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3 DUI FAQ's - Seattle DUI Defense

Posted Thursday, February 8, 2018 by Lizanne Padula.

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When you are facing a DUI in Washington State a lot is at stake. We’ve been defending the rights of people accused of DUI for over 15 years. It is important for you to understand the criminal DUI process, what to expect, and what your rights are. Many of our clients asks the same questions, so we complied the top 3 DUI Frequently Asked Questions.

1. Will I go to jail if I am convicted of DUI?

Washington State has some of the most stringent DUI laws in the United States. Whether or not you will serve a jail or prison sentence depends heavily on the specific facts of your case and if you have prior convictions.

If you receive a criminal conviction in court and have no prior DUIs in the past 7 years, you could face the following penalties:

• Sentence of 1 day to 364 days in jail.

• Driver license suspension of 90 days (not including any administrative suspension of your license by the Washington State Department of Licensing).

• And/or fines ranging from $940 to $5,000.

• You may also be required to attend Alcohol/Drug Education, Victim Impact, or Treatment programs.

The above are the possible penalties for a first time DUI conviction in court. If you have prior convictions or other aggravating circumstances, the penalties will be harsher. You can view Washington State’s DUI penalty schedule here.

It is important to understand that sentencing laws are complex. Even when a statute lists a minimum sentence a defendant may actually serve less than that amount of time. Numerous factors can affect the punishment handed down in DUI cases. Discuss the possible punishment and penalties you may be facing with your DUI defense attorney.

2. Will I Lose my license if I am convicted of DUI?

The answer to this question is most likely yes.

First, your license can be suspended for 90 days to 2 years administratively. After an arrest for suspected DUI, the Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL) will suspend your license administratively, unless you request a hearing to contest the suspension within 20 days of the date you were arrested and the hearing examiner decides in your favor.

Second, if convicted of DUI your license will be suspended as part of your punishment. The suspension will begin 45 days after your conviction. If the DOL and the Court suspends your license, the term will most likely run concurrently (rather than being added together).

During a license suspension you may apply for an Ignition Interlock Driver’s License, which if granted allows you to drive during your license suspension under certain conditions. RCW 46.20.385. One of the conditions is to install an Ignition Interlock Device into any vehicle you will be driving.

3. Do I have to go through a criminal trial?

You will probably not have to go through a criminal trial, but it is a possibility.

The majority of criminal cases are resolved prior to trial. Often criminal charges are either dropped or resolved through negotiating a plea deal with the prosecutor. There are a number of legal strategies available to successfully get DUI charges dropped or reduced to lesser charges. In fact, most of the DUI cases we handle at Padula & Associates, LLC are reduced to lesser charges or dismissed entirely.

Consult With an Experienced Washington DUI Defense Attorney

The penalties and punishments for a DUI conviction in Washington State are steep. If you’re facing DUI charges or have questions about the penalties you may be facing, please contact us here or call (425)883-3366 for a free consultation.

Understand that every DUI case is different. Our experienced DUI 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. When you hire the skilled DUI defense attorneys at Padula & Associates, LLC, we will fight to prevent the interruption of your ability to drive.

Not every DUI can be beat, but we are able to eliminate or reduce most of them. Hiring an experienced DUI defense attorney can help you get the best possible outcome in your case.

Our attorneys have outstanding reputations. Lizanne Padula is a tireless negotiator and a tenacious litigator. Padula & Associates, LLC will fiercely advocate on your behalf. For more than 20 years we have proudly defended the rights of people in King County, Snohomish County, and Washington State.

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.

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Defending Against Violent Crime Charges

Posted Tuesday, February 6, 2018 by Lizanne Padula.

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If you are accused of committing a violent crime we urge you to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney well-versed in violent crime. The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program defines violent crimes as ” those offenses which involve force or threat of force.” The potential punishments for conviction of a violent crime are severe. Most often conviction carries a sentence for incarceration, fines, and probation upon release.

Violent Crime Charges in Washington State

Violent crimes typically involve an act where violence or threat of violence is the objective. Though, the violence inherent in the crime may be a means to an end rather than the objective. A violent crime may or may not include use of a weapon or threat of use.

In Washington State a number of crimes are considered violent offenses, including: assault, manslaughter, arson, kidnapping, robbery, extortion, drive-by shooting, vehicular assault, and vehicular homicide. RCW 9.94A.030(55).

Further, as a subcategory of violent offenses a number of crimes are considered “serious violent offenses,” including: Murder in the first degree, Murder in the second degree, Homicide by abuse, Manslaughter in the first degree, Assault in the first degree, Kidnapping in the first degree, Rape in the first degree, Assault of a child in the first degree, an attempt, criminal solicitation, or criminal conspiracy to commit one of these serious violent offenses (felonies), and any federal or out-of-state conviction for an offense that under the laws of this state would be a felony classified as a serious violent offense. RCW 9.94A.030(46).

The foregoing list is extensive, but not complete. There are other crimes that are considered violent offenses in the State of Washington.

If you are a suspect in an investigation or have been charged with any of the above crimes, or any other violent crime, it is critical that you hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to defend you.

Defending Against Violent Crime Charges

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. When you hire a criminal defense attorney right from the start, during an investigation or as soon as formal charges are filed, you’re ensuring you have an advocate by your side to protect your rights and your best interests from the beginning.

Your attorney will build a defense strategy to combat aggressive prosecution. An experienced attorney will be able to pinpoint weaknesses in the State’s case against you. Those weaknesses can be used to dismantle the prosecutor’s case, to help negotiate a favorable plea deal, perhaps for lesser criminal charges. A fierce criminal defense attorney may even be able to get the charges against you dropped entirely.

Properly defend yourself against violent crime charges from the beginning by hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney. We invite you to contact our fierce attorneys 24/7 at 425-883-3366 . At our firm we FIGHT until the last full measure, GUIDE you to a just resolution, and STAND with you when you feel confused or overwhelmed.

At Padula & Associates, LLC we are experienced in all aspects of criminal defense, and we will help you face your charges with confidence. We answer the phone 24-hours a day, seven days a week. We offer free consultations. Call us 24/7 at 425-883-3366, email us at info@paduladefense.com, or fill out our online free consultation form now.

We proudly serve the people of King County, Snohomish County, and throughout Washington State with aggressive criminal defense services.

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I've Been Charged with Domestic Violence - What Should I Do?

Posted Monday, February 5, 2018 by Lizanne Padula.

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Washington State has strict laws when it comes to alleged acts of Domestic Violence (DV). Allegation of DV crimes are taken seriously by law enforcement and prosecutors. In fact, Washington State law requires law enforcement to make an arrest if they have probable cause to believe an act of DV has occurred within the last 4 hours. If you’ve been charged with DV there are things that you should do and information you should have.

I’ve Been Charged with Domestic Violence - What Should I Do?

If you’ve been charged with an act of DV, we encourage you to do the following:

Exercise your right to remain silent. If you are being questioned by law enforcement regarding an alleged DV crime, it is usually in your best interest to remain silent. You do not have to answer questions posed to you by law enforcement. Be polite but firm in your desire to remain silent until you speak with your attorney.

Exercise your right to an attorney. You have the right to have an attorney present during questioning and during all stages of the legal process. It is usually advisable to wait and discuss your side of the story with your attorney and let her guide you on how to best convey your side of the story to law enforcement.

We urge you to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney. DV charges are serious and you need to mount a strong defense from the beginning. We offer free consultations and we answer our phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call us today at 425-883-3366.

Understand the charges against you. It is critical that you understand the charges against you. For the State to secure a criminal conviction it must prove each element of the crimes charged. When you understand the charges, you will be empowered to help in your defense. Your criminal defense attorney can help you understand the charges, the legal process, and explain what penalties you may be facing if convicted.

Be careful with what you share. Refrain from talking to people about the facts of your case. Speak only to your attorney - your communications are protected and private under attorney-client privilege.

Things to Know If You’re Facing Domestic Violence Charges

It is likely that a No Contact Order will be issued prohibiting the accused from contacting the alleged victim. When a No Contact Order is in place, contacting or attempting to contact the alleged victim will constitute a new criminal act which can come with harsh penalties.

Also, if you are convicted of DV, your right to possess a firearm will be lost. You will not be able to “expunge” such a conviction from your record.

The skilled attorneys at Padula & Associates, LLC know how important it is to defend your rights. Our attorneys are experienced in all aspects of Domestic Violence defense in Washington State. We know how to advocate for our clients and to pinpoint the weaknesses in the Prosecution’s case. 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.

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Can I Represent Myself in Court? Pro Se Defendants Disadvantaged in Criminal Cases

Posted Friday, February 2, 2018 by Lizanne Padula.

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Can I Represent Myself in Court?

Yes. You have the legal right to represent yourself in criminal (and civil) proceedings against you. A defendant who represents him or herself is referred to as Pro Se, which in Latin means “by itself.”

While you have the right to represent yourself, we urge you not to. The Sixth Amendment and Washington State statute ensures that every criminal defendant, regardless of ability to pay, has the right to counsel. If you truly cannot afford an attorney, the state will provide a public defender for you.

Pro Se Defendants Disadvantaged in Criminal Cases

Representing yourself against criminal charges will severely disadvantage you. Understand that even attorneys typically will not represent themselves in civil or criminal court, because they understand the value of having a dedicated advocate to defend their best interests.

Pro Se defendants are disadvantaged because they:

Run the risk of self-incrimination. Anything you say can and will be held against you. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help ensure that you do not say anything self-incriminating or give other information that will strengthen the state’s case against you.

May not understand the legal and court processes. The procedural process and courtroom proceedings are handled in specific ways, some by statute, some by local custom. Pro Se defendants often do not understand the proper procedures. While most judges will be patient to an extent, not understanding proper procedure can severely harm a pro se defendant’s ability to defend him or herself.

May not understand their options. An experienced criminal defense attorney will explain all of your options and help you weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each option. On the other hand, often Pro Se defendants do not understand their options. They may think their only option is to plead guilty or go to trial, and they may not understand when or how to negotiate a favorable plea deal with the prosecutor.

May not understand the intricacies of criminal law. Having an in-depth understanding of criminal law, the Rules of Evidence, the elements of each crime charged, and how to craft an effective legal strategy are all aspects to mounting a strong defense. If you do not understand the intricacies of criminal law, it is not advisable that you attempt to represent yourself against criminal charges filed against you.

A Criminal Defense Attorney Is Your Best Chance

Having an experienced and effective criminal defense attorney on your side is likely your best chance at getting the most favorable outcome in your case possible. Perhaps your attorney can get the charges against you dropped or reduced to lesser charges.

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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3 DUI Myths - Seattle DUI Defense

Posted Wednesday, January 31, 2018 by Lizanne Padula.

Recently we posted our article 3 DUI FAQ’s - Seattle DUI Defense which garnered significant traffic. As a follow up to that article we’ve decided to share 3 of the most common DUI Myths.

When you are facing a DUI in Washington State, a lot is at stake. After an arrest you’re likely reeling, wondering what is going to happen to you, your license, and what penalties and fines you will have to face. We have been helping people who were once in your shoes for over 15 years. We will defend your rights and help you make sense of the legal labyrinth of our criminal courts. Call us (425)883-3366 now for a free case consultation.

It is important for you to understand the criminal DUI process, what to expect, and what your rights are. Many people believe things about DUIs that are absolutely not true, so we are busting the top 3 DUI Myths.

Myth #1: If I blow over the legal limit I cannot defend myself against DUI charges.

This is absolutely not true. While a breathalyzer or blood alcohol test with results above the legal limit can be damaging, they are not the end of your defense. First, if the test was not administered according to Washington State law, or your rights were somehow violated during the test, or the test if faulty for some other reason, we can ask the court to suppress the evidence so that the prosecutor may not use it against you. Second, the prosecutor may have significant evidence that is harming to your defense, but we can still leverage weaknesses in the prosecution’s case to try to get a dismissal, or alternatively, get the charges reduced to lesser charges. In fact, most of the DUI cases we handle at Padula & Associates, LLC are reduced to lesser charges or dismissed entirely.

Myth #2: I must submit to field sobriety tests.

Field sobriety tests are voluntary. Washington State law does not require you to submit to field sobriety tests. If an officer asks you to exit your vehicle and complete a Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST), you have the right to politely refuse.

There are a few important things to know:

• A police officer may lead you to believe that you must take the SFSTs, but you are under no legal obligation to do so. Police officers are allowed to lie to you.

• In Washington State you are required to submit to a breath test or blood test following a lawful arrest.

Washington is an implied consent state, which means that when you were issued your driver license you agreed to submit to a breath test “for the purpose of determining the alcohol concentration” of your breath if the arresting officer has “reasonable grounds to believe the person had been driving or was in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug[.]” (RCW 46.20.308). If you refuse to submit to the breath test, the punishment is at a minimum license suspension for one year. (RCW 46.20.308(2)(a)).

Myth #3: DUI means driving under the influence of alcohol.

In the State of Washington a person can be found guilty of DUI while driving under the influence of “intoxicating liquor, marijuana, or any drug.” (RCW 46.61.502). It is not necessary for a person to be found to have a blood alcohol concentration over the legal limit of 0.08 or a THC concentration over the legal limit of 5.00 to be convicted for DUI. Certainly evidence of alcohol or THC concentration above the legal limit helps the prosecutor secure a conviction. However, showing that a person was driving (or in control of a vehicle) while “under the influence of or affected by” alcohol, marijuana, or any drug, or a combination of drugs, is sufficient to demonstrate a person is guilty of DUI under Washington State law. (RCW 46.61.502).

Consult With an Experienced Washington DUI Defense Attorney

The penalties and punishments for a DUI conviction in Washington State are steep. If you’re facing DUI charges or have questions about the penalties you may be facing, please contact us here or call (425)883-3366 for a free consultation.

Understand that every DUI case is different. Our experienced DUI 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. When you hire the skilled DUI defense attorneys at Padula & Associates, LLC, we will fight to prevent the interruption of your ability to drive.

Not every DUI can be beat, but we are able to eliminate or reduce most of them. Hiring an experienced DUI defense attorney can help you get the best possible outcome in your case.

Our attorneys have outstanding reputations. Lizanne Padula is a tireless negotiator and a tenacious litigator. Padula & Associates, LLC will fiercely advocate on your behalf. For more than 20 years we have proudly defended the rights of people in King County, Snohomish County, and Washington State.

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.

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