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The Washington Criminal Law Blog

Underage DUI in Washington State - What You Need to Know

Posted Monday, January 29, 2018 by Lizanne Padula.

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Charges for underage drinking and driving are serious in Washington State. Underage DUI’s involve breaking two rules―the consumption of alcohol under the legal drinking age of twenty-one and driving while intoxicated.

Under Washington law, a person is guilty of driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor if the person has, within two hours after driving, an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher, or a THC concentration of 5.00 or higher. RCW 46.61.502.

However, the legal limits for alcohol and marijuana concentration are significantly lower for underage drivers. In Washington State, the Driver under twenty-one consuming alcohol or marijuana statute makes it illegal for an underage driver to have an alcohol concentration of at or above 0.02 (but still below the 0.08 legal limit of Washington’s DUI statute) or a THC concentration above 0.00 (but still below the 5.00 legal limit of Washington’s DUI statute). RCW 46.41.503. This is sometimes referred to as a “minor DUI.”

A violation of the Driving under twenty-one consuming alcohol or marijuana statute is a misdemeanor. RCW 46.41.503(5). Conviction of a minor DUI is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine, though it carries no mandatory jail time, fines, or ignition interlock device requirement.

However, an arrest for a minor DUI may trigger an administrative license suspension by the Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL). This license suspension can happen even in the absence of a criminal conviction. You must request a hearing with the DOL to contest the suspension within 20 days of the date you were arrested. 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 at least 90 days.

The Driver under twenty-one consuming alcohol or marijuana (“minor DUI”) statute RCW 46.41.503 generally applies only to cases where the evidence shows a blood alcohol concentration of 0.02 to 0.79 or a THC concentration above 0.00 up to 4.99. Otherwise it is likely that charges will be brought under Washington’s DUI law, which carries harsher punishment including mandatory minimum sentencing.

Defending Against Underage DUI Charges

If you have been arrested for underage DUI in Washington State, it is critical that you have an attorney represent you at every stage of the criminal process - from arraignment, to plea negotiations, and through trial if it comes to that. An experienced DUI defense attorney is your best chance at getting the most favorable outcome possible in your case.

The skilled attorneys at Padula & Associates, LLC will provide you with tenacious defense in court to combat serious DUI charges. Our attorneys have built our reputation on defense of charges for DUI. We have successfully litigated DUI charges to not guilty verdicts and obtained reduction in charges to lesser crimes, such as Reckless Driving or Reckless Endangerment. Our experience is extensive and our success is frequent.

We invite you to 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. Ms. Padula was appointed to serve as a Judge Pro-Tem in Snohomish County in May of 2017. She also serves as the Board President for Citizens for Judicial Excellence (CJE), teaches Ethics as part of the Continuing Legal Education credits (CLEs) offered by CJE, and teaches CLEs for the Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (WACDL).

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. Padula & Associates, LLC will fiercely advocate on your behalf.

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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Driving While Under the Influence of Marijuana, Washington State

Posted Friday, January 26, 2018 by Lizanne Padula.

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Driving Under the Influence (DUI) laws in Washington State prohibits driving while under the influence of marijuana, as well as alcohol and any other drugs that impair one’s ability to drive.

Driving While Under the Influence of Marijuana, Washington State

In Washington State:

“(1) A person is guilty of driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, marijuana, or any drug if the person drives a vehicle within this state:

(b) The person has, within two hours after driving, a THC concentration of 5.00 or higher as shown by analysis of the person’s blood made under RCW 46.62.506[.]” (RCW 46.61.502).

Determining THC blood concentration must adhere to RCW 46.62.506, which spells out how such evidence must be collected and tests administered. The blood analysis of the person’s THC concentration shall be based upon nanograms per milliliter of whole blood. RCW 46.62.506(2)(b). Washington State law deems 5 ng/ml as an accurate threshold to imply impairment. Testing for the presence of marijuana in the blood is easy. However, the truth is that a blood test for assessing whether someone is acting under the influence of marijuana is controversial because the drug does not manifest itself as consistently in all users the way other substances, such as alcohol, does. If you are being charged with DUI with a THC concentration of 5 ng/ml or higher, an experienced DUI defense attorney can help you defend against the charges and the use of evidence against you.

It is important to understand that Under Washington State’s law against DUI a person may be found guilty of DUI without necessarily being found to have a blood alcohol concentration or THC concentration above the legal limits of the code. This means that even if evidence of a THC concentration above the legal limit is found inadmissible, the prosecutor may still be able to secure a conviction for DUI.

While it may be more difficult for a prosecutor to secure a conviction for DUI without proof of intoxication above the legal limit, it is not impossible. If you’ve been arrested for DUI, it is critical that you hire an experienced DUI defense attorney. The consequences for DUI conviction are steep―you need to mount a strong defense from the start.

Defending Against DUI Charges

Between the minimum penalties and the long-term consequences of having a DUI on your record, you need to hire a fierce advocate to defend you against the state’s accusations. There are a number of ways to successfully defend against DUI charges, including the possibility of getting the charges dropped completely or reduced to lesser charges.

Most of the DUI cases we handle at Padula & Associates, LLC are reduced to lesser charges or dismissed entirely. Hiring our experienced DUI defense attorneys can help you get the best possible outcome in your case.

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.

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.

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Nobody Better for DUI Related Crimes - King, Pierce, Lewis, and Snohomish Counties

Posted Thursday, January 25, 2018 by Lizanne Padula.

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We have built our reputation on defending against charges for DUI in Washington State. For over 15 years we have successfully litigated DUI charges to not guilty verdicts and obtained reduction in charges to lesser crimes, such as Reckless Driving or Reckless Endangerment.

Padula & Associates, LLC proudly serves the people of King, Pierce, Lewis, and Snohomish Counties. We handle State and Federal criminal cases throughout Washington State. Our firm’s experience is extensive and our success is frequent.

Defense for DUI Related Crimes

• Our skilled attorneys will help you fight the charges that have been filed against you.

• We answer the phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call us at 425-883-3366.

• We offer free consultations.

The attorneys of Padula & Associates, LLC have cultivated a strong statewide reputation in an unorthodox manner. Although there are exceptions, most of the DUI and criminal defense attorneys you will encounter have either not achieved the level of recognition as our attorneys. Or, if they have, they made their name by being part of a larger DUI firm.

Building A Reputation for Excellence

Founding attorney and managing partner, Lizanne Padula, moved to Seattle with no professional or personal contacts in the Seattle area, after serving for 5 years as a Deputy Prosecutor on the Olympic Peninsula. Lizanne, without the assistance of an established firm or a mentoring attorney, started the process of building her own criminal defense reputation. She got started by “ghost-writing” pleadings for other attorneys. As she became more well known, other attorneys referred her the difficult and complicated cases that were intimidating and overwhelming. Lizanne not only took these cases―she won them!

Gradually Lizanne began to receive attention and industry recognition for her successes. Her unorthodox style and fearless litigation garnered attention and facilitated the growth of her reputation. She is widely viewed as one of the best DUI and criminal defense attorneys in the State.

Lizanne has successfully argued before the Washington State Supreme Court and Court of Appeals. In May of 2017, Lizanne was appointed to serve as a Judge Pro-Tem in Snohomish County. She has presented Continuing Legal Education (CLE) seminars for fellow attorneys all over the State. She serves as the Board President for Citizens for Judicial Excellence (CJE), teaches Ethics as part of the Continuing Legal Education credits (CLEs) offered by CJE, and teaches CLEs for the Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (WACDL). She has received numerous awards including “Rising Star” and “Super Lawyer.” Lizanne is a tireless negotiator and a tenacious litigator.

Strong Defense & Zealous Advocacy

We are dedicated to providing our clients with a zealous defense. Padula & Associates is a boutique firm. Our clients are never just a number. We ensure the people we defend have direct access to their attorney and are kept up-to-date on their case status.

We will take your case out of the “box” and bring forward an aggressive and unique defense. When we represent you, we will stand by your side no matter how difficult the situation and we’ll find a way to get you through the ordeal you’re going through.

Learn more about how we defend our clients in our articles:

Padula & Associates Seattle-Bellevue DUI Client Walk, No Legal Consequences

Getting DUI Charges Reduced to Lesser Charges

Our Commitments To Our Clients

Hire a Former Prosecutor to Defend You Against An Aggressive Prosecutor

When you hire our firm you will have a former prosecutor on your side. Lizanne served as the Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Franklin, Clallam, and Jefferson counties, acquiring extensive experience as a criminal trial attorney. Her 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’re now facing.

Call us now 425-883-3366 to schedule a free consultation. We will provide you with tenacious defense in court to combat serious DUI charges.

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How Social Media Can Harm Your Criminal Defense

Posted Tuesday, January 23, 2018 by Lizanne Padula.

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Prosecutors since the MySpace days have been attempting to use evidence obtained from social media in criminal cases. Currently it is not uncommon for state agencies, criminal investigators, law enforcement officers, and prosecutors to turn to Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube as a source of information to bolster criminal charges.

Everyone should be mindful of what they post to social media. Especially if you are being investigated for or have been charged with a crime, it is imperative that you refrain from posting anything on social media that could help the State make its case against you or harm your legal defense.

How Social Media Can Harm Your Criminal Defense

The following are examples of how social media can harm your criminal defense:

• A defendant posts photos of himself with illegal contraband such as drugs or banned firearms.

• A defendant posts about her reckless driving habits. The prosecutor cites the post as evidence demonstrating a history of reckless driving and argues that the defendant knew of the risk her behavior posed to others.

• A prosecutor uses the defendant’s social media posts during sentencing to refute the defendant’s remorse for his actions in an attempt to secure greater punishment from the Court.

While these are just a few examples, understand that time and time again courts have ruled in favor of the admissibility of evidence collected from social media sites.

Challenging the Admissibility of Social Media Evidence

Do not mistakenly believe that if your posts are set to “private” or set to be seen by only your “friends,” that they are protected from the reach of the government. Even if the government does not get a search warrant to view your social media pages, it may have other ways to access your social media posts. For example, if one of your social media “friends” becomes a witness against you for the State, then the prosecutor will be able to gain access to everything you’ve posted, including photos.

Certainly your criminal defense attorney can argue against the admissibility of evidence gathered from social media sites. There are a number of legal arguments to be made against the admissibility of social media evidence gathered without a valid search warrant, such as the evidence is unduly prejudicial, it reveals evidence of prior criminal convictions, it is impermissible character evidence, or it is excluded hearsay.

Written social media evidence, including status updates and photo captions, may be inadmissible based on the hearsay exclusion. Such evidence is excluded hearsay when it is a statement made out of court that is offered in court to prove the truth of the matter asserted. Wash. R. Evid. 801. However, there are hearsay exceptions which may make some of your social media posts admissible, like if your status update brags about committing a crime, that is an admissible admission of a party-opponent. Wash. R. Evid. 803.

While your attorney can argue against the admissibility of social media evidence, understand that if the Court rules it admissible then your social media posts will be put in front of the jury. Alternatively, if your case does not go to trial, the damaging social media evidence can hinder your ability to negotiate a favorable plea bargain with the prosecutor.

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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Can I Go To Canada with a DUI?

Posted Monday, January 22, 2018 by Lizanne Padula.

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Given our proximity to Canada, our clients often ask us if a DUI conviction will prevent them from being able to enter Canada. In general, the answer is yes. However, there are ways to have your ability to legally enter into Canada reinstated.

Canada’s Immigration Law

Under Canada’s Immigration Law a person who has committed or been convicted of a crime may be “criminally inadmissible” and not be allowed entry into Canada. Convictions of minor and serious crimes can bar you from entry, such as:

• Manslaughter

• Assault

• Theft

• DUI offense

• Conviction for reduced charges from DUI, such as Reckless Driving or Negligent Driving

Under Canadian law a conviction for any offense that is indictable under the Criminal Code of Canada can prevent a person from being able to cross into Canada. However, if you were convicted of a crime prior to the age of 18, you may still be able to enter Canada. A Canadian Immigration Officer will make the determination if you are allowed entry into Canada when you apply for a Visa, an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), or when you arrive at a port of entry.

Reinstating Your Ability to Enter Canada

Depending on the crime, how long ago the conviction was, and if you have had issues with the law since, you may still be allowed entry into Canada if you:

• Applied for rehabilitation and were approved, or

• Convince an Immigration Officer that you meet the legal terms to be deemed rehabilitated, or

• Were granted a record suspension, or

• Have a temporary resident permit.

In the absence of one of the above, a criminal conviction for DUI or certain other crimes will preclude you from entry into Canada.

Deemed Rehabilitated

Under Canada’s Immigration Law a person may be deemed rehabilitated depending on the following factors:

• The crime committed,

• How serious the crime was and how much time has passed since you completed the sentence imposed for the crime,

• Whether you have committed one or more crimes, and

• If the crime would be punishable in Canada by a maximum of 10 years in prison.

In all cases you may be deemed rehabilitated if enough time has elapsed and the crime committed outside of Canada has a maximum prison term of less than 10 years if the crime had been committed in Canada.

Temporary Resident Permit

Even if otherwise precluded from entry, Canada may still issue a Temporary Resident Permit if you have a valid reason to travel to Canada or if it has been less than five years since the end of the criminal sentence. An Immigration Office or Boarder Services Officer will decide if the person’s need to enter or stay in Canada outweighs the health or safety risks to Canadian society.

Hire a Fierce Advocate to Help You Defend Against DUI Charges

When you hire the skilled DUI defense attorneys at Padula & Associates, LLC, we will fight to avoid conviction, prevent the interruption of your ability to legally enter Canada, and 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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