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The Washington Criminal Law Blog

Understanding Washington’s Four Degrees of Assault

Posted Tuesday, January 31, 2017 by Lizanne Padula.

alt textAssault Basics

Washington’s RCW 9A.36 discusses the different levels of Assault but fails to define the word “assault”; however, in Washington “assault” means an intentional touching of another person that is harmful or offensive regardless of whether any physical injury results from the touching. This is a general definition of assault. Assault is divided into four degrees, each of which varies in seriousness. You should speak with a criminal defense attorney for specific legal advice about assault, but here is some general information about the four degrees of Washington assault charges:

First Degree Assault

Assault in the first degree is a class A felony and is considered a serious violent offense. First-degree assault is characterized by the intentional attempt to inflict great bodily harm or death. This counts as a strike offense, meaning you can face a significant prison sentence if you are found guilty, especially if this is your third strike offense.

Second Degree Assault

Assault in the second degree can be either a class A or class B felony and is considered a violent offense. Second-degree assault is characterized by intentional assault resulting in substantial bodily harm. This also counts as a strike offense.

Third Degree Assault

Assault in the third degree is a class C felony and not considered a violent offense. Third-degree assault is characterized by an assault with criminal negligence or the assault of individuals performing certain professional duties; for example, assaulting a school bus driver or a police officer.

Fourth Degree Assault

Assault in the fourth degree is sometimes also referred to as simple assault. This is a gross misdemeanor and the least serious of the assault charges. Fourth-degree assault is characterized by harmful or offensive intentional touching. The victim does not have to be injured for the defendant to be charged with fourth-degree assault.

Assault charges are complex, and every case is different. The statutory language provides significantly more detail on Washington assault degrees, and this blog is not meant to be exhaustive. To understand the specific charges you are facing, you need to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney about your case. An attorney can explain your charges and the sentence that can be imposed. An attorney can also help you develop a defense based on the specific facts and circumstances of your case. No matter the degree, assault is a very serious charge and one that should never be faced alone.

If you have been recently arrested or are facing assault charges, the skilled attorneys at Padula & Associates, LLC understand how stressful your situation can be and can help you fight the allegations against you. Our attorneys are experienced in all aspects of criminal defense and can help you face and fight your charges with confidence. For a combined 30 years, the lawyers at Padula & Associates have 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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How to Vacate a Criminal Conviction

Posted Friday, January 27, 2017 by Lizanne Padula.

alt textCleaning Your Record

A criminal conviction will have a negative impact on your ability to get and hold a job, housing/rental applications and public assistance. It is a mistake to think that once you finish your sentence and pay all your fines you have paid your debt to society and your life can go back to normal. The truth is, as long as you have a criminal record, you will face discrimination for the rest of your life. To alleviate some of the negative impact caused by this conviction, you should clean your record by applying to vacate your conviction.

In Washington, you can vacate certain misdemeanor and gross misdemeanor convictions as well as some felony convictions. The process for vacating a conviction can be complicated and you must first meet several requirements. You should consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney before you begin the process; however, here is a brief overview of the steps to help you get started.

Contact the court where your case was filed for information about your case record and the law enforcement agency responsible for the case to obtain information about your criminal record.

With this information, you can now fill out the appropriate forms. At a minimum, you will need to fill out a Motion and Declaration (which asks the court to vacate your conviction), a Notice of Motion (to notify the prosecuting attorney’s office of the scheduled hearing), and an Order on Motion (for the judge to sign and date if your request is granted). The court may require you to submit additional forms depending on your specific conviction. Make several copies so you have you for the prosecutor, the Court, the Judge and yourself. Always keep at least one set for your own records.

Contact the court clerk office of the court that sentenced you in order to schedule a hearing. File the original Motion and Declaration and the Notice of Motion with the court clerk. Then, serve the prosecuting attorney’s office with copies of these documents.

Go to your hearing. If the judge grants your motion, he or she will sign and date the Order on Motion and your job is done. The court will forward the signed Order to the appropriate agencies so the Vacation can be noted on your criminal record. If your motion is denied, the Court will usually outline the reason for the denial and, if possible, you can correct the error and start again. An attorney experienced in this kind of work will avoid mistakes and make sure the Order gets signed the first time.

The information in this blog illustrates the basic procedure for vacating a conviction. You may have some more questions. For information about what convictions are eligible for Vacation, the requirements you must meet and what specifically vacating a conviction will do, speak with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney. Going into the process unprepared and uninformed is a waste of time. The Court will not correct any errors you make and they will not overlook any deficiencies in your Motion. An attorney can help you determine your eligibility and assist you with the vacation process.

If you want to vacate a criminal conviction, the skilled attorneys at Padula & Associates, LLC know how difficult the process can be and they will assist you every step of the way. Our attorneys are experienced in all aspects of criminal defense and can help you face and fight your charges with confidence. For a combined 30 years, the lawyers at Padula & Associates have 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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Top DUI Lawyer Lizanne Padula testifies before the Washington State Senate Law & Justice Committee!

Posted Thursday, July 23, 2015 by Blog Admin.

Lizanne Padula testifies before the Washington State Senate Law & Justice Committee on June 17, 2015, regarding SB6134: Exempting pretrial electronic alcohol monitoring programs from statutory limitations on pretrial supervision costs. Padula testified on behalf of the Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

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Criminal Defense Attorney Lizanne Padula Elected President of CJE

Posted Monday, March 30, 2015 by Blog Admin.

The 2015 Annual Meeting of Citizens for Judicial Excellence was held on March 19 in Kirkland. Ted Barr, CJE President for the past eight years, retired and the membership elected Lizanne Padula as CJE President for the next four-year term. View link below:

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Citizens for Judicial Excellence is a political action committee formed to recruit and support highly accomplished, fair, service-oriented attorneys who wish to become judges in the District and Municipal Court of the State of Washington.

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Criminal Defense DUI Lawyer at Padula and Associates get DUI Case Dismissed!

Posted Thursday, August 9, 2012 by Blog Admin.

Our Client L.W.C. receives a call from a friend who is stranded and needs a ride from Kirkland. L.W.C. should have stayed home because he had been drinking; however, they could not resist a friend in need. L.W.C. picked up the friend but then got stopped by Kirkland Police when they failed to stop at a stop sign. After sobriety testing, our client was arrested for DUI. Back at the station, L.W.C. asked to use the bathroom. The Police ignored him. Over the next 20 minutes L.W.C. repeated thier request to use the bathroom to urinate numerous times. Each time, his request was ignored or declined. Finally, the police officer asked L.W.C. if he would submit to a breath test. L.W.C. said, “yes, right after I use the bathroom”. The Officer decided this was a refusal to submit to a breath test. Lizanne Padula saw this for what it was: a request to go to the bathroom and not a refusal! Lizanne set the matter for a hearing to argue whether or not this was a refusal. Additionally, in order to be thorough, Lizanne also filed a motion asking the Court to find that the police lacked probable cause to arrest L.W.C. During the hearing, the Prosecutor became so focused on the refusal issue that she forgot to make a case that L.W.C. was lawfully arrested. Lizanne noted the absence of evidence on this issue and quietly waited for her opportunity to pounce. The strategy worked! Case dismissed!

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