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The Washington Criminal Law Blog

DUI Arraignment - What to Expect

Posted Friday, November 17, 2017 by Lizanne Padula.

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A DUI Arraignment is the court hearing when charges are formally filed against you. At such time you will be asked to enter a plea (not guilty, guilty). Typically the hearing is short, generally lasting ten minutes or less. It is highly advisable to have your DUI defense attorney by your side even at the Arraignment stage.

If you are facing your DUI Arraignment, you do not have to face it alone. Understandably, 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.

What to Expect at a DUI Arraignment

At the start of the Arraignment the court will review basic information to confirm your identity, such as your name and date of birth. You will also be informed (either in writing, verbally, or both) of your constitutional rights, including your right to counsel and your right to a jury trial.

Then, assuming you have your DUI defense attorney by your side, your attorney will likely waive your right to be formally arraigned, which means any formal reading of the DUI complaint charges in open Court is waived.

We work so hard to protect our clients’ rights, it may seem odd that we are willingly waiving a right in open court. Here’s the deal: At an arraignment, the Judge is required to inform you of the charges against you. The Judge can read the charges against you out loud, or your attorney can review the charges and waive the reading. This option spares the judge the time of reading each charge, and it spares you the potential embarrassment of having criminal charges against you read aloud to the court room. Waiving the formal reading of the charges does not waive any other rights you have, or may later wish to assert.

At this point you will then enter your formal plea of not guilty to the Court. The Judge will then set conditions of your release pending the outcome of the state’s case against you. The Court’s primary concerned is whether you’re a threat to the community or if you’re a flight risk. Depending on the facts of your case, the terms of you not being imprisoned while awaiting case resolution may include various parameters, such as a mandate that you refrain from consuming alcohol, or that you have an Ignition Interlock Device installed on your vehicle.

We Will Prepare You for the DUI Arraignment

Every court has different procedures. It is important to us that our clients feel prepared for their arraignment and any other legal proceeding. We take the time to explain the criminal process and the “what to expect” to our clients. The more you understand, the more empowered you will feel to face your DUI charges head-on.

The skilled attorneys at Padula & Associates, LLC will provide you with tenacious defense in court to combat serious DUI charges. Our attorneys have built our reputation on defense of charges for DUI. We have successfully litigated DUI charges to not guilty verdicts and obtained reduction in charges to lesser crimes, such as Reckless Driving or Reckless Endangerment. Our experience is extensive and our success is frequent.

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

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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The Results We Get For Our Clients - Padula & Associates, Seattle Criminal Defense

Posted Wednesday, November 15, 2017 by Lizanne Padula.

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We work hard to get the best possible results for our clients. The attorneys of Padula & Associates, LLC will fiercely advocate on your behalf.

“I feel so privileged to have had you in my corner - fighting so hard to get my freedom returned to me.” – Linda

We practice solely in criminal defense and have been for more than 20 years. 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.

“I can’t thank you enough. You were a true warrior in the courtroom – you stood up for what you passionately believe in.” – Stephanie

Criminal charges in Washington state often come with mandatory minimum penalties, including for conviction for a first-time DUI offense. Moreover, there are numerous long-term consequences of having a criminal record. You want to do everything possible to get criminal charges dropped or reduced to lesser charges.

Demonstrated Results for Our Client: Hit and Run Felony Elude Case

Our client came to us with criminal charges for DUI, 3 counts of Hit and Run, and a felony Attempt to Elude a Pursuing Police Vehicle. She had two prior DUI convictions on her record - that our office did not handle. The truth was that our client was a good person with a terrible drinking problem. She came to us early on but did not think she could afford us, so she elected to go with a Public Defender.

Months later she returned to our office telling us that the Public Defender had been ineffective and wanted her to plead guilty to the felony. She hired us. We aggressively pursued negotiations but the prosecutor was unmoving. Our client worked in the financial industry and a felony conviction on the Attempt to Elude charge would end her career in that industry, cripple her ability to rebuild her life. The other charges were misdemeanors and she stood ready to plead guilty to those. The felony was the problem. Not only would it be devastating to her life, but she was adamant that she never saw the police and never attempted to elude them.

At trial we showed the jury that the “police chase” was very short, that both her side mirrors were broken, that her rear window was fogged, and that she stopped on her own. It was important for the jury to understand that our client could not see the police due to the lack of mirrors or clear windows, and her ability was hindered by her intoxication, to which she admitted.

The prosecutor laughed at our strategy and told us she had defeated a similar tactic before. The jury deliberated for an entire day, but returned a Not Guilty verdict on the felony charge. They did return Guilty verdicts on the other misdemeanor charges, but we had conceded those as a sort of “sacrifice fly” to the felony.

Our client is out of jail and looking for a job in the banking industry.

Demonstrated Results for Our Client: DUI Client Walks, No Legal Consequences

Read here about how the Court agreed with us that the police officer did not have probable cause to arrest our client for DUI and, as a result, the criminal charges were dismissed. We were further able to convince the Department of Licensing to take no action against our client’s license based on the same legal issue we won in the criminal court. Due to our efforts, our client walked away from this DUI arrest with no legal consequences.

Read more of our demonstrated results here.

Understand that every case is different. Our experienced criminal defense attorneys will be able to evaluate the evidence against you and pinpoint the weaknesses in the Prosecution’s case that can be leveraged in your defense. Not every criminal charge can be beat, but we successfully execute legal strategies for our clients and are able to eliminate or reduce many charges. Hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you get the best possible outcome in your case.

Contact Us - Anytime, Day or Night

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

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 free consultation today.

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

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Reasons to Hire Your Own Attorney Instead of Using a Public Defender

Posted Monday, November 13, 2017 by Lizanne Padula.

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Under the Sixth Amendment and Washington State statute, every criminal defendant, regardless of ability to pay, has the right to counsel. For defendants who cannot afford the costs of hiring an attorney, the state will provide a public defender.

Public defenders are often excellent attorneys, and they are some of the most dedicated attorneys; however, we strongly urge any criminal defendant to hire a private attorney instead of using a public defender.

Reasons to Hire Your Own Attorney Instead of Using a Public Defender

• Public defenders are overworked and carry a heavy caseload.

• Public defender offices are often understaffed, and underfunded.

• When you hire your own attorney, she will have ample time to dedicate to your defense.

Public Defenders Are Overworked

Public defenders are overworked. Each attorney carries a massive case load. Because of this, they have incentive to handle cases as quickly and efficiently as possible. While they may be giving effective assistance of counsel, that does not mean you are going to get the very best possible outcome in your case.

Your Private Attorney Will Have Time to Dedicate to Your Case

When you hire a private attorney, she will only take the case if she has adequate time to dedicate to it. There are so many things that can be done prior to a trial to achieve a more favorable result in the case – all of which require time. Crafting a strong legal strategy, negotiating lesser charges or a favorable plea deal, preparing witnesses and other evidence for trial, requires adequate time to devote to your case.

The fact is, clients of public defenders may feel confused about the criminal law process or lost in the status of their case. Defendants who hire private attorneys may be more likely to attain the most favorable outcome possible in their criminal case. But of course, the choice of which attorney to work with is yours. You can find Washington public defense resources here. A list of County and City Public Defender Offices can be found here.

Hire Padula & Associates, LLC to Defend 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 Padula, Founding Partner, is a former Prosecutor. She served as the Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Franklin, Clallam, and Jefferson counties. Through the course of her career with the State, Lizanne acquired extensive experience as a criminal trial attorney. As a Prosecutor, her case load included DUI cases, Domestic Violence cases, Drug offenses, and Homicide cases.

Lizanne’s 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 County and Snohomish County.

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Unfairly Targeted for DUI Arrest

Posted Thursday, November 9, 2017 by Lizanne Padula.

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Before a police officer may pull someone over on suspicion of DUI, he or she must have probable cause to believe that a crime is being committed (that the driver is intoxicated). In this context, probable cause can be defined as a “reasonable basis for believing that a crime may have been committed.” The officer may witness clues of impaired driving, which may include:

• Driving on or over lane markings.

• Driving slower than the speed limit.

• Failure to signal lane changes or turns, or other erratic driving.

• Following too closely.

• Delayed response to traffic signals.

Any of these things may amount to sufficient probable cause for an officer to pull a driver over on suspicion of DUI. But the truth is that police officers rely heavily on making judgments that may not always be rooted in the law. For example, perhaps the police officer saw a driver pulling out of a bar’s parking lot and decided based on that alone that the driver may be intoxicated. Or, what if the officer pulled someone over on suspicion of DUI because while stopped side-by-side at a red light the officer saw the driver decked-out in club attire and it was just after closing time. Or, even worse, what if a particular bias played a role in being pulled over on suspicion of DUI.

If a police officer pulls a driver over on suspicion of DUI, or any crime, without probable cause then the officer would be unfairly targeting the driver for a DUI arrest.

Every DUI case is unique. There are so many variables that can sway outcomes. However, the manner by which your DUI arrest begins may be the most effective piece of evidence to get charges dismissed or reduced to lesser charges. Even if the prosecution has ample evidence against you, like a failed breath test or a failed sobriety test, if the police officer did not have probable cause to pull you over in the first place, then we may be able to get the charges completely dismissed.

Click here to read about how we got all charges dismissed for a recent client because the Court agreed with us that the police officer did not have probable cause to arrest our client for DUI.

Hire a DUI Defense 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.

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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Understanding the Washington State Criminal Court System

Posted Tuesday, November 7, 2017 by Lizanne Padula.

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If you have been charged with a crime, it is important for you to understand how the Washington State Criminal Court system is set up and how it operates. You’ll want to understand the charges against you, the criminal law process, and the potential outcomes in your case. When you hire the criminal defense attorneys of Padula & Associates, LLC to fiercely defend you and your rights, we will ensure you understand what’s going on in your case. We even offer free consultations.

The Washington State court system is broken down into a number of categories, which for the most part depend on the severity of the crime charged.

Municipal Courts & District Courts

These are city and county courts of limited jurisdiction, meaning they only have the power to hear certain types of cases. In regard to criminal matters, our municipal and district courts have jurisdiction over misdemeanors and gross misdemeanors. These courts may only hear criminal cases involving misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor charges.

Superior Court

Washington State Superior Courts can hear any criminal case, felony or otherwise. However, simply because the Superior Court can hear misdemeanor cases doesn’t mean it does. Lesser misdemeanor charges are first handled in the Municipal or District Court level. Only if there is an appeal would such a case come before the Superior Court.

If you are charged with a crime you must attend an arraignment where you will appear before a judge and be formally notified of the charge(s) against you. At such time you will be asked to enter a plea (not guilty, guilty). Arrangements are scheduled at the appropriate court based on what crimes are being charged and where the incident in question occurred.

A misdemeanor carries a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. A gross misdemeanor may carry a maximum penalty of 365 days in jail and a $5,000 fine. Lastly, a felony is any crime that can result in over a year in prison. Felonies in Washington State are classified as Class C, B, or A, ranging from least serious to the most serious.

The Court of Appeals, Washington State

The Court of Appeals does not have original jurisdiction over any case. They exist to handle appeals from the Superior Courts, and in some cases, from the Municipal or District Courts. The Court of Appeals is designed to review cases to determine whether the lower court was acting correctly and/or if the law was properly interpreted and properly applied.

Cases that originated at the Superior Court go straight to the Court of Appeals on appeal. Cases that originate in the Municipal or District Courts first go to appeal at the Superior Court, then when necessary, go up on appeal to the Court of Appeals.

The Washington Supreme Court

The highest state court is the Washington Supreme Court. If you lose at any of the lower courts and wish to appeal, you have the right to petition the Washington Supreme Court for review. However, you do not have a guarantee that the Court will hear your case. If they decide not to grant your case review, then your appeals in state court are exhausted and the lower court ruling will stand. Of course you have the option of appealing to the United States Supreme Court, but our highest court in the land only grants certiorari to about 1% of all cases that petition for review.

Defending Against Criminal Charges

Regardless of which Washington State Court you must appear before, facing criminal charges is a frightening time. Hire a criminal defense attorney to advocate for you and mount a strong defense against the State’s case against you.

The skilled attorneys at Padula & Associates, LLC can defend your rights and help you fight for a just resolution. We proudly serve those in King County, Snohomish County, Pierce County, Lewis County, and Washington State.

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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