legal limited

legal limited

DUI Charge Even When You Didn’t Blow Over the Limit

Posted on November 12, 2018 in Uncategorized

When it comes to drunk driving, the legal limit is .08. As long as you’re under that, you’re in the clear, right? WRONG. The cops can still nail you with a DUI, even if you didn’t blow over the limit or even if you didn’t blow at all. In this article, I will explain how they can do this and what you can do to fight it. In Washington State, where I practice as a criminal defense lawyer, it is NOT against the law to drink and drive. But it is illegal to drive drunk. There’s a difference. It is perfectly legal to go to happy hour after work or school with some friends and have a couple beers and then drive home. But if you drink beyond a couple beers, you are in danger of going over the legal limit of having a .08 blood alcohol content (BAC). Let’s say you get off of work and head to the pub down the street for a couple beers with a coworker at 5 0’clock in the afternoon. You discuss work, what you’re planning to do on the weekend, what you think of your boss, etc. while you play pool. You have 3 drinks and by the time you leave it is now 7:30.

On your way home, you see the flashing lights behind you. You pull over and give the office your license, registration and proof of insurance. You’re nervous, so it somewhat difficult to quickly find all of the documents the officer asks for. It turns out you failed to signal while making a lane change. The officer now claims that he detects the odor of alcohol on your breath and asks if you’ve been drinking. You tell the truth and say yes. Now the officer asks more specific questions about when and where you were drinking and how much you had. After this questioning, the officer asks you to step out of the car and perform a series of tests. They seem easy enough. The officer doesn’t say anything about you doing anything wrong on the tests. He asks if you’ll take a portable breath test right there on the street. You comply and you blow a .05. So you’re off the hook, right. WRONG. The cop puts you in handcuffs and takes you to the police station where he gives you another breath test! You still blow a .05. Now he keeps you in the “drunk tank” overnight!

Some cops can be jerks from time to time and you’re sure this guy was just harassing you. A couple months later, after you forgot all about this incident, you get a summons in the mail ordering you to appear in court for a DUI charge! You’re thinking “how can they charge you with DUI if you didn’t even blow over the legal limit?” Well, in Washington State, you don’t have to be over the legal limit to be convicted of DUI. The law says that you are also guilty of DUI if you were affected by alcohol to an “appreciable degree” while driving. Here’s where the field sobriety tests come in. The cops don’t always tell you if you’re performing well or poorly while you’re taking them. The test themselves have been subject to much criticism for being unreliable. The cops also use a checklist in every DUI stop where they observe your appearance, your coordination, and your speech. There are boxes on these reports for the cops to check indicating bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, poor coordination. When you fumbled for your wallet because you were nervous, the cop wrote down that you had poor coordination and that’s why you fumbled for your wallet.

What can you do to avoid this? The best way to avoid this scenario is to REFUSE THE FIELD SOBRIETY TESTS. They are not mandatory, you have the right to refuse, and there is no risk of having your license suspended for refusing. These tests can only be used to charge you with DUI. If you refuse, and you’re under the legal limit, it is much less likely that they will charge you. Also be aware of your appearance, speech, behavior, and your mannerisms. All of these things can be used as evidence that you are impaired. Do not, however refuse to take the breath test at the police station. You can refuse, but it will result in your license being suspended. You can still refuse the portable roadside breath test they try to give you. That test is inadmissible in court and like the field sobriety tests, you can refuse it without the risk of losing your license. For more information about DUIs and criminal defense in general, you can visit Lynnwood DUI lawyer.

Legal Limits of Care in Assisted Living Facilities

Posted on November 11, 2018 in Uncategorized

When aging parents come to the point when assisted living seems like the best choice, it is usually their baby boomer children who see it first. Perhaps the adult children live in another state. Perhaps they are unable to visit Mom or Dad often enough to feel comfortable leaving them alone.

The death of a spouse or a gradual loss of independence in self care-any of these reasons may lead to the adult child’s decision to move the parent. As an assisted living facility representative is likely to tell you, it is often the adult children who first come to look the place over, later bringing their parents to see the place for themselves. These adult children are the hidden consumers of services.

Assisted vs Nursing Home

As the hidden consumers, what do the adult children of aging parents need to understand about these facilities? Very simply: what the facility can’t do. Invariably, the sales pitch tells you what the facility can do, which is fine, and to be expected. But as a consumer, you must understand the difference between assisted  and nursing care. First, an assisted living facility is not a nursing home with fancy furniture. Assisted living is not licensed to give nursing care.

Typically, assisted living facilities are places where elders live in a supervised community, with some personal care services available. Meals, social activity, and help with the activities of daily living such as bathing and dressing are all usually offered at such facilities. The focus is on providing a healthy social environment and preventing social isolation. It is a worthy focus, as isolation is dangerous, and widespread among elders whose independence is declining.

If your parent is in fragile health and seems to be steadily declining physically or mentally, be cautious about choosing an assisted living facility over a nursing home (also known as a skilled nursing facility). No one chooses a nursing home first. Nursing homes are more like hospitals, as they must be to deliver skilled care to frail seniors. But if your aging parent needs nursing care, and must be watched day and night, or you believe that he or she is likely to need such supervision in the near future, it is the only choice.

Assisted living facilities are not licensed by Medicare or Medicaid to give skilled care. Some have a separate skilled nursing facility on-site or nearby, but it will have its own license to deliver skilled nursing care. That license does not apply to the assisted living component, even the two facilities are located on the same campus or are operated by the same parent company.

Doctors & Nurses Not Required

Many assisted living facilities do not have any licensed nurse on staff, and may have no nurse connected to them at all. Because they are considered non-medical facilities, having a licensed nurse is not required by law. Even if a nurse is employed by the assisted living facility, the nurse cannot give hands-on care in the form of dressing a wound, administering around-the-clock insulin, administering oxygen, or other tasks that are defined by the federal and state governments as “skilled nursing care.”

Skilled nursing care may only be administered within a facility that is licensed to do so. Legally, this kind of facility is licensed as a skilled nursing facility, although it may have a different business name that it markets itself as, such as an “extended care” or “long-term care” facility. Medicare and Medicaid also designate these homes as skilled nursing facilities.

Because skilled nursing facilities bill Medicare and/or Medicaid for skilled nursing care, they must comply with many complex legal regulations and requirements. Assisted living facilities are regulated by the state Department of Social Services, not the Department of Health, which regulates nursing homes. Assisted living facilities do not have the same safety or administrative requirements as a skilled nursing facility, and they are prohibited from giving care they are not licensed to give.

Limitations to Specialized Care Waivers

There are exceptions to some of the federal and state government’s licensing requirements. For example, a licensed assisted living facility may take care of residents with dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, if it has a waiver to accept this kind of resident. The facility must also have certain protections in place to prevent injury to its demented residents.

However, it is still prohibited from restraining a demented resident who has a tendency to wander. There are many other limitations to what an assisted living facility can do, even with waivers. Taking care of residents with dementia can be unpredictable, and skilled nursing can become necessary as the disease progresses.

When an aging parent has to move out of the family home, or out of a long-term residence of any kind, the move can be difficult, even traumatic. If you are considering assisted living as an option for your loved one, be sure your focus is on the long run. Carefully consider what he or she will need a year down the road. Moving an elder twice within a short period can be extremely hard on both of you, so make your decisions based on the overall picture, not just on what the assisted living facility can do for him or her right now.

As hidden consumers, adult children must be fully aware of the limits of assisted care. Assisted care facilities can be wonderful and supportive environments for residents who don’t need skilled care. If you are considering assisted living for your aging parent, be sure this kind of place is a match for your parent’s needs.

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