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The Washington Criminal Law Blog

The Cost of Defending a DUI, Washington State

Posted Thursday, September 7, 2017 by Lizanne Padula.

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An arrests for DUI can wreak havoc on your life and on your bank account. We do not mislead our clients about the cost of defending a DUI in Washington State. Also, there are fees beyond just attorneys fees that are associated with a DUI case and conviction. The truth is that the long-term consequences of having a DUI on your record are immense. So, there is compelling reasons to do everything possible to properly defense yourself against DUI charges, including trying to get the charges dropped or reduced.

The Cost of Defending a DUI

Depending on the specifics of your case, an experienced DUI defense attorney is probably going to cost $5,000 to $12,000. Beyond attorneys fees, the following are other expenses typically associated with DUI charges:

• Court fees/fines (if convicted): $500 to $2,500 (possibly more depending on what crime you are convicted of).

• Victim Impact Panel: $25.00 to $50.00.

• Probation (if ordered): $50.00/month.

• Mandatory Alcohol Evaluation: $150.00 to $300.00

Additionally, depending on the outcome of the Alcohol Evaluation:

• Course in an approved Alcohol & Drug Information School (this is the lowest level of treatment for people diagnosed with no significant problem (NSP) with alcohol): $50.00 to $150.00.

• 3 to 12 months of treatment for an alcohol abuse diagnosis (this is applicable to someone who is not an addict but is misusing alcohol): several hundred dollars.

• More intensive treatment in an approved substance use disorder treatment program (this is a much higher level of treatment and is for people diagnosed with an addiction issue): several hundred to thousands of dollars.

We encourage you to consider that in five or ten years you may not remember the costs, but you will remember if you achieved a favorable result in your case. If you can, focus on hiring an attorney who can achieve the results you need. Every case is different and an experienced DUI defense attorney will be able to evaluate the evidence against you and pinpoint the weaknesses in the Prosecution’s case that can be leveraged in negotiations. In fact, most of the DUI cases we handle at Padula & Associates, LLC are reduced to lesser charges or dismissed entirely.

If you are facing charges for a DUI, the skilled attorneys at Padula & Associates, LLC will provide you with tenacious defense in court. Our attorneys are experienced in all aspects of criminal defense and will help you fight your charges with confidence. 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.

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.

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I Was Arrested, But No Criminal Charges Were Filed Against Me - Now What

Posted Tuesday, September 5, 2017 by Lizanne Padula.

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If you were arrested and you were released without criminal charges being filed against you, do not assume your ordeal is over and that charges will never be filed.

When Criminal Charges Have Not Yet Been Filed

After an arrest, some jurisdictions will file criminal charges quickly - sometimes prior to release or within days of the arrest. However, some jurisdictions wait to file formal charges. Many counties (especially King County) take months to file charges. Understand that the delay may be more indicative of an over-worked, under-staffed Prosecutor’s office than a decision not to file charges against you.

Consult with A Criminal Defense Attorney Before Charges Are Filed

After an arrest, it is a good idea to consult with an attorney right away. This is true even if formal charges have not yet been filed.

First, a criminal defense attorney knows what steps to take to preserve evidence you may need when the time comes to defend yourself. For example, videos are often destroyed after a month or two, or witnesses may move away or forget what happened. Time can erase evidence that you and your attorney will need to successfully defend you. Second, a criminal defense attorney can continually monitor your case and can find out immediately when charges are filed and what those charges are. Mounting a strong defense from the start helps ensure the best possible outcome in your case.

Just because criminal charges have not been filed right away does not mean they cannot file them in the future.

Limitations On When The State Can Bring Criminal Charges

Depending on the type of crime being charged, the prosecuting attorney’s office may or may not have a limitation on when it can bring criminal charges. For example, the State has two years to bring charges for a gross misdemeanor (RCW 9A.04.080(1)(i)). Alternatively, there are a number of crimes that the State may prosecute at anytime, including murder, homicide by abuse, arson if a death results, vehicular homicide, and vehicular assault if a death results (RCW 9A.04.080(1)(a)).

A delay in formal charges being filed against you does not indicate that an arrest or investigation has gone away or been forgotten.

The skilled criminal defense attorneys at Padula & Associates, LLC offer a free consultation. Use this consultation to get a free evaluation of what you should do right now. Afterwards, you may decide to act now and hire us or you may decide to wait. A meeting with us will make sure you are basing your decision on a solid analysis of the law and the facts, and not on fear or a desire to forget the experience ever happened.

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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Why You Should Exercise Your Right to Remain Silent

Posted Friday, September 1, 2017 by Lizanne Padula.

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You have the right to remain silent.

The Fifth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States grants us the right against self-incrimination. The Fifth Amendment states: “No person… shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself[.]” Our right to remain silent protects criminal defendants and suspects, and it extends to situations when being interrogated by law enforcement and when testifying in legal proceedings.

Are you being questioned by law enforcement?

If you are being questioned by law enforcement regarding a crime, it is usually in your best interest to remain silent. You do not have to answer questions posed to you by law enforcement. Be polite but firm in your desire to remain silent. You have the right to have an attorney present during questioning – exercise this right.

Reasons why you should exercise your right to remain silent.

It is usually advisable to wait and discuss your side of the story with your attorney and let her guide you on how to best convey your side of the story to law enforcement. Our Attorneys are available right now, 24/7. Call us at 425-883-3366 for advice on how to react to law enforcement.

Law enforcement officers are not trying to help you. Their job is to gather evidence against you. They may tell you that you should talk to them and tell them your side of the story. Do not believe this. If you are being investigated, law enforcement will use any trick they can to obtain evidence against you. Do not make their job easier.

Cooperating with law enforcement is unlikely to get you leniency or help you avoid arrest. Many people will cooperate with law enforcement in an effort to garner leniency or because they are afraid of being arrested and they mistakenly believe a police officer is more likely to let them go if they comply with all of the requests made of them. This is usually not true. We have spent more than 20 years aggressively defending against criminal charges, and in this time we have rarely seen someone get rewarded with leniency or a dismissal because they were candid with the police.

Anything you say will be used against you. You may inadvertently make an admission of guilt. Your words may be twisted against you. Answering questions without an attorney present is almost always a bad idea.

Politely but firmly indicate your desire to remain silent and to contact an attorney. Always be respectful because if you are not they will use it against you. Never be resistive, combative, or impolite.

How you deal with the investigation largely determines your options in fighting the criminal charges you are up against. Do not do anything that will help the prosecution. Exercise your right to remain silent and have an attorney present during questioning and all other criminal proceedings.

Seek the advice of a criminal defense attorney.

If you are facing criminal charges we urge you to seek the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. The attorneys of Padula & Associates, LLC are experienced in all aspects of criminal defense, and they will help you take on criminal allegations with confidence. We will be your fierce advocates, and we will mount an aggressive defense in your case and help you fight for a just resolution.

We are available 24/7. Consultations are free. Call us 24/7 at 425-883-3366, email us at info@paduladefense.com, or fill out our online free consultation form today.

We proudly serve the folks in King County, Snohomish County, and Washington State with aggressive and effective criminal defense.

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The Truth About Domestic Violence Advocates - Washington Criminal Law

Posted Wednesday, August 30, 2017 by Lizanne Padula.

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Prosecuting attorneys of alleged Domestic Violence (DV) cases often utilize a person with the title “Domestic Violence Advocate.” An alleged victim may be contacted by a DV Advocate. This person will hold themselves out as someone who will advocate for the alleged victim. In fact, DV Advocates are typically trained social workers and their purported job is to assist alleged DV victims while the DV case is moving through the criminal court system. However, a DV Advocate is an employee of the Prosecutor’s Office, shares office space with Prosecutors, and regularly work with and take orders from Prosecutors. By the very structure of their employment, they are influenced and controlled by Prosecutors. There is absolutely no way for a DV advocate to be completely independent and able to advocate for the alleged victim.

A DV Advocate will attempt to gather additional information about the incident that brought the individuals into the court system. They will seek information about the relationship between the alleged victim and the accused. Information they gather will be given to the Prosecuting Attorney to be used against the Defendant. DV Advocates are not advocating for the alleged victim’s rights, they are there to garner evidence to make the Prosecution’s job easier.

DV Advocates cannot give legal advice or answer legal questions because they are not licensed attorneys, and they cannot provide assistance in obtaining protection orders.

As an alleged victim, you have rights. Until ordered otherwise by a Court, you can refuse to talk to DV advocates, police, prosecutors, and defense attorneys. Only a Court Order can take away this right.

An alleged victim who wants an advocate who is required to put the alleged victim’s interests above all else, must hire his or her own attorney. Only an attorney hired by the alleged victim can be independent and able to advocate solely for the alleged victim.

If You Are A Victim of An Act of Domestic Violence

If you are a victim of an act of Domestic Violence and have called or are thinking of calling the police, please remember that once you make a statement and tell the police you are the victim of an assault or some other act of domestic violence, you lose all control over what happens to you, your family, and the person you are accusing.

You will not be able to change your mind later and get the charges dropped or dismissed. The concept of you being able to “press charges” or “drop charges” does not exist in Washington State. Further, you will have absolutely no control over what punishment is imposed upon the person accused. Once an arrest has been made and the case has been referred to the Prosecutor’s Office, they have all the power and you become just another witness.

If you truly need protection, we urge you to call the police and make a statement. However, if your goal is to gain some control over your situation, understand that calling the police will transfer complete control to them. Feel free to call us at 425-883-3366 if you need advice.

If You Are Accused of An Act of Domestic Violence

If you are about to be accused or are being accused of an act of DV, it is usually in your best interest to remain silent and ask for an attorney. You do not have to answer questions posed to you by law enforcement. Be polite but firm in your desire to remain silence until you have an attorney by your side.

The skilled attorneys at Padula & Associates, LLC know how important it is to defend your rights. Our attorneys are experienced in all aspects of Domestic Violence defense in Washington State. We know how to advocate for our clients and to pinpoint the weaknesses in the Prosecution’s 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 criminal defense.

We answer our phone 24 hours a day, 7 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.

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License Suspension After DUI Arrest, Washington Department of Licensing

Posted Monday, August 28, 2017 by Lizanne Padula.

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If you have been arrested for a DUI you may be reeling from worries and confusion about what to do next. It may not feel like it right now, but you will survive this experience. We are here to make sure that you do. If you’re reading this, even after hours, call us – we will answer – (425) 883-3366.

Automatic License Suspension After DUI Arrest - Washington State

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, and

• The hearing examiner decides in your favor.

You must request a hearing with the DOL within 20 days of your arrest. If you do not request a hearing within 20 days, or the hearing examiner does not rule in your favor, your license will be suspended for 90 days to 2 years. The length of this administrative suspension depends upon any prior offenses and the severity of the incident in question.

You should have been given a form explaining the above. However, even if you did not receive such a form, you will still be held to this deadline. If you miss this deadline, the administrative suspension from the DOL will go into effect 60 days after your arrest and you will have lost your ability to fight this action.

When you hire Padula & Associates, LLC to defend you against allegations of DUI, we will guide you through the DOL process and we will ensure your hearing request is submitted on time. It is imperative that you contact us as soon as possible after an arrest so we can request the necessary hearing within 20 days and ensure your rights are protected. Do not wait until you receive notice of your criminal charges. Your criminal case and this administrative DOL action are separate. Waiting for the criminal charges to be filed may hurt your ability to challenge the DOL action.

A DUI arrest does not immediately eliminate your ability to drive. Although after arrest your license may have a hole punched in it. You can still drive. However, you should have received a slip of paper from the Officer that you need to carry with your license in order for your license to be valid. Also, as noted above: you must request a hearing from the DOL within 20 days of your arrest or your license will be automatically suspended.

When you hire the skilled DUI defense attorneys at Padula & Associates, LLC, we will fight to prevent the interruption of your ability to drive. We understand how stressful your situation can be, and we will explain and defend your rights. Our attorneys are experienced in all aspects of criminal defense, and we will help you face your charges with confidence. For over 20 years, Padula & Associates, LLC has been serving the people of King County, Snohomish County, and throughout Washington State with aggressive and effective criminal defense.

Come meet with us for a free case evaluation. 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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