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The Washington Criminal Law Blog

Your Rights During Field Sobriety Tests

Posted Friday, June 23, 2017 by Lizanne Padula.

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The Preliminary Test

After being pulled over on suspicion of a DUI, the police officer may ask you to submit to “Standardized Field Sobriety Tests” or “FST’s”. These tests are typically administered roadside and require the driver to perform a number of physical tasks, the results of which are supposed to help the officer determine whether or not the driver is under the influence. If you find yourself being asked to complete a Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST), it is important to understand and exercise your rights.

Despite what the authorities might lead you to believe, Washington law does not require you to submit to SFSTs. You can and usually should, politely refuse to undergo SFST’s when asked. In our opinion, SFST’s are designed for failure, and even sober drivers can easily fail the tests. Additionally, the tests are being subjectively evaluated by an Officer who probably wants to get another DUI arrest. These tests are not objective and not in your best interest.

Indeed, some of the components of the test, the horizontal gaze nystagmus test for example, that requires you to follow a moving object with your eyes, can indicate any number of conditions, and intoxication is only one of these. Actually, certain medical conditions can affect your ability to smoothly pursue an object with your eyes. However, despite the many other causes of this response, law enforcement will treat this as a conclusive indicator of alcohol consumption and impairment. For this reason, we recommend you politely decline to take such a test because it has the potential to produce unreliable evidence that can be used against you in a criminal case. We suggest, “I am sorry officer, my attorney has told me never to do these tests under any circumstance”.

You should know that you do not have the right to speak with an attorney before taking SFT’S. Even after politely refusing, you may be asked to take a roadside Breathalyzer test. You can refuse this test as well. You may get arrested but you were likely going to be arrested anyway. Focus on whether you will be convicted and not whether you will get arrested. Also, ask to talk to an attorney once at the station. We can be reached 24/7

You need to consult with a skilled Washington criminal defense attorney with DUI defense experience if you are facing DUI charges. An attorney can inform you of your rights and craft an effective defense. A criminal defense attorney will be proficient at identifying the weaknesses in your case and leveraging them in negotiations. Therefore, calling an experienced Washington criminal defense attorney should be your first step in fighting the DUI allegations against you.

Were you arrested for a DUI? The skilled attorneys at Padula & Associates, LLC know how important it is to defend your rights can be and can help you fight your charges in court. Our attorneys are experienced in all aspects of criminal defense, and they will help take on DUI allegations with confidence. For more than 20 years, Padula & Associates has been serving those in King County, Snohomish County and Washington State with aggressive criminal defense services. Call us 24/7 at 425-883-3366, email us at info@paduladefense.com or fill out our online free consultation form today.

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Domestic Violence Response Arrest Requirements

Posted Friday, June 16, 2017 by Lizanne Padula.

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The Duties of the Responding Officer

Once someone has called 911 to report a domestic violence incident, law enforcement will respond. Many people believe police officers are required, by law, to make an arrest when responding to a domestic violence call. This isn’t necessarily true. Police officers are under strict guidelines when responding to a domestic violence call. Typically, a responding officer can and must make an arrest if he or she has probable cause (PC) to believe a domestic violence offense was committed in the last 4 hours or that a No-Contact Order was violated. Probable cause loosely means that a reasonable person would believe a person probably committed the crime being investigated.

The officer is not required to find Probable Cause and sometimes what they see does not establish probable cause. However, in many cases, the officer will find probable cause to make an arrest. This is true even if the alleged victim didn’t suffer any physical injuries or if he or she asks the officer to not make an arrest. The decision to make an arrest and forward the information along to the prosecuting attorney’s office is in the hands of law enforcement and not the alleged victim. Conversely, if there was clearly no altercation or there was no violation of a No-Contact Order, the officer would not have probable cause to make an arrest for a domestic violence offense. Keep in mind though, for liability purposes, when in doubt most officers will make the arrest. Lastly, most police “investigations” will only scratch the surface and may not uncover what is really going on.

If you believe you were arrested without probable cause, you should speak with an attorney. While Washington police officers must follow certain guidelines when they respond to a domestic violence call, these strict requirements don’t rule out poor judgment calls or sloppy “investigations”. The unfortunate consequence of this is innocent people are arrested for false allegations of domestic violence every day. Therefore, it is imperative you enlist the help of an attorney and fight any charges that may have resulted from a wrongful arrest or false allegation.

While the response of law enforcement is the first phase in many domestic violence cases, there is still a long road ahead before a prosecutor can get a conviction. You need the help of a skilled criminal defense attorney to maximize your chance of defending your criminal charges. A knowledgeable attorney can inform you of your rights thoroughly investigate the situation and craft an effective defense. Lastly, a good attorney will keep you informed and prepared every step of the way.

Were you arrested for a crime involving domestic violence? The skilled attorneys at Padula & Associates, LLC can defend your rights and help you fight for a just resolution. Our attorneys are experienced in all aspects of criminal defense, and they will help you take on domestic violence allegations with confidence. For over 20years, Padula & Associates has been serving those in King County, Snohomish County and Washington State with aggressive criminal defense services. Call us 24/7 at 425-883-3366, email us at info@paduladefense.com or fill out our online free consultation form today.

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The Arraignment: Your First Day in Court

Posted Wednesday, June 14, 2017 by Lizanne Padula.

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Typically your first court appearance after an arrest will be your arraignment (for felony charges there may be an investigation calendar appearance before arraignment). Even though this is the very first time you will appear in court for your offense, you should be prepared. Mistakes made at an arraignment can have long-lasting repercussions you could easily avoid if you are well informed. You should always speak with an attorney before going to your arraignment. Here is some information about arraignments that can help you be prepared.

When you arrive for your arraignment, you will likely be one of many other defendants being arraigned. There is nothing personal about the proceeding and, if you did not arrange for your own attorney, do not expect someone to assist you with this hearing. Listen for your name to be called and pay attention to what the Judge says. In fact, it is a good idea to listen carefully to the judge as they arraign other people. This will help you know what to expect when it is your turn. Once the judge calls your case, you will be given a copy of the charges against you and the judge will make sure you understand the nature of the charges filed against you.

The Judge will then ask you to submit a plea. If you are unprepared to do so, you can ask to speak with an attorney either of your own choosing or a public defender. The Court can appoint you a public defender if you are unable to afford a private attorney; however, you will need to disclose your income with the Court and be found indigent.. When in doubt, plead Not Guilty. You can always plead Guilty later but if you plead Guilty at arraignment you will not be able to plead Not Guilty later.

You always have rights as a criminal defendant. Speak with an experienced Washington criminal defense attorney if you are facing criminal charges. An attorney can inform you of your constitutional rights; such as the right to a speedy trial, the right to an attorney and the right to a fair trial. An attorney is important because knowing your rights and how to use your rights are two very different things.

If you’ve already been arraigned and entered a plea of Not Guilty , contact an attorney as soon as possible. You will most likely need to appear in court again for your case and an attorney can help you prepare for this hearing. One other matter should be considered. Not all judges are the same. You have the ability to kick one judge off your case. However, if that judge handled your arraignment, you may only have 10 days to take action. Experienced attorneys know what judges are better or worse for your case. Consult with an attorney asap. Do not wait until just before your next court date. . Then, you can make an informed decision about how you should proceed. If you choose to plead not guilty, an attorney can help you formulate a defense that could minimize the penalties, get you a reduced charge or even dismiss the case altogether.

If you have been arrested and are facing criminal charges, the skilled attorneys at Padula & Associates, LLC understand how stressful your situation can be and can help you prepare for court. Our attorneys are experienced in all aspects of criminal defense, and they will help you face your charges with confidence. For more than 20 years, Padula & Associates has been serving those in King County, Snohomish County and throughout Washington State with aggressive criminal defense services. Call us 24/7 at 425-883-3366, email us at info@paduladefense.com or fill out our online free consultation form today.

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Tips for Making a Good Impression in Court

Posted Monday, June 12, 2017 by Lizanne Padula.

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Appearing in court is stressful. This is true regardless of whether you are defending yourself against criminal charges, a witness or a victim. For anyone who steps into a courtroom, making a good impression is extremely important. Unfortunately, I’ve seen too many people go to court without realizing how important their appearance is and what impressions the judge or jury are forming. You can never underestimate the importance of making a good impression on the Judge and the jury. Here are a few basic tips I strongly suggest you follow when appearing in court.

Be Respectful

This seems obvious, right? You’d be surprised how many unprepared defendants aren’t respectful to the Court. Not surprisingly, these defendants rarely walk away with a favorable outcome. Being respectful can make a difference, so put the effort in. Often times people in court are understandably upset or frustrated; however, you have to find a way to collect your thoughts and express yourself in a respectful manner.

Be Prepared

Show up on time, pay attention and come prepared. Consulting with an attorney before appearing in court can help prepare you. Each court proceeding is important. This is one of the benefits of hiring an attorney. The more prepared you are, the more likely it is to get a good outcome. You cannot always be the smartest person in the room but you can always be the most prepared.

Appearances Matter

Even in a criminal court, folks should take care to look clean, polished, and professional. This means you should put on clean clothes and select an outfit that communicates respect to the court. I tell my clients to dress like they are going out to a nice dinner or attending a school graduation. . You should also, keep your demeanor calm, dignified and genuine. People listen to a calm voice more than they do to a voice raised with emotion.

You should work with a skilled Washington criminal defense attorney if you are facing criminal charges and have questions about appearing in court. While making a good impression is important, it is just as important to understand the charges against you and come prepared with a thoughtful defense. An attorney can help you with all aspects of your case, including preparing you to make a good impression in court, evaluating your options and fighting for a just resolution to your case.

If you have been arrested and are now facing criminal charges, the skilled attorneys at Padula & Associates, LLC understand how stressful your situation can be and they will prepare you, and your defense, for court. Our attorneys are experienced in all aspects of criminal defense and can help you fight for a just resolution. For more than 20 years, Padula & Associates has been serving those in King County, Snohomish County and throughout Washington State with aggressive criminal defense services. Call us 24/7 at 425-883-3366, email us at info@paduladefense.com or fill out our online free consultation form today.

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What Is the Interstate Commission for Adult Offender Supervision?

Posted Thursday, June 8, 2017 by Lizanne Padula.

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Overseeing Adult Offenders

Folks who have committed a felony and been released from jail (often referred to as “adult offenders”) will likely need continuing supervision. Typically, this means they are released on parole or probation into the community. When offenders move, supervising them in the new community can get complicated. What jurisdiction oversees the supervision? Can offenders move wherever they want? And how can they stay in compliance with their community supervision if they move to a different state?

To alleviate some of the problems related to moving adult offender populations in the community, a group of member states came together to form an interstate agreement on how to uniformly supervise certain adult offenders.

The Interstate Compact for Adult Offender Supervision, helps improve public security by placing regulations on the interstate movement of certain adult offenders. The Interstate Commission for Adult Offender Supervision oversees the administration functions of this agreement.

The Commission establishes a set of rules by which states, including Washington, must oversee the transferring and tracking of adult offenders under supervision, provides guidelines on adult offender data collection and oversees training for the implementation and enforcement of the Compact. In other words, you need permission before you move and you will be supervised in your new community just like you were before your move.

Know What You Are Up Against

Learning about the limitations and restrictions adult offenders face can give you an idea of just how much is at stake when you are facing criminal charges. Even after you’ve served your time and paid your fine, you could face years of supervision in the community, and this supervision can cost you time, money, and freedom. You also need to fully understand your charges, what a conviction means (long term and short term) and what you can do to defend yourself against these charges.. You need to speak with a skilled Washington criminal defense attorney if you have questions about the penalties you could incur from your charges. An attorney can inform you about all the possible consequences and can make sure your case is defended properly .If you are facing charges, your first step should be calling an experienced Washington criminal defense attorney.

Have you been arrested? The skilled attorneys at Padula & Associates, LLC can help you understand the charges against you and help you fight them. Our attorneys are experienced in all aspects of criminal defense and they will fight your charges with you. For more than 20 years, Padula & Associates has been serving those in King County, Snohomish County and all over Washington State with aggressive criminal defense services. Call us 24/7 at 425-883-3366, email us at info@paduladefense.com or fill out our online free consultation form today.

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