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The Washington Criminal Law Blog

Domestic Violence Convictions and Gun Rights

Posted Thursday, March 16, 2017 by Lizanne Padula.

alt textA Valuable Right

Under federal law, all those convicted of felonies or misdemeanors involving domestic violence are prohibited from possessing firearms. Losing your gun rights is one of the harshest and most permanent penalties incurred from a domestic violence conviction. You may lose these rights for life, even after you’ve paid your debt to society.

While it may seem that a domestic violence conviction should not affect a Constitutionally given right, there are some statistics that support the Court’s concern:

Women who are victims of domestic violence are 5 times more likely to be killed by their abuser if that abuser owns a firearm.

Domestic violence incidents involving a gun are twelve times more likely to result in death than those that do not involve a gun.

In past years, more than 2/3 of spouse and ex-spouse homicide victims were killed with firearms.

While these numbers are compelling, the broad sweep of the firearm prohibition does not take into consideration those defendants who pose no real threat to the alleged victim. Despite this, anyone who is convicted of an act of domestic violence will lose their right to possess a gun. There is true even if the underlining crime is not an act of violence such as a theft.

Fortunately, you may be able to restore your gun rights after a domestic violence conviction. Eligible defendants can file a petition to restore gun rights with the Superior Court. This is a complicated process, however, and you will have the best chance of success if you have a criminal defense attorney assist you. You are only eligible if at least 5 years has passed since your conviction, you have fulfilled the requirements of your sentence, and you are not facing other criminal charges.

However, restoring your gun rights is not a true restoration. Restoring your gun rights under state law does not mean your federal firearm restriction will be lifted, nor does it necessarily mean you can still get a concealed pistol permit. In fact, as the law stands now, while there is a written Federal law that seems to allow for restoration of your Federal gun rights, there is no perusable method for restoration of Federal gun rights. Put simply, as things stand at the time of this blog post, you can only partially restore your gun rights. That said, navigating the process of restoring your gun rights after a domestic violence conviction can be difficult, especially without help. Speak with a Washington criminal defense attorney with domestic violence experience if you have questions about your rights and how to defend them. An attorney can help you determine if you are eligible to file a petition and help you do so.

Are you concerned about your gun rights? The attorneys at Padula & Associates, LLC know domestic violence law and can help you petition to have your gun rights restored after your conviction. Our attorneys are experienced in DUI and criminal defense and can help you face your charges with confidence while defending your rights. For 10 years Padula & Associates has been serving those in King County, Snohomish County, and surrounding areas with aggressive criminal defense services for DUIs, domestic violence, and other criminal charges. Call us 24/7 at 425-883-3366, email us at info@paduladefense.com or fill out our free consultation form today.

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The Differences Between a Public Defender and a Private Attorney

Posted Tuesday, March 14, 2017 by Lizanne Padula.

alt textPublic vs. Private

One of the most well known rights of the people is the right to an attorney. You have the right to speak to an attorney before being questioned by a police officer. If you are being charged with a crime and are unable to afford an attorney, you can ask for a public defender to be appointed. To qualify for a public defender, you must disclose to the Court your income level and be found to be indigent. If you do not have the money to hire an attorney, a public defender may seem appealing. Acquiring money to hire a private attorney can be daunting. You might ask yourself if one attorney is just as good as another attorney? If so, the appointed attorney who comes free or at a very low rate sounds great. But, is it?

Who Will Provide the Best Defense?

Public defenders are attorneys who work for the government or a firm who contracts with the government to provide public defender services. In fact, many private attorneys start their careers as public defenders. While public defenders can provide you legal advice and representation in your case, they are limited in what they can do for you for a few reasons. Public defenders typically have a very large caseload. This means your public defender might not have the time to handle your case they way they may want to handle it. Often public defenders are frustrated that their workload prevents them giving each case the time it needs. Often they do not have the time to have meetings with you or to take phone calls from you when you have questions or concerns. No matter how good an attorney a public defender may be, the sheer volume of cases assigned to them prevents them from offering their clients the support you need to get through this ordeal. You may find it difficult to get a chance to ask questions about your case or to really explore your options. In addition, as mentioned above, you must be found indigent (i.e. low income) to be eligible for a public defender. Public defenders are typically issued by the Court handling your case, and the Court may have specific rules regarding the use of public defenders. Lastly, public defenders cannot help you with non-criminal matters such as hearings with DOL. If you have a public defender for your DUI, you have to deal with DOL on your own.

Private attorneys work for you. They have more freedom to pick and chose what cases to take. By limiting what cases they take, a private attorney can make sure they have the time to give you the support you need throughout your case. A good criminal defense attorney will meet with you several times outside of Court and take your calls when you need them. Private attorneys can also dedicate more time to keeping you informed about your case. It is crucial that your attorney has met with you, discussed the evidence against you and garnered a clear understanding of your priorities and what outcome you desire. All of this is essential for the attorney to handle the case the way you want them to handle it. Although it may be an investment, a private attorney is typically more skilled and more experienced and can get you better results than a public defender.

Speak with a Washington criminal defense attorney if you have questions about your rights as a defendant. An attorney can evaluate your case and advise you of your rights and when it is a good idea to exercise these rights. A public defender may not be right for your case. If you want to fight your charges, or are concerned about the penalties you face, you should speak with an experienced and proven attorney about your plan of action.

Are you facing criminal charges? The attorneys at Padula & Associates, LLC are skilled in criminal defense and can help you navigate the criminal prosecution process. Our attorneys are experienced in DUI and criminal defense and can help you face your charges with confidence while defending your rights. For 10 years Padula & Associates has been serving those in King County, Snohomish County, and surrounding areas with aggressive criminal defense services for DUIs, domestic violence, and other criminal charges. Call us 24/7 at 425-883-3366, email us at info@paduladefense.com or fill out our free consultation form today.

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What to Know About Driving After a DUI Arrest

Posted Thursday, March 9, 2017 by Lizanne Padula.

alt textDriving After a DUI

Getting arrested for a DUI will result in the suspension of your driver’s license if you don’t take action right away. Here are some things you should know about driving in Washington after a DUI arrest:

You can potentially avoid a license suspension after a DUI arrest by requesting a hearing to contest your suspension. You have to request a hearing within 20 days of your arrest. If you miss out on the 20-day window you will lose your ability to challenge this administrative suspension. If the hearing examiner decides in your favor, your license will not be suspended by DOL. If you do not request a hearing, your license suspension will commence 60 days after your arrest. If the DOL Hearing Officer rules against you, you will lose your license on a date determined by the Hearing Officer.

Your full license suspension will go into effect 60 days after the date of your arrest if you do not request a hearing. You should always request a hearing.

The suspension period for a DUI arrest can vary from 90 days to two years, depending on the circumstances of your offense and your history of offenses. This suspension comes from DOL and is an administrative suspension. You could face another suspension if convicted by the court.

You may be able to drive during your license suspension if you install an Ignition Interlock device (IID) in your car and obtain an Ignition Interlock License (IIL). Unfortunately, both the IID and the IIL cost money. The IID will need to be maintained and calibrated regularly. The IID cannot be installed on motorcycles, though. LifeSafer is the best IID company in Washington. Call them for set-up times and cost.

After you serve your license suspension, you will have to take action to reinstate your license with the DOL. This will also come with a fee.

In this blog, we are only talking about the administrative suspension/revocation imposed by the Washington State Department of Licensing. Being convicted of a DUI in a criminal court will result in different suspensions and requirements.

Dealing with your driver’s license after a DUI arrest or conviction can be complicated. Put bluntly, dealing with DOL is always complicated. But driving on a suspended license is a serious offense, so it is in your best interests to speak with an attorney about the consequences of your DUI arrest or conviction before you get back on the road. If you want to contest your suspension, you only have a short amount of time in which to request a hearing, so contact an experienced DUI criminal defense attorney as soon as you can. An attorney can help you request a hearing and contest your suspension so you can stay on the road.

Have you been arrested for a DUI? The attorneys at Padula & Associates know DUI defense and can help you fight for your license. Our attorneys are experienced in DUI and criminal defense and can help you face your charges with confidence. For 10 years Padula & Associates has been serving those in King County, Snohomish County, and surrounding areas with aggressive criminal defense services for DUIs, domestic violence, and other criminal charges. Call us 24/7 at 425-883-3366, email us at info@paduladefense.com or fill out our free consultation form today.

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Can an Attorney Get Me Out of Jail Time?

Posted Tuesday, March 7, 2017 by Lizanne Padula.

alt textServing Your Sentence

Jail time is one of the most dreaded consequences of a criminal conviction. Jail time takes away your freedom and can greatly disrupt your work, your ability to care for your family and your finances. Many people ask if an attorney can get them out of jail time. For some, this is their sole motivation when questioning whether to hire an attorney. If you share this concern, here are a few reasons why an attorney can increase your chances of avoiding jail:

From misdemeanors and gross misdemeanors to felonies, most crimes come with a potential for a jail sentence. These crimes often have a minimum and a maximum sentence. Some misdemeanors may come with up to 364 days in jail; however, the amount of jail imposed is greatly influenced by whether you have prior convictions or if this is your first conviction. Depending on the crime you have been convicted of, you may not face jail time if this is your first time. Conversely, prior criminal history and/or aggravating factors could lead to a jail sentence of several months or even a year. An attorney can give you a clearer picture of how the specific facts and circumstances of your crime might affect your sentencing.

An attorney may try to negotiate a plea bargain for you. This means the attorney convinces the prosecutor to charge you with a lesser crime in exchange for a guilty plea to that lesser crime. Sometimes, negotiations can actually result in a dismissal. Plea bargaining and negotiating is necessary to enable the Court system to handle all the cases that need to be processed. Cases resolved by a negotiated resolution take up less of the Court’s time by avoiding a trial, decrease jury and court administration costs, allow for more cases to be handled by the Court and often actually result in a more just and responsive resolution. It also benefits the person charged with the crime because, with a lesser crime, you could face less or even no jail time. It takes skill, a solid strategy and experience to negotiate a plea bargain, but the more effective attorneys are usually successful in their attempts.

If jail time is unavoidable, an attorney can try to get you placed in a jail alternative program. Work release will allow you to work during the day and return to a correctional facility in the evenings, but it has many restrictions and isn’t available to all defendants. Electronic Home Monitoring allows you to go to work and to treatment programs but requires you stay at home the rest of the time. You may also be eligible for community service as an alternative to jail. Your attorney should know to explore all of the available options.

If you are facing criminal charges and are concerned about jail time, speak with a criminal defense attorney. Find an experienced criminal defense attorney in your area who can help you reduce or even eliminate your jail sentence. When your freedom is on the line, you should always speak with an attorney about your options.

Are you concerned about jail time? The knowledgeable attorneys at Padula & Associates understand your concerns and can help you find a way to reduce or eliminate your jail time. Our attorneys are experienced in DUI and criminal defense and can help you face your charges with confidence. For 10 years Padula & Associates has been serving those in King County, Snohomish County, and surrounding areas with aggressive criminal defense services for DUIs, domestic violence, and other criminal charges. Call us 24/7 at 425-883-3366, email us at info@paduladefense.com or fill out our free consultation form today.

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The Aftermath of a Domestic Violence Conviction

Posted Thursday, March 2, 2017 by Lizanne Padula.

alt textWhat Comes Next?

Many different crimes can be charged as domestic violence in Washington if they were committed by one family or household member against another. Crimes charged as acts of Domestic violence can carry harsher penalties than other crimes. If you are facing charges for a crime involving domestic violence, you are probably apprehensive about what penalties you will face if you are convicted and rightfully so. But knowing what happens in the aftermath of a domestic violence conviction can give you an idea of what is at stake, and that can help you make the best decisions regarding your case.

You can be charged with domestic violence for many standard crimes such as assault, malicious mischief, and trespassing if the victim was a family or household member. Not all of the penalties for these crimes increase if perpetrated against a family or household member, but an additional fine will be involved. All those convicted of a crime involving domestic violence will be ordered to pay a fine of up to $115. And, under federal law, even those convicted of misdemeanor crimes involving domestic violence are prohibited from possessing firearms. The Court will retain jurisdiction over you for 5 instead of 2 years and you cannot expunge a domestic violence crime off your record. There may also be other penalties like removal from your home, loss of child custody or visitation and loss or employment opportunities.

The judge will also, most likely, issue a no-contact order against you. The consequences of violating this protective order are severe. If you violate a protective order, you can be arrested without a warrant and will face a gross misdemeanor charge, punishable by up to 364 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $5,000. If an assault occurs during the violation of this order or if there have been multiple violations of the order, you could be facing a felony charge. Unfortunately, it is relatively easy to violate a protective order because the order will contain numerous restrictions and restraints that you must adhere to, regardless of the actions of the victim.

With so much at stake, you should never face domestic violence allegations alone. If you are facing these kind of domestic violence charges, speak with an experienced Washington criminal defense attorney. In the aftermath of any crime involving domestic violence, you will face fines, imprisonment and be subject to a protective order. A criminal defense attorney with experience handling domestic violence cases can help you make a wise decision about how to proceed and help you prepare a defense to your domestic violence charges.

If you have been recently arrested or are facing charges, the skilled attorneys at Padula & Associates, LLC understand how stressful your situation can be and can help you fight allegations of domestic violence. Our attorneys are experienced in DUI and criminal defense and can help you face your charges with confidence. For 10 years Padula & Associates has been serving those in King County, Snohomish County, and surrounding areas with aggressive criminal defense services for DUIs, domestic violence, and other criminal charges. Call us 24/7 at 425-883-3366, email us at info@paduladefense.com or fill out our free consultation form today.

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