As if going to court wasn't a stressful enough situation, once you get there, it can often seem like the attorneys and the judges are talking in a different language.
Like any profession, commonly used phrases and requirements are often turned into shorthand jargon and acronyms. Most attorneys do their best to explain to their clients what these words, phrases, and acronyms mean. However, even we attorneys fall short some times.
We've found that the cure to this type of anxiety is knowledge. Knowing what terms and phrases are being thrown around will help you in understanding what the attorneys and judges are talking about, and what may be required of you after you leave court. Most importantly, your attorney should always take the time to explain things to you, especially any conditions or requirements ordered by the court.
If you still have questions about any of the terms of phrases you encounter, your attorney is always your best resource. If you don't have an attorney and you are interested in hiring one, please give us a call at 253-383-3328 or e-mail us at OFFICE@WILLIAMAWHITELAW.COM.
|Common Term||What It Means|
|D.U.I||Driving Under the Influence - A criminal charge, which can be either a gross misdemeanor or a felony, and it can occur based on an allegation of impairment by alcohol, drugs, marijuana or a combination thereof.|
|Physical Control||Similar to a DUI, although commonly the vehicle is no longer in motion, or the government may have difficulty proving you drove the vehicle. Like DUI this crime requires the government to prove you were impaired via alcohol, drugs, marijuana, or a combination thereof. Unlike a DUI, this charge has an affirmative defense that, if applicable, can help to resolve the charge favorably, including dismissal.|
|Misdemeanor||This is the lowest level criminal charge you can face in Washington. The maximum jail sentence is 90 days and a maximum $1,000 fine. These charges are heard in a municipal or district court. (unless charged simultaneously with a felony)|
|Gross Misdemeanor||This is the middle level of crimes you can be charged with in Washington. More serious than a misdemeanor, but less than a felony. The maximum sentence is 364 days in jail and a maximum $5,000 fine. These charges are heard in municipal or district court (unless charged simultaneously with a felony.)|
|Felony||This is the most serious level of crime you can be charged in Washington. A Felony will be classified as either un-ranked, or C, B, or A, with the severity going from un-ranked then C, B and A being the highest. Sentencing ranges for a conviction can range from no jail time, to days, months, or even life in prison. Your sentencing range depends on the crime(s) charge, your criminal history, and the applicable sentencing guideline ranges. Aggravating factors can also add to your sentencing range including mandatory prison time. These charges are heard in a Superior Court.|
|V.I.P.||Victim Impact Panel - This is generally a 2 hour class that you must attend when you are either convicted or plead guilty to certain crimes. The most common is an alcohol/drug related driving offense, like DUI. In addition, you may have to attend a Domestic Violence VIP, if your conviction was for a domestic violence related crime, such as Assault. These classes can be attended at most treatment agencies. These classes tend to run between $50 to $150 or more.|
|A.D.I.S.||Alcohol and Drug Information School - This class is the minimum follow up treatment required for a DUI or alcohol/drug related offense. This class is usually around 8 hours and can be attended at most treatment agencies. These classes provide educational material about the dangers of alcohol and drug use and abuse, the impact on you, your loved ones, and society, including victims of alcohol and drug related crimes. These classes tend to run about $100 to $150.|
|I.I.D.||Ignition Interlock Device - This device can be installed in your vehicle and requires you to provide a breath sample prior to starting the car and at random intervals while you are driving. Most of these devices are equipped with cameras to prove who is blowing into the device. The threshold limit on these devices is .025%. Some foods and drinks, besides alcohol, can register positive on these devices. Monthly services fees usually start around $95.00 and go up from there.|
|I.I.L.||Ignition Interlock License - also classified as a Restricted License - After being approved by the Dept. of licensing, and issued the IIL, you are able to drive any vehicle that has a functioning ignition interlock device installed in it. This license allows you to drive your vehicle while your license is suspended or revoked for an alcohol/drug related offense. To obtain more information on these licenses visit here.|
|E.H.M. or E.H.D.||Electronic Home Monitoring/Detention - EHM or EHD is an alternative, or in additional to, jail time. These devices monitor your location and allow you to go to pre-approved locations, such as work, court, or treatment, but otherwise you must remain in your home. These devices can either monitor alcohol/drug intake via a sensor that monitors your sweat/skin, or come with a device that requires you to blow into it at random times. A court can require this device as a condition of release, prior to any conviction, or as part of a sentence after a conviction. The cost of these devices can start at a hundred dollars a month but can cost much more.|
|BrAC or BAC||Breath Alcohol Content or Blood Alcohol Content - This applies to the amount of alcohol a person has in their system, either blood or breath. How this is measured depends on whether blood or breath was taken. Blood is often measured in grams per 100 mL while breath is measured in grams per 210 L.|
|N.A.R.O.||No Alcohol Related Offenses - This is often a condition of your probation or sentencing. A judge may also reference this as a condition of your release while your case is pending. This requires that you not be convicted of any alcohol related offenses. This does not only apply to a DUI offense but can apply to an open container violation or even getting in a bar fight after consuming alcohol. Courts are often concerned that you and alcohol equals law violations and want to prevent future conduct.|
|L.A.B.||Law Abiding Behavior - This is often a condition of your probation or sentencing. A judge may also reference this as a condition of your release while your case is pending. For most courts, this means not being arrested or convicted of any new criminal law violations. Getting a traffic ticket, like speeding, generally will not apply, but we have seen it on specific cases.|
|J & S||Judgment and Sentence - This is the final court order you receive after you plead guilty to a criminal offense or are found guilty following a trial. This document will state the charge you were convicted of, the sentence imposed by the judge, the total fines, any specific conditions you must complete (Evaluation, ADIS, VIP, Anger Management, etc). This document will also include the days in which you have to complete and file proof of these conditions. This document will also list the conditions of your sentence/probation. Make sure you go over this document with your attorney and are fully aware of what you must do and what you cannot do.|
No Valid Operator's License - You'll hear it pronounced 'No Vol'. This refers to driving without a license, and can cover either the civil infraction under RCW 46.20.015, or the misdemeanor criminal offense under RCW 46.20.005.
Sometimes a criminal driving with suspended license charge (like DWLS 3rd) can be amended to this civil infraction and the defendant must simply pay a fine and will not have a criminal conviction.
|A.E.F.U||Alcohol Evaluation and Follow Up - If your criminal charge has an allegation of alcohol or drug consumption or impairment, upon conviction, the court will require you to obtain an evaluation from a state certified agency to determine whether you have any substance abuse issues. The treatment agency will require a copy of the police report, and a current ADR and DCH to complete its evaluation. The court will require you to finish whatever follow up treatment the agency recommends. Failure to complete treatment is a violation of the conditions of your sentence. For a DUI, the minimum follow up is the ADIS class discussed above.|
|A.D.R.||Abstract Driving Record - This is your official driving record according to the Department of Licensing. You can obtain a copy at any DOL office or on their website for a nominal fee. Often, your attorney will receive a copy of your ADR in the discovery.|
|D.C.H.||Defendant's Case History - This is your official record of your case history according to Washington Court records. Often, your attorney will receive a copy of your DCH in the discovery.|
|E.R.R.||Emergency Response Restitution - If you are convicted of a crime, and the officers involved submit certain paperwork, you are responsible for paying the cost of the time it took the officers to arrest you, process you, and write their reports. This is charged at their hourly rate and can include their overtime hourly rate if applicable. This cost is often paid directly to the agency involved and can range from a couple hundred dollars to thousands.|
Still confused? That's OK! Call or e-mail us today to speak with an experienced member of our staff or book an appointment today. 253-383-3328 or OFFICE@WILLIAMAWHITELAW.COM.
705 S. 9th St. Ste. 204
Tacoma, WA 98405