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Issaquah Law Group: Experienced Counsel; Client Focus

PHILOSOPHY: Formed in 2014, Issaquah Law Group is a law firm with one focus: providing businesses and insurers with high quality legal representation with the responsiveness of a smaller firm. ILG was founded on the principle that strong client relationships are the key to successful legal representation and strong relationships are built upon clear and consistent communication. 

LITIGATION: We work closely with our clients to fully and accurately understand their goals, work collaboratively to formulate specific legal strategies, and execute the agreed plan of action utilizing methods most likely to result in the efficient and effective resolution of the matter. ILG attorneys have a broad base of litigation experience to draw on in all Federal and State courts from on-the-ground investigations to Supreme Court appeals in the areas of personal injury and wrongful death, product liability, commercial general liability, labor & employment, construction litigation, and catastrophic losses due to fire and explosion.

BUSINESS LAW: Rarely is the path from point A to point B a straight line, so our role in a business law practice is to find alternatives, devise workable strategies, and keep your business ideas, goals and objectives moving toward realization. ILG’s business attorneys help clients achieve their goals with respect to business formation, intellectual property, labor and employment, CAN-SPAM, copyright and trademark

COMMUNITY: In addition, the Lawyers at Issaquah Law Group remain active in the legal and civic community. A core commitment of our Issaquah Attorneys is community service. Our attorneys' civic involvement includes the King County Civil Rights Commission; the City of Issaquah Planning Policy Commission; the Northwest Screenwriters Guild, service as a pro tem judge. We live and work in the Pacific Northwest, and we aim to make it a better place.

In addition, through The Amateur Law Professor Blog and LinkedIn postings, we share pertinent opinions and decisions of the Washington State Supreme Court, as well as the pertinent opinions and decisions of the Washington State Courts of Appeal so that our clients can be as update to date on cutting legal issues as we are.

Division III: Goggins' Egg Noggin' causes Head Foggin' and Joggin' to Jail

State v. Goggin

Goggin was likely egg noggin, as this occurred on December 17, 2011. You can guess what happens next. Short version: police officer, slurred speech, stumbling, alcohol on breath. The Blood Alcohol Test probably would have came back with a reading of Charlie Sheen, but Goggin had one bit of clarity and refused. A warrant was obtained and granted for a blood test. He was advised at the time of the breath test he could have an independent test, which is part of the implied consent warnings. He was not told the same with the blood test.

‘Lo and behold, he didn’t quite make it to Charlie Sheen, but roughly a 1986 Martin Downey Jr. level of .32 (.08 is legally sloshed; .32 means that roughly a third of your blood is actually sweet sweet moonshine).

Now, I’m sure you’re thinking that Goggins was a fine upstanding citizen and that this was a one-off. You’d be slightly wrong, as Goggins had roughly as many prior DUI convictions as quarters in a game of football (hey, look at me, that’s a sports-ball reference). 

During the trial, Goggins also tried to say that the certified prior convictions without a person to verify them was a violation of the confrontation clause. 

Regarding the failure to advise, the provision that allows that is RCW 46.20.308. Section 2 talks about the right to obtain additional breath tests pre-arrest. Section 3 talks about breath and blood tests when the person is unconscious, when there are certain crimes on the table, like negligent homicide; or when they’ve been arrested for felony DUI.

Now here is where the Court gets a little fuzzy:

Mr. Goggin was arrested for DUI. Thus, he was not subject to the mandatory test provision of RCW 46.20.308(3) for felony DUI.

Except isn’t that what they charged him with? And if it wasn’t a felony, then where do they get their right to a blood draw? It seems that RCW 46.20.308 is the sole ability to obtain a warrant. Here, he’s either subject to 46.20.308(3) and thus a warrant and the Turpin decision, which says he has to be given the information regarding independent testing, or he’s not, and the state’s warrant for the blood is invalid.

The Turpin court held the State has a statutory duty to notify a person accused of vehicular homicide that he or she has a right to an independent blood test and suppressed the blood test results because Ms. Turpin had not been able to gather potentially exculpatory evidence.

I mean, section 3 specifically also says that the test shall be by breath only unless the requirements of section 3 are met. And the Turpin court seems to say that under section 3, you have to be advised of independent testing of blood draws because you can get exculpatory evidence. I believe Division III screwed up and made bad case law here.

However, the Court did note that the independent testing likely would not have made a difference. This is understandable, as 16 drinks in I would be likely to actually think I was a walrus.

As far as the prior convictions, the State doesn’t need anything other than a certified judgment and something corroborating your information with it. Here, they did it with a copy of his driver’s license, which matched the data from the Idaho conviction. Its not a violation of the confrontation clause because a certified copy of the judgment is not “testimonial” under the law, these kinds of records are self-authenticating under RCW 5.44.010; ER 902(d); and Benefiel.

Don’t know if this particular case would go up. But it seems under the blood test portion, Goggins would stand a fighting chance.

While Issaquah Legal Services does not currently handle criminal matters, our Issaquah Attorneys are more than happy to refer you to someone competent to handle your matter. Please contact us.

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