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The Washington Criminal Law Blog

Just Arrested? What You Need to Know Right Now

Posted Wednesday, March 21, 2018 by Lizanne Padula.

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If you have been arrested or you are about to be contacted by law enforcement as the subject of an investigation, the most important thing you need to know right now is:

You have the right to remain silent.

Anytime you are being questioned by the police, you have the right to remain silent. Understand that law enforcement will use any trick they can to obtain evidence against you. Do not make their job easier by giving them information that may bolster the state’s case against you and/or weaken your defense.

Politely but firmly indicate your desire to remain silent and to contact an attorney. We answer our phones 24/7―call us anytime at 425-883-3366.

Another important thing you need to know right now:

You do not have to agree to a search.

There are situations where law enforcement may legally search you or your property without a search warrant; however, if a law enforcement officer asks permission to conduct a search, do not give your consent to search your person, your home, or your car. Make law enforcement obtain a warrant.

After an arrest, it is important that you:

Write out everything you can remember about your arrest.

As soon as possible after arrest, take the time to sit down and write out everything you can remember about the arrest and investigation. If you recall more details later, go back and add them to your account.

Here’s the deal: criminal cases are often won or lost on details. For example, the right detail about the events leading up to an arrest may be crucial to the case, may even lead to the case being dismissed. We want every detail you can recall, even if it seems trivial to you – it may very well be the fact that gets your criminal charges dropped.

Hire An Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

The success of your criminal defense in large part hinges on how you deal with the investigation in the aftermath of being arrested and how you prepare to fight the prosecution. A smart, well-planned defense aimed at dismantling the Prosecution’s case against you is critical to obtaining the best possible outcome in your case.

If you have been arrested for DUI, Domestic Violence, or any other crime in the Seattle Washington area, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to advocate for your rights and help you avoid harsh penalties.

Just arrested for DUI? Start Here…

Just arrested for Domestic Violence? Start Here…

Just arrested for another Misdemeanor or Felony? Start Here…

If you’ve been arrested and are facing criminal charges, the fierce criminal defense attorneys of Padula & Associates, LLC are ready to defend you against aggressive prosecution.

When people contact us, often they are scared. They have just been arrested or they have been notified of criminal charges filed against them. Most of our clients are going through something they have never gone through before. They need a guide, they need us to be available when we are needed. That’s why we answer our phone 24/7.

Call us 24/7 at 425-883-3366 or contact us here to schedule a free case consultation today.

We invite you to read about our demonstrated results here, and learn more about founding attorney, Lizanne Padula here.

Padula & Associates, LLC handles State and Federal criminal cases throughout Washington State, including King, Snohomish, Pierce, and Lewis Counties. Our firm’s experience is extensive and our success is frequent.

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Deferred Prosecution for Washington State DUI Charges

Posted Monday, March 19, 2018 by Lizanne Padula.

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Deferred prosecution is an agreement with the court that can allow a defendant to avoid a Washington DUI conviction upon completing the program’s strict requirements. Upon successful completion of the program the legal charges for DUI will be dismissed.

This is only an option for people who believe that alcoholism, drug addiction, or a mental health problem caused the behavior that led to the DUI arrest. Under the law, a person seeking deferred prosecution “shall allege under oath in the petition that the wrongful conduct charged is the result of or caused by substance use disorders or mental problems for which the person is in need of treatment and unless treated the probability of future recurrence is great, along with a statement that the person agrees to pay the cost of a diagnosis and treatment of the alleged problem or problems if financially able to do so.” RCW 10.05.020.

Deferred Prosecution for Washington State DUI Charges

Deferred prosecution requires strict compliance with a number of conditions and five years of probation. The Conditions of Granting deferred prosecution include the following:

• The court shall order that the petitioner shall not operate a motor vehicle upon the public highways without a valid operator’s license and proof of liability insurance. The amount of liability insurance shall be established by the court at not less than that established by RCW 46.29.490 (“Motor vehicle liability policy” defined).

• As a condition of granting a deferred prosecution petition on any alcohol-dependency based case, the court shall order the installation of an ignition interlock devise under RCW46.20.720.

• The court may order the petitioner to make restitution and to pay costs as defined in RCW 10.01.160.

• The court may terminate the deferred prosecution program upon violation of the deferred prosecution order. RCW 10.05.140.

Depending on the facts of your case, there may be more conditions you must meet for the court to grant a deferred prosecution petition. For example, “the court may order reasonable conditions during the period of the deferred prosecution including, but not limited to, attendance at self-help recovery support groups for alcoholism or drugs, complete abstinence from alcohol and all nonprescribed mind-altering drugs, periodic urinalysis or breath analysis, and maintaining law-abiding behavior.” RCW 10.05.140.

Deferred prosecution in Washington State is only available once in a person’s lifetime. By law it cannot be offered a second time. Further, if you fail to successfully complete the terms of the treatment program, you will face the original DUI charges.

Deferred prosecution is a lengthy program that is expensive and time consuming, but for the right person it can be an opportunity to get needed help and avoid a criminal conviction.

The skilled attorneys at Padula & Associates, LLC can help you through the legal process of seeking deferred prosecution. We invite you to meet with us for a free consultation to explore how we can help you. Call us at 425-883-3366 of fill out this simple web form.

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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What Are My Rights During a Police Encounter?

Posted Thursday, March 15, 2018 by Lizanne Padula.

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Know your rights.

Exercise your rights.

Encounters with the police are never easy. Even if you’ve done nothing wrong, it can be a frightening experience. The following are your rights during a police encounter.

If you run into problems with the police you’re welcome to call our law office 24/7 at 425-883-3366.

You have the right to say “no” to search requests.

In general, you have the right to refuse a search of your property or vehicle in the absence of a valid search warrant. However, if law enforcement officers have a search warrant, you must submit to the search.

The only reason an officer would asks your permission to execute a search is because she doesn’t have enough evidence to search without your consent. If a police officer asks your permission to search you, your vehicle, or your property, we encourage you to say no. Be polite and say something like, “Officer, I do not consent to any search of my private property.”

You have the right to remain silent.

You always have the right to remain silent. It is your right whether or not the police read you your Miranda rights. If you volunteer statements to the police, what you say can and will be used against you. The most advisable course of action is to stop talking and get yourself a lawyer.

The police may tell you that your cooperation will make things easier for you. You may hope to ’get off easy’ if you are honest with the police. This is rarely, if ever, the case. Your cooperation makes the officer’s job easier, it will not make things easier for you. In fact, if you admit guilt or give other incriminating statements, it could harm your ability to defend against criminal charges. Never give a statement or answer police questions without an attorney present.

You have the right to an attorney.

You always have the right to an attorney during any police interrogation (questioning) and during any legal proceeding. Exercise this right.

Once you ask for an attorney the police are no longer supposed to interrogate you until your attorney is present. This effectively stops the interrogation for a time and ensures that if/when you do answers questions, your attorney will be there to protect your rights and ensure you do not offer statements that will bolster a criminal case against you.

Unless you are “detained” or “under arrest,” you have the right to leave.

You have the right to terminate an encounter with the police unless you are being detained or placed under arrest.

The police have no duty to tell you that you are free to go, so you need to ask directly. If you are being questioned by police we encourage you to ask the officer: “Am I free to go?” If the officer says “yes,” then politely tell the officer to have a nice day and leave immediately.

Hire Padula & Associates, LLC to Defend You

When you hire our firm we will evaluate the facts of your case and guide you on the best course of action. 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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Police Search of Rental Car - Does It Matter If The Driver Is On the Car Rental Agreement? SCOTUS To Hear Case

Posted Tuesday, March 13, 2018 by Lizanne Padula.

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This term the Supreme Court of the United States is hearing a case, Byrd v. United States, that asks if the Fourth Amendment protections against unlawful search extend to the driver of a rental car who is not listed on the rental agreement.

It isn’t uncommon that extra charges are added to the cost of renting a car when you add additional authorized drivers to the rental car agreement. In Byrd, Terrence Byrd was pulled over while driving a rental car, of which he was not listed as an authorized driver on the contract, and the police subsequently searched the vehicle and found flat jacket body armor and 49 bricks of heroine. Byrd was indicted in federal court on charges for possession of heroin with intent to distribute and possession of body armor after a felony conviction for a violent crime. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Latasha Reed, Byrd’s former girlfriend, rented the car in New Jersey and signed a rental agreement that indicated that additional drivers were only permitted “with prior written consent.” Reed let Byrd drive the car on a solo trip from New Jersey to Pittsburgh. He was then pulled over on Interstate 81 in Pennsylvania. Two state troopers gave Byrd a warning for driving in the left lane, then proceeded to search the rental car. That is when the troopers found the contraband that led to Byrd’s conviction.

The state troopers reasoned they did not need Byrd’s consent to search the vehicle since he was not listed as an authorized driver on the rental agreement, and therefore had no expectation of privacy. Byrd argues that the evidence cannot be used against him because it was illegally obtained in violation of his Fourth Amendment right against warrantless search of a place in which one has a reasonable expectation of privacy. He argues that his reasonable expectation of privacy in the rental car’s trunk does not hinge on whether he owned the car, but on whether he had possession and control over the car.

The district court rejected Byrd’s arguments and agreed with the government that Byrd could not have had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the rental car because he was not on the rental car agreement. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit upheld the district court’s findings and upheld Byrd’s conviction.

This issue is now in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court, which is expected to hand down its ruling in the late spring or early summer.

Supporters of both sides have cautioned the Court on the gravity of the potential ripple effects that may be caused by this decision. For example, the ACLU argues that a ruling in favor of the government would disproportionately impact lower-income drivers and minorities because lower-income people depend on rental cars for everyday travel when they cannot afford their own vehicles and minorities are more likely to rent cars and be pulled over and searched while driving.

Padula & Associates, LLC is a criminal defense law firm in Seattle, WA. We will zealously defend you against any criminal charges filed against you in King County or Snohomish County. Call us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 425-883-3366 or fill out this simple web form to schedule a free consultation.

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Pre-Trial Strategies, Criminal Defense

Posted Friday, March 9, 2018 by Lizanne Padula.

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The vast majority of criminal cases are resolved before trial. However, every case must be treated from the outset as a case that will go to trial. The pre-trial strategies employed by your criminal defense attorney are critical components to a solid legal defense. The right pre-trial strategies may help you get the criminal charges dropped completely. Or, may weaken the state’s case against you, which ultimately will aid you in striking a favorable plea bargain with the prosecutor.

Pre-Trial Strategies, Criminal Defense

Every case is fact-specific and the pre-trial and trial strategies that are best to defend you will be tailored to your case. While there is no single way to best defend against criminal charges, there are a few tenets of criminal defense that lend themselves to effective pre-trial strategies.

Investigation

An early and thorough investigation into the criminal charges against you should be conducted. It is critical to gather evidence and question witnesses as soon as possible after an arrest. As time passes, it becomes more difficult to track down evidence and witness may not remember as well as time goes on. Further, it is critical to discover what evidence the government has against you. During the pre-trial stage of discovery each side must provide the opposing side with the evidence it plans to produce at trial. This provides you the opportunity to pinpoint weaknesses in the prosecution’s case.

Fight to Have Charges Dismissed or Negotiate a Plea Agreement

Diligent preparation for trial leads to a higher probability of securing a dismissal or a favorable plea deal. At any point prior to a jury delivering a verdict after trial you have the opportunity to fight to have the charges dismissed or negotiate a favorable plea agreement with the prosecutor.

Pre-Trial Motions

Filing pre-trial motions with the court is part of any effective criminal defense. A motion asks the Court to do something for you. For example, a pre-trial motion may ask the Court to suppress a piece of the prosecution’s evidence because it was illegally obtained or is unduly prejudicial. Or, a pre-trial motion may ask the Court to dismiss the indictment or grant you the power to discover evidence from the state and other parties.

A strategic and aggressive approach to pre-trial motions can aid in negotiating a favorable plea agreement with the prosecutor. It also sets the stage for an effective trial strategy in the event that going to trial becomes necessary.

The foregoing pre-trial strategies are merely a broad overview of the strategies that make a strong defense against criminal charges. Remember that ever criminal case is unique and the best defense strategies will be tailored to the specific facts of the state’s case against you.

Defending Against Criminal Charges in Washington State

Mounting a strong defense early-on helps to ensure the best outcome in your criminal case. Getting an attorney involved as soon as possible increases your odds of avoiding a conviction. 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.

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’s previous 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, Snohomish, Pierce, and Lewis Counties.

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