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The Washington Criminal Law Blog

Fraud Charges - What You Need To Know

Posted Friday, July 14, 2017 by Lizanne Padula.

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Fraud is an intentional misrepresentation of material fact made with the purpose of inducing another person to act, and results in damages. Fraud encompasses many crimes, all of which involve making a misrepresentation with the intent to defraud.

Criminal fraud and its associated penalties in Washington State are defined by the state legislature. The Revised Code of Washington’s Fraud Statute (RCW 9A.60) addresses: forgery, obtaining a signature by deception or duress, criminal impersonation in the first and second degree, false certification, fraudulent creation or revocation of a mental health advance directive, and false academic credential. Fraud crimes are charged as either misdemeanors or felonies.

Understand the Nature of the Charges Against You & Available Defenses

When it comes to criminal fraud charges, there are a number of elements the Prosecution must prove to secure a conviction against you. For example, one element of fraud is the intent to defraud, which speaks to your state of mind and may be difficult to prove. An experienced fraud defense attorney can help you understand the nature of the fraud charges against you and utilize all available defenses in your case. Every case is unique. The facts of your case may give rise to an entrapment defense, or may demonstrate that you had no knowledge of the misrepresentation or no intent to defraud.

You Have the Right to Remain Silent

Because your mental state is important to the investigation, you should not make any statements to law enforcement that may document your knowledge or intentions. In fraud cases, your knowledge of the misrepresentation or your intention can be critical to law enforcement’s investigation. Exercise your right to remain silent until you consult with an attorney. Do not make statements that will serve to bolster the Prosecution’s case and harm your defense.

You Have the Right to an Attorney

You have a right to have an attorney present during all stages of criminal proceedings, including during interrogation by law enforcement. Having your attorney present during questioning helps ensure that your rights are protected and that you do not say anything that will inadvertently harm your case.

If you have been arrested for a crime involving fraud, the skilled attorneys at Padula & Associates, LLC understand how stressful your situation can be and can help you fight the allegations. Our attorneys are experienced in all aspects of criminal defense, and they 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 criminal defense services.

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.

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Felony Assault in Washington State

Posted Wednesday, July 12, 2017 by Lizanne Padula.

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An assault is any intentional touching done without lawful authority or consent. Touching includes all forms of contact, including striking, cutting, or shooting. Damage (injury) is not a necessary element of assault. A person can be guilty of assault without causing injury to the person her or she assaulted. For example, depending on the situation and surrounding events, the simple act of placing your finger in another person’s body could constitute assault.

Felony Assault in Washington State

Washington State law defines the different types of assault in RCW 9A.36. Depending on the offense, assault can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony crime. There are 4 levels of assault:

Assault in the first degree is the most serious offense, and is a Class A felony.

Assault in the second degree is a Class B felony.

Assault in the third degree is a Class C felony.

Assault in the fourth degree is not classified as a felony, it is a gross misdemeanor. This is the most common type of assault charged.

The level of assault that will be charged depends on how the assault was carried out, who was assaulted, and what injury or damages resulted from the assault. Let’s explore Assault in the first degree and third degree in-depth. For more information on the other types of assault, including reckless endangerment or assault of a child, contact us for a free consultation and case review.

Felony Assault in the First Degree

Assault in the first degree requires that the person acted with “intent to inflict great bodily harm,” and used a firearm or any deadly weapon, exposes or transmits poisons, the HIV virus, or any other noxious substance, or the assault actual inflict great bodily harm. Great bodily harm means bodily injury which creates a probability of death, or which cause significant serious permanent disfigurement. As a Class A felony, assault in the first degree is punishable by life in prison, and/or fines of up to $50,000.

Felony Assault in the Third Degree

Assault in the third degree, on the other hand, primarily focuses on assault that causes “bodily harm” (not great bodily harm). Bodily harm means physical pain or injury, illness, or an impairment of physical condition. The RCW section for third degree assault criminalizes assault against specific enumerated occupations. For example, per section (b) it is assault in the third degree to assault (without any injury) a transit worker, school bus driver, firefighter, law enforcement officer or healthcare worker if they are performing their duties at the time of the assault. Assault in the third degree can also be charged when bodily harm has been caused by criminal negligence with the use of a weapon, or by criminal negligence that is accompanied by substantial pain that extends for a sufficient period of time to cause considerable suffering. As a Class C felony, assault in the third degree is punishable by up to 5 years in prison, and fines up to $10,000.

If you are facing assault charges we urge you to seek the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. The attorneys of Padula & Associates, LLC have handled hundreds of assault cases, both simple and complex. As your fierce advocates, we will mount an aggressive defense in your case 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 assault allegations with confidence. For over 20 years, Padula & Associates, LLC has been serving the folks in King County, Snohomish County, and Washington State with aggressive and effective criminal defense.

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.

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Alcohol Evaluation After DUI in Washington State

Posted Monday, July 10, 2017 by Lizanne Padula.

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If you are convicted of a DUI in Washington State, it is mandatory that you undergo an Alcohol Evaluation. If the DUI charges are reduced to lesser charges, such as Reckless Driving or Reckless Endangerment, the court may, at its discretion, order an Alcohol Evaluation as a condition of sentencing.

What You Need to Know About the Alcohol Evaluation

The Alcohol Evaluation must be done by an alcoholism agency, or a qualified probation department , approved by the department of social and health services. The cost of evaluation depends on the provider and typically ranges anywhere from $150.00 to $300.00. After the Alcohol Evaluation, a treatment recommendation is prepared and a copy is forwarded to the court. The treatment recommendation can range from:

• A mandatory 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. The cost ranges from $50.00 to $150.00.

• A requirement to complete 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. This is often the case for people who are using alcohol to self-medicate a psychological issue. The cost of this program can be several hundred dollars.

• A requirement to complete 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. The length is typically from 6 to 24 months and the costs can range from hundreds of dollars up to thousands of dollars.

The length and intensity of your treatment recommendation will depend on whether you are found to be chemically dependent on alcohol, suffering from alcohol abuse or potential for abuse, or if there’s insufficient evidence to show that you have a problem with alcohol.

If you’re facing DUI charges, it may benefit you to voluntarily go to an Alcohol Evaluation even before the court orders it. This way you’ll know what the treatment recommendation will be and it gives you the opportunity to begin following the treatment plan. This shows the court and the Prosecutor that you are being proactive in handling your criminal case.

It is in your best interest to consult with an experienced Washington criminal defense attorney if you are facing DUI charges. The skilled attorneys at Padula & Associates, LLC understand how stressful your situation can be, and we can 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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Misdemeanor vs. Felony Criminal Cases, Washington State

Posted Thursday, July 6, 2017 by Lizanne Padula.

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The difference between being charged with a misdemeanor versus a felony is significant. Misdemeanors are considered less serious than felonies, and carry lighter penalties. The Revised Code of Washington (RCW 9A.20.010) classifies crimes as:

• Felonies. For purposes of sentencing, felonies are designated as Class A, Class B, or Class C, with Class A felonies being the most serious criminal offenses.

• Misdemeanors, or

• Gross Misdemeanors.

Misdemeanor Crimes

A misdemeanor is any crime punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000, or by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than ninety days, or by both a fine and jail time. Misdemeanor cases are heard in District and Municipal Courts.. Examples of a Misdemeanor include Disorderly Conduct, Minor DUI and Negligent Driving 1st degree.

Gross misdemeanors are more serious crimes than misdemeanors. Mandatory sentencing for a gross misdemeanor is either provided for in the RCW, or if no punishment is codified in any statue, the crime is punishable by not more than 364 days in a county jail, or by a fine not to exceed $5,000, or by both imprisonment and a fine. Examples of a Gross Misdemeanor include DUI, reckless driving, and driving with a suspended driver’s license.

Felony Crimes

Felonies are the most serious crimes, including rape, murder, and armed robbery. Class A felonies are punishable by prison sentences, including a life sentence, and fines of up to $50,000. Class B felonies are punishable by up to 10 years in prison, and fines of up to $20,000. Finally, Class C felonies carry penalties of up to 5 years in prison, and fines up to $10,000. Felony cases are heard in Superior Court.

Your life will be seriously impacted by any criminal conviction; however, the lifelong consequences of a felony conviction are far more serious. There is a high probability that a felony conviction will hinder your future employment opportunities, career advancement, and your ability to get a professional or vocational license. You can also lose your right to vote and to possess a firearm. If you have been charged with a crime, it is critical that you hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to protect your rights.

Padula & Associates, LLC are skilled criminal defense attorneys prepared to mount a strong defense against any State or Federal criminal charges you are facing. We will thoroughly investigate your case, advocate for your rights, and keep you informed and prepared every step of the way. To best serve our clients, we answer our phones 24/7. Call us at 425-883-3366, or contact us via the web or email info@paduladefense.com. The consultation is free.

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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New Law Makes 4th DUI in Washington State A Felony

Posted Monday, July 3, 2017 by Lizanne Padula.

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New laws on DUI’s have been signed into law in Washington State. Effective July 23, 2017 a fourth DUI conviction within 10 years will be charged as a felony. Under the new law, offenders will be sent to prison for 13 to 17 months (although this jail time can increase depending on your criminal history).

Up to this point, the existing law made the fifth DUI offense a felony, requiring four misdemeanor DUI convictions over the 10 years prior to the fifth conviction. The bill’s fiscal notes state that roughly 192 cases per year will be prosecuted as felony DUI cases rather than gross misdemeanors.

Other Laws Concerning DUI’s

Along with Senate Bill 5037, Governor Jay Inslee also signed into law House Bill 1614-S2.SL, which tightens rules associated with DUI arrests and related procedures. Also effective July 23, 2017, the new law:

• Imposes an express requirement that, to vacate a record of conviction for an impaired driving related prior offense, 10 years must have elapsed since the arrest for the prior offense.

• Requires a law enforcement officer to make a warrantless arrest and hold a person suspected of impaired driving in custody when the arresting officer knows that the person is charged with or awaiting arraignment on another offense related to impaired driving.

• Imposes an additional $50 fee upon conviction for certain impaired driving related offenses to fund grants for organizations that operate programs to reduce driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

• You can read the entire House Bill Report here.

The ratification of these new laws signals a crack down on DUI offenses in Washington State. Prosecutors may begin to more zealously pursue DUI charges. If you are facing DUI charges, you need to consult with a skilled Washington criminal defense attorney with DUI defense experience.

The skilled attorneys at Padula & Associates, LLC know how important it is to defend your rights. Our attorneys are experienced in all aspects of DUI defense. We know how to pinpoint the weaknesses in the Prosecution’s case and use them to get DUI charges dropped to lesser offenses or dismissed entirely. 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.

5: http://lawfilesext.leg.wa.gov/biennium/2017-18/Pdf/Bill Reports/House/1614-S2.E HBR PL 17.pdf

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