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Snoqualmie man has DUI conviction overturned

Fighting for the rights of deaf people, William Kral of Snoqualmie is celebrating a victory. Kral, 33, last week had a five year-old DUI conviction in Benton County District Court reversed, and $4,600 in fines returned to him, on the grounds that his initial conviction violated his constitutional rights.

Kral, who's been deaf since the age of about 9 months, was arrested on suspicion of DUI, and was never given a qualified sign-language interpreter during his dealings with the court at that time. He claims that the interpreter assigned to him did not sign correctly, and he could not understand the hand-written notes from his attorney at the time.Kral said he thought he was signing an agreement to continue his trial, but found out later that it was a waiver of his right to a speedy trial. He was summarily convicted and sentenced to jail time and three months in an alcohol treatment program.

He immediately began appealing the decision but with little success until this August, when Superior Court Judge Robert Swisher determined that his appeal was valid and sent the case back to District Court, for reversal.

Neither Kral nor his attorney, Spencer Moe, could be reached for comment.

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