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The Washington Criminal Law Blog

Record Expungement for DUI

Posted Thursday, February 22, 2018 by Lizanne Padula.

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Having a criminal conviction on your record can affect you in numerous ways―from getting a job to traveling to Canada. In Washington State it is possible to get certain convictions vacated or expunged from your record. When a conviction is vacated or expunged it will no longer be included on your criminal history report.

No Record Expungement for DUI

Washington law does not allow expungement of convictions for Driving Under the Influence (RCW 46.61.502) or for Physical Control of Vehicle Under the Influence (RCW 46.61.504).

Regardless of how much time has passed since conviction, convictions for DUI or Physical Control cannot be vacated. (RCW 9.96.060(2)(c)).

However, a conviction for Driver Under Twenty-One Consuming Alcohol or Marijuana (considered a “Minor DUI”) may be expunged.

Record Expungement for Lesser Charges and DUI Related Charges

Washington law allows for expungement of certain misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor convictions. If you were charged with DUI but convicted or pleaded guilty to a lesser charge, you may be able to get that conviction vacated.

Under specific circumstances it is possible to expunge convictions for Negligent Driving in the First Degree, Reckless Driving, Reckless Endangerment, and for Operating certain other motor vehicles Under the Influence, like a boat, snowmobile, or non-highway vehicle.

Eligibility for Record Expungement

The court may in its discretion vacate the record of a conviction for qualifying misdemeanor and gross misdemeanor offenses so long as:

• There are no criminal charges pending against you in any court of Washington State, or another state, or in any federal court.

• You have not been convicted of a new crime in state or federal court since the date of sentencing for the crime you are asking the court to vacate.

• You have never had the record of another misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor conviction vacated.

• You do not currently have a restraining order against you, and you have not been restrained within the past five years by a domestic violence protection order, a no-contact order, an anti-harassment order, or a civil restraining order. (RCW 9.96.060).

After the Court Vacates a Record of Conviction

Once the court vacates your conviction you are “released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the offense.” The conviction will no longer be included in your criminal history. You would be lawfully able to state that you were not convicted of the expunged crime on employment or housing applications. (RCW 9.96.060(5)(a)).

The skilled attorneys at Padula & Associates, LLC can help you through the legal process of asking the court to vacate a previous conviction. We invite you to come 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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How We Defend Our Clients

Posted Wednesday, February 21, 2018 by Lizanne Padula.

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Hiring the right attorney to defend you is critical when you’re facing criminal charges. Your life and very freedom are on the line. At Padula & Associates, LLC we understand what is at stake, and we will zealously defend you against any criminal charges filed against you.

We defend our clients by:

• Being zealous advocates for our clients. We will fight for your freedom.

• Crafting a strong and effective legal defense strategy specially tailored for each client, for every case.

• Pinpointing weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case that can be leveraged in your defense. Lizanne Padula, Founding Partner, is a former Prosecutor. She knows the tactics the government uses, which greatly benefits her ability to build a strong defense against the criminal charges you’re facing.

• Being available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This is not just lip service - we really answer our phone at 2:00a.m. When you call us, you will get to speak to a licensed criminal defense attorney and you will be able to get immediate advice from an attorney.

• Working directly with our clients. A skilled criminal defense attorney will handle your case and be your point of contact. You will not be pushed off to a case manager, left to wonder what is going on in your case.

• We FIGHT until the last full measure, GUIDE you to a just resolution, and STAND with you when you feel confused or afraid.

When people contact us, often they are scared. They have just been arrested or they have been notified of criminal charges files 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.

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.

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

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

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

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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Prosecutorial Discretion and Criminal Charges

Posted Tuesday, February 20, 2018 by Lizanne Padula.

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Prosecutorial discretion is the power prosecutors have to decide what criminal charges to bring and how to pursue each case. Prosecutors get to decide whether to file charges, what crimes to charge, who to charge, and how to resolve the case.

Prosecutorial Discretion and Criminal Charges

The discretion Washington State prosecutors and federal prosecutors are given is vast. Resources are limited to investigate and prosecute alleged crimes, so prosecutors choose which cases they believe are worth pursuing.

Prosecutors choose whether or not to bring criminal charges. If there is ample evidence in a case, a prosecutor is more likely to bring charges. If however the evidence is flimsy or somehow tainted, a prosecutor is less likely to bring criminal charges.

If formal criminal charges are not filed against you right after arrest, do not mistakenly believe that charges will never be filed. After an arrest, some jurisdictions file criminal charges quickly, while other jurisdictions wait to file formal charges. Many counties (especially King County) take months to file charges.

Prosecutors choose how they want to resolve the case. The prosecutor in a case gets to decide whether to plea bargain or go to trial. A prosecutor negotiating a plea deal generally has the power to agree to reduce the charges, agree to less harsh sentencing, and negotiate other terms of the plea deal.

Prosecutors make sentence recommendations to the court. In the event of a conviction, the prosecutor will then make a sentence recommendation to the court, which can potentially sway the court toward a harsher sentence.

Prosecutors, not victims, can file criminal charges. An alleged victim can report a crime to the police, which may prompt an investigation and submission of a written report to the prosecuting attorney’s office. This does not necessarily mean criminal charges will be filed. It is up to the prosecuting attorney to decide whether to file charges, and if so, what charges to file.

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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Why You Should Ask the Police "Am I Free to Go?"

Posted Monday, February 19, 2018 by Lizanne Padula.

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If you are having a run-in with the police, it is important to know your rights. Your rights always exist, whether you are under arrest, being detained, or free to go.

Generally speaking, you always have the right to remain silent, the right against unlawful search and seizure, and if you are detained by the police or placed under arrest, they must read you your Miranda Rights.

Why You Should Ask the Police “Am I Free to Go?”

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. Do not run away. Remember that in general you do not have to answer questions about any incident or suspected crime that the police ask you. If you volunteer statements to the police, those statements can be used against you.

• If the office’s answer is ambiguous, or if she continues to ask questions, then you may ask again: “Am I being detained, or am I free to go?”

• If the officer’s answer is that you are not free to leave, then you are being detained. Being detained is not the same as being arrested, though an arrest could follow.

Know If You are Being Detained

It is important to know if you are being detained, because if so, while not under arrest yet you are considered “in police custody.” As such, the police have a duty to read you your Miranda Rights, which must be read before the policy may interrogate you or any suspect. If the Miranda Rights are not given or are otherwise violated, then incriminating statements made by you, including a confession, cannot generally be used against you in later criminal proceedings.

If you are being detained you do not have to answer police questions, you have the right against self-incrimination/the right to remain silent, and you have the right to have an attorney present during questioning. Exercise your right to an attorney. Even if you are not under arrest, you have the right to have an attorney present during and police questioning or interrogation. This helps to ensure that your rights are protected and that you do not give any information that will harm your defense or strengthen the prosecutor’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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Washington State DUI Guide

Posted Friday, February 16, 2018 by Lizanne Padula.

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Charges for DUI are serious and Washington State has some of the toughest laws against DUI in the nation. The following guide is for you if you’ve been arrested for or formally charged with DUI in Washington State.

Washington State DUI Guide - The Legal Process

After you are arrested under suspicion of DUI formal charges will likely be filed against you. Some jurisdictions take months to file formal charges (especially King County). If you were arrested and then released without criminal charges being filed against you, do not assume your ordeal is over and that charges will never be filed.

Once charges are filed, the criminal process will move forward and typically involves: arraignment, pre-trial conference, evidentiary hearing and motions, readiness hearing, trial, and sentencing. At any stage of the criminal process after arraignment and prior to a verdict at trial, you and your DUI defense attorney may negotiate a plea agreement with the Prosecutor. Most criminal charges are resolved through plea bargaining. If you do get the charges dropped or plead out to lesser charges, then your case will proceed to trial, and if convicted, to sentencing.

Washington State DUI Guide - Your Driver License

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. If you refused to submit to a breath test your license will be automatically revoked for at least one year. (RCW 46.20.308(2)(a)).

If you are convicted of DUI then the Court will order suspension of your license. If you had no prior DUI’s in the past 7 years, you could face a 90 day license suspension. If you are convicted of a second DUI offense, you could face a 2 year license suspension. In cases where there are multiple previous DUI’s, and depending on the severity of the incident, your license suspension will be for a longer period. The suspension will begin 45 days after your conviction.

You may apply for an Ignition Interlock Driver’s License, which if approved would allow you to drive a vehicle while your license is suspended or revoked for a drug or alcohol–related offense. Under this license you must install an Ignition Interlock Device in any vehicle you drive.

Washington State DUI Guide - Legal Strategy to Defend Against DUI Charges

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.

The unique facts of your case will dictate what defenses are available to you. Our DUI defense attorneys will craft a legal strategy specific to your case. For example, your defense may include attacking the admissibility of evidence against you. Perhaps the evidence was gathered in violation of your constitutional rights or the evidence is tainted because the proper chain of custody was not followed.

Washington State DUI Guide - Hire a DUI Defense Attorney

We urge you to hire an experienced DUI defense attorney. When you have a skilled attorney on your side you are more likely to get the best outcome possible in your case. Your attorney will serve as your guide, your advocate, and will protect your rights through the legal process.

Our attorneys specialize in DUIs. In fact, attorney Lizanne Padula built her outstanding reputation winning unwinnable DUI cases. For over 20 years we have been fierce advocates defending our clients against state’s accusations.

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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