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The Washington Criminal Law Blog

Why You Should Exercise Your Right to Remain Silent

Posted Friday, September 1, 2017 by Lizanne Padula.

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You have the right to remain silent.

The Fifth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States grants us the right against self-incrimination. The Fifth Amendment states: “No person… shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself[.]” Our right to remain silent protects criminal defendants and suspects, and it extends to situations when being interrogated by law enforcement and when testifying in legal proceedings.

Are you being questioned by law enforcement?

If you are being questioned by law enforcement regarding a 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. You have the right to have an attorney present during questioning – exercise this right.

Reasons why you should exercise your right to remain silent.

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. Our Attorneys are available right now, 24/7. Call us at 425-883-3366 for advice on how to react to law enforcement.

Law enforcement officers are not trying to help you. Their job is to gather evidence against you. They may tell you that you should talk to them and tell them your side of the story. Do not believe this. If you are being investigated, law enforcement will use any trick they can to obtain evidence against you. Do not make their job easier.

Cooperating with law enforcement is unlikely to get you leniency or help you avoid arrest. Many people will cooperate with law enforcement in an effort to garner leniency or because they are afraid of being arrested and they mistakenly believe a police officer is more likely to let them go if they comply with all of the requests made of them. This is usually not true. We have spent more than 20 years aggressively defending against criminal charges, and in this time we have rarely seen someone get rewarded with leniency or a dismissal because they were candid with the police.

Anything you say will be used against you. You may inadvertently make an admission of guilt. Your words may be twisted against you. Answering questions without an attorney present is almost always a bad idea.

Politely but firmly indicate your desire to remain silent and to contact an attorney. Always be respectful because if you are not they will use it against you. Never be resistive, combative, or impolite.

How you deal with the investigation largely determines your options in fighting the criminal charges you are up against. Do not do anything that will help the prosecution. Exercise your right to remain silent and have an attorney present during questioning and all other criminal proceedings.

Seek the advice of a criminal defense attorney.

If you are facing criminal charges we urge you to seek the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. The attorneys of Padula & Associates, LLC are experienced in all aspects of criminal defense, and they will help you take on criminal allegations with confidence. We will be your fierce advocates, and we will mount an aggressive defense in your case and help you fight for a just resolution.

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.

We proudly serve the folks in King County, Snohomish County, and Washington State with aggressive and effective criminal defense.

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The Truth About Domestic Violence Advocates - Washington Criminal Law

Posted Wednesday, August 30, 2017 by Lizanne Padula.

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Prosecuting attorneys of alleged Domestic Violence (DV) cases often utilize a person with the title “Domestic Violence Advocate.” An alleged victim may be contacted by a DV Advocate. This person will hold themselves out as someone who will advocate for the alleged victim. In fact, DV Advocates are typically trained social workers and their purported job is to assist alleged DV victims while the DV case is moving through the criminal court system. However, a DV Advocate is an employee of the Prosecutor’s Office, shares office space with Prosecutors, and regularly work with and take orders from Prosecutors. By the very structure of their employment, they are influenced and controlled by Prosecutors. There is absolutely no way for a DV advocate to be completely independent and able to advocate for the alleged victim.

A DV Advocate will attempt to gather additional information about the incident that brought the individuals into the court system. They will seek information about the relationship between the alleged victim and the accused. Information they gather will be given to the Prosecuting Attorney to be used against the Defendant. DV Advocates are not advocating for the alleged victim’s rights, they are there to garner evidence to make the Prosecution’s job easier.

DV Advocates cannot give legal advice or answer legal questions because they are not licensed attorneys, and they cannot provide assistance in obtaining protection orders.

As an alleged victim, you have rights. Until ordered otherwise by a Court, you can refuse to talk to DV advocates, police, prosecutors, and defense attorneys. Only a Court Order can take away this right.

An alleged victim who wants an advocate who is required to put the alleged victim’s interests above all else, must hire his or her own attorney. Only an attorney hired by the alleged victim can be independent and able to advocate solely for the alleged victim.

If You Are A Victim of An Act of Domestic Violence

If you are a victim of an act of Domestic Violence and have called or are thinking of calling the police, please remember that once you make a statement and tell the police you are the victim of an assault or some other act of domestic violence, you lose all control over what happens to you, your family, and the person you are accusing.

You will not be able to change your mind later and get the charges dropped or dismissed. The concept of you being able to “press charges” or “drop charges” does not exist in Washington State. Further, you will have absolutely no control over what punishment is imposed upon the person accused. Once an arrest has been made and the case has been referred to the Prosecutor’s Office, they have all the power and you become just another witness.

If you truly need protection, we urge you to call the police and make a statement. However, if your goal is to gain some control over your situation, understand that calling the police will transfer complete control to them. Feel free to call us at 425-883-3366 if you need advice.

If You Are Accused of An Act of Domestic Violence

If you are about to be accused or are being accused of an act of DV, it is usually in your best interest to remain silent and ask for an attorney. You do not have to answer questions posed to you by law enforcement. Be polite but firm in your desire to remain silence until you have an attorney by your side.

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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License Suspension After DUI Arrest, Washington Department of Licensing

Posted Monday, August 28, 2017 by Lizanne Padula.

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If you have been arrested for a DUI you may be reeling from worries and confusion about what to do next. It may not feel like it right now, but you will survive this experience. We are here to make sure that you do. If you’re reading this, even after hours, call us – we will answer – (425) 883-3366.

Automatic License Suspension After DUI Arrest - Washington State

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.

You must request a hearing with the DOL within 20 days of your arrest. If you do not request a hearing within 20 days, or the hearing examiner does not rule in your favor, your license will be suspended for 90 days to 2 years. The length of this administrative suspension depends upon any prior offenses and the severity of the incident in question.

You should have been given a form explaining the above. However, even if you did not receive such a form, you will still be held to this deadline. If you miss this deadline, the administrative suspension from the DOL will go into effect 60 days after your arrest and you will have lost your ability to fight this action.

When you hire Padula & Associates, LLC to defend you against allegations of DUI, we will guide you through the DOL process and we will ensure your hearing request is submitted on time. It is imperative that you contact us as soon as possible after an arrest so we can request the necessary hearing within 20 days and ensure your rights are protected. Do not wait until you receive notice of your criminal charges. Your criminal case and this administrative DOL action are separate. Waiting for the criminal charges to be filed may hurt your ability to challenge the DOL action.

A DUI arrest does not immediately eliminate your ability to drive. Although after arrest your license may have a hole punched in it. You can still drive. However, you should have received a slip of paper from the Officer that you need to carry with your license in order for your license to be valid. Also, as noted above: you must request a hearing from the DOL within 20 days of your arrest or your license will be automatically suspended.

When you hire the skilled DUI defense attorneys at Padula & Associates, LLC, we will fight to prevent the interruption of your ability to drive. We understand how stressful your situation can be, and we will 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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Facing Criminal Charges? Hire Padula & Associates, LLC to Defend You

Posted Friday, July 28, 2017 by Lizanne Padula.

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If you are facing criminal charges, your life and freedom are on the line. Hiring the right attorney to defend you is critical. As Padula & Associates, LLC we understand what is at stake, and we will zealously defend you against any criminal charges filed against you.

I can’t thank you enough. You were a true warrior in the courtroom – you stood up for what you passionately believe in.” – Stephanie

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.

I feel so privileged to have had you in my corner - fighting so hard to get my freedom returned to me.” – Linda

Types of Criminal Cases We Defend

Below are some of the criminal charges we routinely defend. We are prepared to vigorously defend you against any State or Federal criminal charge. Contact us 425-883-3366 for a free consultation to discuss how we can help you.

• DUI Defense

• Misdemeanor and Felony Assaults

• Misdemeanor and Felony Theft

• Domestic Violence

• Harassment

• Defending Against a Petition for A No Contact Order

• Violating a No Contact Order

• Vehicular Assault or Vehicular Homicide

• Sex Crimes

• Gun Crimes and Other Weapons Related Charges

• Arson

• Burglary & Trespassing

• Fraud

• Any and All Misdemeanor or Felony Criminal Charges

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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Getting DUI Charges Reduced to Lesser Charges

Posted Wednesday, July 26, 2017 by Lizanne Padula.

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In Washington State there are mandatory minimum penalties for any DUI conviction, including a first time offense. The penalties are based on blood alcohol concentration, whether there was refusal to take a breath test, and other factors. You can review the State’s penalty schedule here.

Between the minimum penalties and the long-term consequences of having a DUI on your record, there is compelling reason to do everything possible to get DUI charges reduced to lesser charges. There are a number of ways to successfully get the charges reduced. In fact, most of the DUI cases we handle at Padula & Associates, LLC are reduced to lesser charges or dismissed entirely.

Understand that every case is different. An experienced DUI defense attorney will be able to evaluate the evidence against you and pinpoint the weaknesses in the Prosecution’s case that can be leveraged in negotiations. For example, it may be possible to weaken the case against you by showing evidentiary issues in the State’s case, such as a malfunctioning breathalyzer machine or other problems with how or when your blood alcohol concentration was tested. Or, it may be possible to demonstrate that the evidence is somehow tainted or inadmissible. If we can show police misconduct, a DUI checkpoint carried out unlawfully, an unlawful stop, or other violations of your rights, then the Prosecutor may be compelled to reduce the charges rather than risk losing at trial or having the case dismissed by the court.

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. Come meet with us for a free consultation to explore how we can help you. 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 of fill out this simple web form to schedule a free consultation with an experienced DUI defense attorney.

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