Pullman WA Criminal Defense Attorney

Defending charges of DUI, MIP, drug possession, assaults, felonies, etc.


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Out-of-State Traffic Infractions

Whether you are away at college, or headed to spring break with classmates, an out-of-state speeding ticket is frustrating. You cannot fight it without another road trip on your court date, and you wonder what happens to your driver’s license when they occur. Sometimes, you even question whether you can just forget the whole thing. Ignore the temptation to move on, and take care of your ticket. That information probably made it to your home state. However, whether or not your license incurred points depends on your state’s policies and on which database delivered the unwelcome information to the department of motor vehicles.Pullman WA driver

There are three databases that cover moving violations: the Driver’s License Compact (DLC), the Non-Resident Violator Compact (NRVC) and the National Driver Register (NDR). Because states are independent entities, not all states are members of all the databases, and different states process the information differently. As a general rule, you can expect certain consequences from each database’s report.

The Driver’s License Compact

If the DLC reports your violation, it makes the violation an equivalent violation in your home state. If your license gets suspended at spring break, it is also now suspended at home. If you incur points in Daytona, you now have those points at home.

The Non-Resident Violator Compact

If the NRVC reports your violation, you are expected to resolve the matter in the state that issued the ticket. If you do not, then you may find your license suspended. However, no points will go onto your record, and your license will be restored as soon as you attend to the matter.

The National Driver Register

This database is also called the Problem Driver Pointer System. Its original purpose was to keep a record of problem commercial drivers. However, anyone who has been ticketed for driving under the influence (DUI) or has had his or her license revoked or suspended is probably on this list. States routinely check the NDR registry before renewing licenses. However, having one’s name on the list does not mean an automatic rejection. Employers, especially those who hire drivers or pilots, can also check the NDR registry before hiring.

The Future of Reporting

The future of reporting is through a database called the Driver’s License Agreement (DLA), although only three states, Arkansas, Connecticut and Massachusetts, are currently members. The DLA is supposed to close loopholes in the other agreements. To this end, states that become members agree to let DLA’s regulations supersede state law. In fact, DLA requires that a member state take action and assess penalties even if it has no law prohibiting the violation that occurred out of state. Even though only three states are members of the DLA, lobbying efforts indicate that this agreement is the future of reporting.
The bottom line is that big brother is watching. Out-of-state violations are every bit as serious as in-state violations, and drivers would be wise to resolve them as quickly as possible.

By Attorney Greg Tsioros. Visit his site here.


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Pullman Minor in Possession of Alcohol – Prosecuting Attorney Diversion Program

Let’s talk a little about the Whitman County Misdemeanor Pre-Charging Diversion Program. Over a year ago, we discussed a possible MIP diversion program, so let’s revisit that topic and see how that new program now works for WSU students.  Here is how it compares with how things used to work:

A diversion program in Whitman County may allow first time offenders avoid court for MIP.

A diversion program in Whitman County may allow first time offenders avoid court for MIP.

Old Program: You are formally charged with the crime of M.I.P.  You appear in court, hire a criminal defense lawyer or get an attorney appointed at public expense, and hopefully work a deal. You would try to get an agreement so the case is dismissed after a year if: 1) you keep out of trouble, 2) do some community service hours, 3) pay court costs, and 4) go to an Alcohol Drug Information School (ADIS).

New Program: You aren’t formally charged with M.I.P. but your receive a letter from the prosecutor inviting you to participate in a diversion program.  You then agree to pay $350 dollars, go to an Alcohol Drug Information School (ADIS) class, do four community service hours, and stay out of trouble for a year.  Minor in Possession of Alcohol, and Minor in Possession of Marijuana qualify.  Charges of DUI, Fake ID, assaults, possession of ecstasy, etc do not qualify for this program.

What is the difference? Under the new program you are never charged with a crime, your name will not show up in the public court record database, and your legal fees are reduced. How do you know if you qualify?  You will receive a letter that says you are eligible.  Here is the letter template:

(Date)
(Defendant’s Name)
(Street Address)
(City, State, Zip)

RE:     Eligibility for Whitman County Pre-Charging Diversion Program
          Police Report #

          Charge: Minor in Possession / Possession of Marijuana

Dear Mr. or Ms. Defendant:
This office has received law enforcement reports concerning your commission of the crime of (Charge) (Name of arresting LE Agency) (Date of offense) Enclosed is a copy of the officer’s narrative report. Based on your lack of criminal history, we have determined that you are eligible for our Pre-Charging Diversion Program. The program is designed as an alternative to formal criminal charges and court proceedings, and gives offenders the opportunity to accept accountability for their actions by completing this program. If you successfully complete all aspects of the program, you will not be prosecuted for the crime. If you decide to participate in the Diversion Program, please complete and sign the enclosed Pre-Charging Diversion Agreement. It is a binding contract. You should consult your own attorney. Do not sign it unless you understand it and will comply with it, including all due dates. You will have to promptly pay $350, complete four hours of community service, attend an alcohol drug information school class, and stay out of trouble. If you decide to participate in this program, you must sign and return the Agreement within two weeks of the date of this letter to:
Whitman County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office
Attn: Pre-Charging Diversion Program
PO Box 30
Colfax, WA

Failure to complete and return the Agreement within two weeks of the date of this letter may result in non-acceptance into the program. 

If you sign, date, fill out your mailing address / phone, and return the Agreement within the two week time frame, you will be sent a letter accepting you into the program. The letter will include reminders of what you have to do, along with the deadlines for completion of all obligations.

If you would like to enter this program, but cannot afford the $350 fee, you may contact a Pre-Charging Diversion staff person at 509-397-****, to see if you qualify for a waiver of the fee. If you can prove that you have insufficient assets and are unemployable (such as by proving that you receive social security payments due to a disability), you will qualify for a waiver of the fee. However, if you are voluntarily unemployed or under-employed, you will not qualify for a waiver of the fee. For instance, if you are a college student and going to school instead of working, you will not qualify for a waiver. Similarly, if you have budgeted your money for school-related expenses and would prefer to not spend that money on the fee for this program, you will not qualify for a waiver of the fee.
Prosecutor Office Hours:
Open 9am – 12pm
12pm-1pm CLOSED
Open 1pm – 4pm
If you have any questions, you may call a Diversion staff person at 509-397-****.
Sincerely,

How

Who qualifies for this program?  You have to have a squeaky clean record. Let’s take a look at the Whitman County policy that I obtained through a public records request.

Whitman County Diversion Program

A full copy of the policy is available here.  Once it is determined that you qualify, you will be invited to sign an agreement. As I first mentioned, the agreement explains that you will not be prosecuted if you agree to do community service hours, pay an administrative fee, attend an alcohol drug information school (ADIS) in Pullman, WA, and stay out of trouble. The full form is available here. It all seems pretty easy to do.  However students do manage to mess this up from time to time. Here are some tips to get through the program successfully:

  • Don’t wait until the last minute to do the Alcohol Drug Information School.  The classes are only offered every once in a while, and they fill up quick.  You may be stuck driving halfway across the state to find a class if you wait until the last minute.
  • Don’t try to do the ADIS at some online uncertified class.  There are a lot of websites that claim their classes are “court approved” and sound official, but are really just an online business.
  • Don’t wait until the last minute to sign up for community service hours.  They need to be prearranged.
  • Keep a copy of the agreement.  If you lose a copy go and ask for another copy rather than try to ignore the problem.
  • Don’t pay the fee late.
  • Don’t re-offend.  This might seem pretty obvious, but a lot of college students almost view it as their God-given right to drink alcohol. However a re-offense voids the agreement, and you can be prosecuted on both the old offense and new offense.

The benefit of successfully completing such an agreement is that you will never even be charged with MIP, and you will never need to come to court.