Book Review: Washington DUI Practice Manual

A couple of days ago I received in the mail the Washington DUI Practice Manual, a book by DUI attorney Linda M. Callahan and published by West Publishing, Thomson Reuters.  This most recent copy is the 2009-2010 edition, which is the second such volume. Callahan Book2 001 I believe that last year’s edition was the first time that Thompson Reuters published a Washington Practice volume on DUI law.  It is an important edition to the West Washington Practice series.

I have purchased or borrowed many other DUI law books over the years, and I have not found any other books that are as helpful or informative as this book.   With others I have looked at, it has seemed that the material was outdated, or not applicable to Washington State, or that the authors were saving their best strategy ideas for themselves.  The Washington DUI Practice Manual covers it all, it is geared toward Washington State, and it is updated every year.   It is not cheap to buy a new volume every year, but it is worth it to stay on top of the latest changes in DUI practice.  DUI law is considerably different from other areas of criminal defense work in that it changes from year-to-year, and is largely dependent on the scientific reliability of the testing involved.

A DUI case usually begins with a stop by an officer for a traffic infraction, and the officer requests that the driver perform field sobriety tests.  In this book, chapter 21 is dedicated to the science of such tests, and making sure that the tests are administered correctly, and that the jury understands the limits of such tests.

Author Linda Callahan also covers the science of the PBT, which is the portable breath test that an officer typically asks the driver to take while still at his vehicle.

The PBT, or portable breath test is covered in chapter 22 of Linda Callahan's book.

The PBT, or portable breath test is covered in chapter 22 of Linda Callahan's book.

The results of this test are not admissible at trial, but can be considered by the judge in determining whether the officer had probable cause to arrest the driver.  Linda Callahan’s book covers the history of the PBT instrument, the requirements  for its use, the certifications necessary to operate it, and the admissibility of the refusal to take such a test.

Attorney Linda Callahan covers the important information on the tests for alcohol that occur later in a case, namely breath testing and blood testing.  As many are aware, the accuracy of the breath test instruments was called into question recently due to deficiencies in the State Toxicology Lab. (See article.)   Linda Callahan also covers the difficulties that the State Toxicology Office has faced since audits revealed a failure to abide by the rules, regulations and policies regarding the handling of  blood samples.

In addition to DUI defense, the Washington DUI Practice Manual also covers related crimes such as Reckless Driving, Negligent Driving, Hit-and-Run, Reckless Endangerment, Driving While Suspended, Boating Under the Influence, Minor in Possession of Alcohol, Felony Eluding, Vehicular Assault, and Vehicular Homicide.

In this book Linda Callahan also covers the separate proceedings that a driver faces with the Department of Licensing (DOL).  Every year the State Legislature changes the laws governing DOL, and a criminal defense lawyer needs to be aware of the changing laws on license suspensions, SR-22 insurance, and ignition interlock devices.  The Department of Licensing conducts their own hearing on whether a driver had over a .08 breath alcohol or blood alcohol level.  This year a new law went into effect allowing some suspended drivers to obtain an ignition interlock license, and that new legislative change is covered in Linda Callahan’s book.

I would recommend this book to any lawyer who does DUI defense.  I understand that Linda Callahan has also published a book geared toward laypersons entitled The DUI Book, Washington Edition.

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Steve Graham is a criminal defense lawyer, and he splits his time between Spokane and Seattle, Washington. Visit his website by clicking:
Law Office of Steve Graham
1312 North Monroe Street, #140
Spokane, WA 99201
(509) 252-9167
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