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The Washington Criminal Law Blog

The Federal Government's Commitment to Prosecuting Violent Crime

Posted Tuesday, September 26, 2017 by Lizanne Padula.

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Federal prosecutors have been directed to focus their efforts on prosecuting violent crimes. Attorney General, Jeff Sessions said: “Turning back our nation’s recent rise in violent crime is a top priority for the Department of Justice, and it requires decisive action from our federal prosecutors[.]” Sessions released a memorandum calling for collaborative efforts between the federal government and local, state, and tribal law enforcement from across the nation to investigate, prosecute, and deter violent crime.

In the memo Sessions stated that “[o]ftentimes the criminal statutes specifically designed to target violent crime will be most applicable.” He went on to list specific federal criminal statutes to focus on, which included violent crimes involving firearms, drug trafficking, robbery, carjacking, and racketeering. In closing, Session urged prosecutors to “employ the full complement of federal law to address the problem of violent crime in your district.”

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has formed partnerships with twelve cities across the nation, with the intention to partner with more cities later in the year. The partnerships are geared toward prioritizing a reduction in violent crime and helping local law enforcement officials develop strategies to combat violent crime. Currently, partnering cities will not receive funding as part of the initiative. The twelve cities currently part of the DOJ’s violent crime program are: Birmingham, Alabama; Indianapolis and Springfield, Illinois; Cincinnati and Toledo, Ohio; Houston, Texas; Buffalo, New York; Jackson and Memphis, Tennessee; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Kansan City, Missouri; and Lansing, Michigan.

As leadership changes at the top levels in the federal government, the priorities on where to focus limited prosecutorial resources shift. Due to the limited nature of prosecutorial resources, a shift of focus to one criminal area necessarily means that another criminal area will not receive as much attention from the justice department or federal prosecutors.

In the absence of an increase in funding and manpower, when Attorney General Sessions shifted the focus of prosecutorial resources to violent crime, there was a decrease in resources to prosecute other types of crime, such as health care fraud or terrorism. However, reportedly the administration’s proposed budget includes $26 million for the hiring of 300 new federal prosecutors, with 230 of those dedicated to prosecuting violent crimes.

If you have been arrested for or charged with a violent crime, it is critical that you hire an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. The skilled criminal defense attorneys at Padula & Associates, LLC offer a free consultation.

We answer the phone 24-hours a day, seven days a week. Call us 24/7 at 425-883-3366, email us at info@paduladefense.com, or fill out our online free consultation form today.

For over 20 years, Padula & Associates, LLC has been serving the people of King County, Snohomish County, Pierce County, Lewis County, and throughout Washington State with aggressive criminal defense services.

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Vehicular Homicide in Washington State, Criminal Defense

Posted Friday, September 22, 2017 by Lizanne Padula.

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Vehicular Homicide in Washington State is a very serious offence with tragic consequences.

Vehicular homicide is when a person causes the death of another while driving in a reckless manner, under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or with disregard for the safety of others. The death must ensue within three years and as a proximate result of the injury caused by the driving. Like vehicular assault, DUI and reckless driving carry stiffer penalties than disregard for the safety of others.

Under state law, a person is guilty of Vehicular Assault when “the death of any person ensues within three years as a proximate result of injury proximately caused by the driving of any vehicle by any person ” and the driver “was operating a motor vehicle:

• (a) While under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug, or

• (b) In a reckless manner; or

• (c) With disregard for the safety of others. (RCW 46.61.520).

The law sets forth three ways in which Vehicle Homicide can be committed: while driving under the influence, driving in a reckless manner, or with a disregard for the safety of others. Depending on the facts of the case, each of these may carry a different punishment under state law. Generally, Vehicular Homicide committed while driving under the influence or recklessly results in harsher punishment.

Vehicular Assault is a Class A felony, the most serious type of criminal offense. A Class A felony may be punishable by confinement in a state correctional institution for a term of life imprisonment, or by a fine of $50,000, or both.

If a person suffers serious bodily injury as a result of the accident, but does not die, then the driver may be charged with Vehicular Assault.

If you are facing charges for Vehicular Homicide, your freedom is on the line. The skilled attorneys at Padula & Associates, LLC will provide you with tenacious defense in court to combat these serious charges.

Our attorneys have built our reputation on defense of charges for DUI, reckless driving, Vehicular Assault, and Vehicular Homicide. We have successfully litigated Vehicular Assault charges to not guilty verdicts and obtained reduction from felony Vehicular Homicide and Vehicular Assault charges to misdemeanor charges like Reckless Driving. Our experience is extensive and our success is frequent.

Please remember we are available 24/7 at 425-883-3366 if you find yourself the focus of an investigation for either Vehicular Assault or Homicide.

Lizanne Padula of Padula & Associates, LLC was appointed to serve as a Judge Pro-Tem in Snohomish County in May of 2017. She also serves as the Board President for Citizens for Judicial Excellence (CJE), teaches Ethics as part of the Continuing Legal Education credits (CLEs) offered by CJE, and teaches CLEs for the Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (WACDL).

Padula & Associates, LLC will fiercely advocate on your behalf. For more than 20 years we have proudly defended the rights of people in King County, Snohomish County, and Washington State.

Call us 24/7 at 425-883-3366 of fill out this simple web form to schedule a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney.

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Vehicular Assault in Washington State, Criminal Defense

Posted Friday, September 22, 2017 by Lizanne Padula.

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Vehicular Assault in Washington State is similar to a charge for DUI or Reckless Driving, but with far more tragic consequences.

Vehicular Assault is when a person operates a vehicle in a reckless manner, under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or in a manner evidencing disregard for the safety of others and this driving results in substantial bodily harm to another person.

Under state law, a person is guilty of Vehicular Assault if he or she “operates or drives any vehicle:

• (a) In a reckless manner and causes substantial bodily harm to another; or

• (b) While under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug … and causes substantial bodily harm to another; or

• (c) With disregard for the safety of others and causes substantial bodily harm to another.” (RCW 46.61.522).

Hence there are three ways to commit a Vehicular Assault: reckless driving, DUI, or disregard for the safety of others. Each of these carries a different punishment under state law. Vehicular Assault committed while driving under the influence or recklessly typically results in harsher punishment.

Vehicular Assault is a Class B felony, which may be punishable by imprisonment for up to ten years, by a fine of up to $20,000, or both. If the person injured in the accident dies, then the driver may be charged with Vehicular Homicide.

If you are facing charges for Vehicular Assault, the skilled attorneys at Padula & Associates, LLC will provide you with tenacious defense in court. Our attorneys have built our reputation on defense of charges for DUI, reckless driving, and Vehicular Assault. We have successfully litigated Vehicular Assault charges to not guilty verdicts and obtained reduction from felony Vehicular Assault and Vehicular Homicide charges to misdemeanor charges like Reckless Driving and DUI. Our experience is extensive and our success is frequent.

Please remember we are available 24/7 if you find yourself the focus of an investigation for either Vehicular Assault or Homicide.

Come meet with us for a free consultation. Call us 24/7 at 425-883-3366, email us at info@paduladefense.com, or fill out our online free consultation form today.

For more than 20 years, Padula & Associates, LLC has been serving the people of King County, Snohomish County, and throughout Washington State with aggressive criminal defense services.

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I Was Arrested for DUI - What Happens Next?

Posted Wednesday, September 20, 2017 by Lizanne Padula.

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If you were arrested for DUI in Washington State you need to know what happens next. Hiring an experienced DUI defense attorney can help you get the best possible outcome in your case. Your attorney will protect your rights, help you understand the legal process, and advocate on your behalf.

So that you can understand the value of hiring a DUI Defense Attorney, Padula & Associates, LLC invites you to come meet with us for a free consultation. Call us 24/7 at 425-883-3366 or contact us here today.

I Was Arrested for DUI - What Happens Next?

Here is a brief overview of what happens after you are arrested under suspicion of DUI in Washington State:

• Formal charges of DUI will likely be filed against you.

• The criminal process moves forward, which typically involves the following: arraignment, pre-trial conference, evidentiary hearing and motions, readiness hearing, trail, and sentencing.

• At any stage of the criminal process prior to a verdict at trial, you and your DUI defense attorney may negotiate a plea agreement with the Prosecutor.

• NOTE: Your license will be automatically suspended if you do not request a hearing with the Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL) within 20 days.

Formal Charges of DUI

Some jurisdictions will file criminal charges for DUI quickly, within days or less of the arrest. However, some jurisdictions wait to file formal charges because the file of evidence is first sent to the prosecuting attorney’s office and charges are not brought immediately. The State has two years to bring charges for a gross misdemeanor (RCW 9A.04.080(1)(i)). This means that in general (and depending on your prior convictions), the prosecuting attorney’s office has up to two years from the date of your DUI arrest to file criminal charges against you.

Understand that a delayed notice of charges does not indicate that the arrest has gone away or been forgotten.

Automatic License Suspension if You Do Not Request Hearing within 20 Days

After an arrest for suspected DUI, the Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL) will suspend your license administratively, unless you request a hearing to contest the suspension within 20 days of the date you were arrested. To avoid the administrative license suspension, the hearing examiner must decide in your favor after the hearing.

The Criminal Process

If you have been arrested for DUI, it is critical that you have an attorney represent you at every stage of the criminal process - from arraignment, to plea negotiations, and through trial if it comes to that. Your attorney will help you understand the charges against you, protect your rights, and help you mount a strong defense against DUI charges. An experienced DUI defense attorney is your best chance at getting the most favorable outcome possible in your case.

For more than 20 years, Padula & Associates, LLC has been serving the people of King County, Snohomish County, and Washington State with aggressive and effective DUI defense. Our attorneys are experienced in all aspects of DUI defense. To learn more, we invite you to read our articles:

Getting DUI Charges Reduced to Lesser Charges

Alcohol Evaluation After DUI in Washington State

License Suspension After DUI Arrest, Washington Department of Licensing

If you’re reading this, even after hours, call us – we will answer – (425) 883-3366.

You want to talk to us soon. After a DUI arrest, you have a few deadlines coming fast and there may be evidence that we can preserve for later use. For example, some of the police departments have video recordings that are destroyed after 72 hours if not requested right away. Hiring us sooner rather than later can assist our ability to mount an affective defense and win this battle for you.

To best serve our clients, we answer our phones 24/7. Call us at 425-883-3366, or contact us via the web or email info@paduladefense.com. The consultation is free.

For more than 20 years, Padula & Associates, LLC has been serving those in King County, Snohomish County, and throughout Washington State with aggressive criminal defense services.

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Your Rights During Criminal Investigations

Posted Monday, September 18, 2017 by Lizanne Padula.

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If you have been arrested or are otherwise under investigation for a crime, you have rights. The government generally cannot use statements or evidence against you that was obtained in violation of your rights. This is why it is important to understand and assert your rights, and to have an experienced criminal defense attorney to advocate for you throughout the entire criminal process.

Overview of Your Rights During Criminal Investigations

You have many rights during the course of a criminal investigation and any criminal court proceeding that ensues. Some of your important rights include:

• You have the right to an attorney and to have that attorney present at any and all stages of a criminal investigation, interrogation, or legal proceeding.

• You have the right to remain silent.

• You have the right against unlawful search and seizure.

Right to an Attorney

You have a right to have an attorney present during all stages of criminal proceedings, including during interrogation by law enforcement. Speaking with law enforcement without your attorney present is almost never a good idea. Having your attorney present during questioning helps ensure that your rights are protected and that you do not say anything that will inadvertently harm your case.

Right to Remain Silent

You have the right to remain silent when being interrogated by law enforcement and when testifying in legal proceedings. It is almost always in your best interest to remain silent. Seriously, we urge you to remain silent if you are being questioned by law enforcement regarding a crime. You cannot talk your way out of being arrested and anything you say can and will be used against you.

Even if a law enforcement officer tells you otherwise: you do not have to answer questions posed to you by law enforcement. Be polite but firm in your desire to remain silent and inform the officer that you want to have an attorney present during questioning. To learn more, read our article Why You Should Exercise Your Right to Remain Silent.

Right Against Unlawful Search and Seizure

In general, you have the right to refuse a search of your property or vehicle in the absence of a search warrant. The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution grants the right against unlawful search and seizure of property. However, if law enforcement officers have a search warrant, you must submit to the search. There are other notable exceptions to your Fourth Amendment rights, such as exigent circumstances or incident to a lawful arrest.

The laws encompassing the rights afforded by the Fourth Amendment are complex and nuanced. If incriminating evidence against you was obtained in violation of your rights, you may be able to suppress that evidence from being used against you at trial. Hire a criminal defense attorney to advocate for your rights and mount a strong defense against the Prosecution’s case against you.

Your Right to Defend Yourself Against Criminal Allegations

If you are facing criminal charges, your life and freedom are on the line. Hiring the right attorney to defend you is critical. As Padula & Associates, LLC we understand what is at stake, and we will zealously defend you against any criminal charges filed against you.

When you hire our firm you will work directly with your attorney. You will not be pushed off to a case manager, left to wonder what is going on in your case.

Lizanne’s previous work as a Prosecutor gives her special insight into how the Prosecutor in your case operates. She knows the tactics the government uses when bringing criminal charges. Her experience affords her insider information that greatly benefits her ability to build a strong defense against any criminal charges you are facing. We invite you to learn more about Lizanne here.

The skilled attorneys at Padula & Associates, LLC can help you fight the charges that have been filed against you. We answer the phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We offer free consultations. Call us 24/7 at 425-883-3366 or contact us on the web to schedule your fee consultation today.

Our firm handles State and Federal criminal cases throughout Washington State, including King, Snohomish, Pierce, and Lewis Counties.

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