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Other New State Laws Starting Sunday, July 23rd

July 22nd, 2017 No comments

Other new laws that take effect Sunday:

—Prosecutors will be able to file felony charges if a person gets a fourth DUI within 10 years. Under the new law, offenders would be sent to prison for 13 to 17 months, rather than serve shorter sentences in county jails.

—Courts will be allowed to issue permanent protection orders for victims of sexual assault. Currently, victims of sexual assault can only be granted a protection order for up to two years, which means they must reappear in court to repetition for a new order. Under the new law, those orders can now be made permanent. In cases where a permanent order isn’t issued, under this new measure the courts will grant a renewal of the order unless perpetrators can prove they are no longer a threat to the victim.

—Creation of a new crime of theft involving a vulnerable adult any person 18 years or older who is clearly mentally or physically unable to care for himself or herself or suffers from a cognitive impairment. The new statute ranks the crime at a higher seriousness level of theft.

—Expansion of education program for inmates. A new law authorizes the state Department of Corrections to partner with community and technical colleges to provide associate degree programs, expanding existing programs at the state’s prisons that provide basic education and job training. Priority for the programs would be given to inmates within five years of release. Those serving sentences of life without parole, or who are on death row, are ineligible.

—It will be illegal for a person to leave a dog tethered for a reckless period of time without providing him or her with adequate access to food, water and shelter. Dogs must also be placed in a safe and sanitary area that protects them from excessive heat or cold.

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New Distracted Driving Law Starts Sunday 7/23/2017

July 22nd, 2017 No comments

Starting this Sunday, July 23rd Washington drivers will have to put down their phones or else face tougher penalties under a new distracted driving law.

Texting or holding a phone to your ear is already against the law in the state, but the new measure now prohibits anything else that requires drivers to hold their electronic devices while behind the wheel. That means no reading text messages while driving, scrolling through Facebook or Instagram, or watching a quick video while stuck in traffic or sitting at a red light.

Under the measure, “the minimal use of a finger” to activate, deactivate, or initiate a function of a personal electronic device while driving is still allowed. To enforce this, police will have to use their judgment. State Patrol Trooper Rick Johnson, sees it this way: “The idea is for you to activate your phone with one touch, so you don’t have to look away from your windshield to dial 10 numbers, to make a phone call.” Typing a map address while in traffic, now common behavior, will be treated by many troopers as a violation, he said. Handheld phone calls to 911 emergency services is still legal.

The standard traffic fine of $136 would apply to a first offense but would increase to about $234 for a second offense. These offenses are reportable to insurance companies, which could raise rates like any other moving violation.

Plus, another section of the new law also says a person who engages in “any activity not related to the actual operation of a motor vehicle” — like eating or putting on makeup — is subject to pay an additional fine of $99. However it is a secondary offense and only applies if an officer catches a driver being distracted while committing a standard traffic offense, such as running a stop sign because their coffee spilled.

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2017 Law Day in Snohomish County District Court (South Division)

July 12th, 2017 No comments

Attorney Paul Hanson was pleased to receive a Certificate of Appreciation from the Judges at the Snohomish County District Court (South Division) in Lynnwood, WA for his volunteer attorney services at the court’s annual LAW DAY events.

Now in its 31st year, Law Day was founded when several South Division court employees and Lynnwood attorney Paul Hanson decided to put on a presentation for 60 local fifth graders. Now with close to 1,000 students each year, kids from 14 different schools in Brier, Edmonds, Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace took over the SCDC South Division Courthouse on June 2nd.

Under the direction of local volunteer attorneys and judges, the students participated in a mock trial, acting as prosecuting and defense attorneys, judges and even jurors who got to deliberate the fate of a shoplifting suspect.

Students also heard from local WSP troopers about what it’s like to be a law enforcement officer and saw a demonstration from K-9 dogs.

Students and teachers also attempted to walk a straight line while looking through special glasses (beer goggles) meant to replicate intoxication. And they were able to see first-hand the mangled remains of a car that had been in a DUI crash.

The goal of Law Day is to commemorate, educate and celebrate the U.S. legal system. Paul Hanson looks forward to putting together this even each year, he enjoys it as much as the 5th graders!

 

 Photos by Teresa Wippel, Edmonds Beacon 

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