed, and the physical and mental health of each parent will be gauged. Understandably, the court will not allow circumstances in which a child's safety is compromised.

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