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Vehicular Assault in Washington State, Criminal Defense

Posted Friday, September 22, 2017 by Lizanne Padula.

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Vehicular Assault in Washington State is similar to a charge for DUI or Reckless Driving, but with far more tragic consequences.

Vehicular Assault is when a person operates a vehicle in a reckless manner, under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or in a manner evidencing disregard for the safety of others and this driving results in substantial bodily harm to another person.

Under state law, a person is guilty of Vehicular Assault if he or she “operates or drives any vehicle:

• (a) In a reckless manner and causes substantial bodily harm to another; or

• (b) While under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug … and causes substantial bodily harm to another; or

• (c) With disregard for the safety of others and causes substantial bodily harm to another.” (RCW 46.61.522).

Hence there are three ways to commit a Vehicular Assault: reckless driving, DUI, or disregard for the safety of others. Each of these carries a different punishment under state law. Vehicular Assault committed while driving under the influence or recklessly typically results in harsher punishment.

Vehicular Assault is a Class B felony, which may be punishable by imprisonment for up to ten years, by a fine of up to $20,000, or both. If the person injured in the accident dies, then the driver may be charged with Vehicular Homicide.

If you are facing charges for Vehicular Assault, the skilled attorneys at Padula & Associates, LLC will provide you with tenacious defense in court. Our attorneys have built our reputation on defense of charges for DUI, reckless driving, and Vehicular Assault. We have successfully litigated Vehicular Assault charges to not guilty verdicts and obtained reduction from felony Vehicular Assault and Vehicular Homicide charges to misdemeanor charges like Reckless Driving and DUI. Our experience is extensive and our success is frequent.

Please remember we are available 24/7 if you find yourself the focus of an investigation for either Vehicular Assault or Homicide.

Come meet with us for a free consultation. Call us 24/7 at 425-883-3366, email us at info@paduladefense.com, or fill out our online free consultation form today.

For more than 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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I Was Arrested for DUI - What Happens Next?

Posted Wednesday, September 20, 2017 by Lizanne Padula.

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If you were arrested for DUI in Washington State you need to know what happens next. Hiring an experienced DUI defense attorney can help you get the best possible outcome in your case. Your attorney will protect your rights, help you understand the legal process, and advocate on your behalf.

So that you can understand the value of hiring a DUI Defense Attorney, Padula & Associates, LLC invites you to come meet with us for a free consultation. Call us 24/7 at 425-883-3366 or contact us here today.

I Was Arrested for DUI - What Happens Next?

Here is a brief overview of what happens after you are arrested under suspicion of DUI in Washington State:

• Formal charges of DUI will likely be filed against you.

• The criminal process moves forward, which typically involves the following: arraignment, pre-trial conference, evidentiary hearing and motions, readiness hearing, trail, and sentencing.

• At any stage of the criminal process prior to a verdict at trial, you and your DUI defense attorney may negotiate a plea agreement with the Prosecutor.

• NOTE: Your license will be automatically suspended if you do not request a hearing with the Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL) within 20 days.

Formal Charges of DUI

Some jurisdictions will file criminal charges for DUI quickly, within days or less of the arrest. However, some jurisdictions wait to file formal charges because the file of evidence is first sent to the prosecuting attorney’s office and charges are not brought immediately. The State has two years to bring charges for a gross misdemeanor (RCW 9A.04.080(1)(i)). This means that in general (and depending on your prior convictions), the prosecuting attorney’s office has up to two years from the date of your DUI arrest to file criminal charges against you.

Understand that a delayed notice of charges does not indicate that the arrest has gone away or been forgotten.

Automatic License Suspension if You Do Not Request Hearing within 20 Days

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. To avoid the administrative license suspension, the hearing examiner must decide in your favor after the hearing.

The Criminal Process

If you have been arrested for DUI, 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. Your attorney will help you understand the charges against you, protect your rights, and help you mount a strong defense against DUI charges. An experienced DUI defense attorney is your best chance at getting the most favorable outcome possible in your 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 DUI defense. Our attorneys are experienced in all aspects of DUI defense. To learn more, we invite you to read our articles:

Getting DUI Charges Reduced to Lesser Charges

Alcohol Evaluation After DUI in Washington State

License Suspension After DUI Arrest, Washington Department of Licensing

If you’re reading this, even after hours, call us – we will answer – (425) 883-3366.

You want to talk to us soon. After a DUI arrest, you have a few deadlines coming fast and there may be evidence that we can preserve for later use. For example, some of the police departments have video recordings that are destroyed after 72 hours if not requested right away. Hiring us sooner rather than later can assist our ability to mount an affective defense and win this battle for you.

To best serve our clients, we answer our phones 24/7. Call us at 425-883-3366, or contact us via the web or email info@paduladefense.com. The consultation is free.

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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Your Rights During Criminal Investigations

Posted Monday, September 18, 2017 by Lizanne Padula.

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If you have been arrested or are otherwise under investigation for a crime, you have rights. The government generally cannot use statements or evidence against you that was obtained in violation of your rights. This is why it is important to understand and assert your rights, and to have an experienced criminal defense attorney to advocate for you throughout the entire criminal process.

Overview of Your Rights During Criminal Investigations

You have many rights during the course of a criminal investigation and any criminal court proceeding that ensues. Some of your important rights include:

• You have the right to an attorney and to have that attorney present at any and all stages of a criminal investigation, interrogation, or legal proceeding.

• You have the right to remain silent.

• You have the right against unlawful search and seizure.

Right to an Attorney

You have a right to have an attorney present during all stages of criminal proceedings, including during interrogation by law enforcement. Speaking with law enforcement without your attorney present is almost never a good idea. Having your attorney present during questioning helps ensure that your rights are protected and that you do not say anything that will inadvertently harm your case.

Right to Remain Silent

You have the right to remain silent when being interrogated by law enforcement and when testifying in legal proceedings. It is almost always in your best interest to remain silent. Seriously, we urge you to remain silent if you are being questioned by law enforcement regarding a crime. You cannot talk your way out of being arrested and anything you say can and will be used against you.

Even if a law enforcement officer tells you otherwise: you do not have to answer questions posed to you by law enforcement. Be polite but firm in your desire to remain silent and inform the officer that you want to have an attorney present during questioning. To learn more, read our article Why You Should Exercise Your Right to Remain Silent.

Right Against Unlawful Search and Seizure

In general, you have the right to refuse a search of your property or vehicle in the absence of a search warrant. The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution grants the right against unlawful search and seizure of property. However, if law enforcement officers have a search warrant, you must submit to the search. There are other notable exceptions to your Fourth Amendment rights, such as exigent circumstances or incident to a lawful arrest.

The laws encompassing the rights afforded by the Fourth Amendment are complex and nuanced. If incriminating evidence against you was obtained in violation of your rights, you may be able to suppress that evidence from being used against you at trial. Hire a criminal defense attorney to advocate for your rights and mount a strong defense against the Prosecution’s case against you.

Your Right to Defend Yourself Against Criminal Allegations

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.

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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Field Sobriety Tests Are Voluntary, Washington DUI Defense

Posted Friday, September 15, 2017 by Lizanne Padula.

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If you are pulled over on suspicion of Driving Under the Influence (DUI), the police officer may ask you to submit to a Field Sobriety Test (FST). In Washington State you are under no obligation to submit to a FST.

Field Sobriety Tests Are Voluntary

FST are typically administered roadside and require the driver to perform a number of physical tasks. If an officer asks you to exit your vehicle and complete a Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST), it is critical that you know your rights. Washington State law does not require you to submit to SFSTs.

A police officer may lead you to believe that you must take the SFSTs, but you are under no legal obligation to do so. In general, you can and should politely refuse to take any FST. These tests are not measured by an objective standard and typically will only serve to harm your DUI defense.

Supposedly FSTs are to help the officer determine whether or not a driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol; however, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) laboratory research indicates that only three of the tests “when administered in a standardized manner” are highly accurate for distinguishing blood alcohol content (BAC) at or above the legal limit. These three FST are the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN), Walk and Turn (WAT), and One Leg Stand (OLS). (NHTSA DWI Detection and Standardized Field Sobriety Testing, March 2013 Edition, pg. 211).

First, SFST are not always administered in a standardized manner. Second, SFST results are subjectively evaluated by non-medically trained officers. In most cases the results of SFSTs will serve to bolster the Prosecution’s case against you and harm your ability to get a DUI charge reduced to a lesser charge. Therefore, in general it is in your best interest to politely refuse to submit to a SFST.

Submitting to A Breath Test Is Mandatory

While Field Sobriety Tests are strictly voluntary, breath tests are not. In Washington State you are required 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).

The punishment for refusing to submit to the breath test is at a minimum license suspension for at least one year. (RCW 46.20.308(2)(a)).

Hiring An Experienced Washington DUI Defense Attorney

If you submitted to SFSTs while being arrested for DUI, we can help. While the results of the Field Sobriety Tests may give the Prosecution evidence against you, our experienced DUI defense attorneys know how to pinpoint the weaknesses in the Prosecution’s case against you. Not every DUI can be beat, but we are able to eliminate or reduce most of them. Most of the DUI cases we handle at Padula & Associates, LLC are reduced to lesser charges or dismissed entirely.

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. 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).

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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Unlawful Possession Charges - What You Need to Know in Washington State

Posted Wednesday, September 13, 2017 by Lizanne Padula.

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The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution greats the right to bear arms, and reads in part: “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” However, firearm possession, carry, and display have legal restrictions and limitations.

Gun related charges in Washington State typically involve violations of Revised Code of Washington Title 9.41 regarding Unlawful Possession of Firearms (RCW 9.41.040). If you are found with a weapon that is not registered to you, or if another individual has left a firearm with you, or if you are in possession of an illegal type of firearm, or if you are otherwise in violation of firearm possession laws, you will likely face charges for unlawful possession of a firearm.

Notable Restrictions on Firearm Possession

A firearm may not be possessed by a convicted felon or a person previously convicted of an act of domestic violence. Beyond restrictions based on previous offenses, unlawful possession is determined by the manner or location of the possession. Each firearm possessed unlawfully is considered a separate criminal offense and can be charged as such. In Washington State there are two types of unlawful possession of a firearm: first degree and second degree.

Unlawful Possession of a Firearm in the First Degree

A person previously convicted of certain crimes is prohibited from lawful possession of a firearm. These crimes include: felonies, acts of domestic violence, any crime of violence, leading organized crime, child molestation in the second degree, promoting prostitution in the first degree, rape in the third degree, sexual exploitation, and certain other crimes. (RCW 9.41.040)

Unlawful possession of a firearm in the first degree is a class B felony punishable by imprisonment for up to ten years, by a fine of up to $20,000, or a combination of both (RCW 9A.20.021(1)(b)).

Unlawful Possession of a Firearm in the Second Degree

A person commits unlawful possession of a firearm in the second degree if he or she possesses a firearm and was previously convicted of certain crimes, including assault in the fourth degree, stalking, reckless endangerment, or violation of a protection order or no-contact order, or if he or she possessed a firearm “during any period of time that the person is subject to a court order” (RCW 9.41.040).

Unlawful possession of a firearm in the second degree is a class C felony punishable by imprisonment for up to five years, by a fine of up to $10,000, or a combination of both (RCW 9A.20.021(1)(c)).

Law Enforcement & Prosecutors Sometimes Misunderstand Unlawful Possession Law

It is not uncommon for law enforcement officers or even Prosecutors to misunderstand or misread the law, and attempt prosecution of an action that is actually lawful. Surprisingly, we have seen this many times. In these situations Padula & Associates, LLC has been able to intervene with the Prosecution and negotiate a complete dismissal of the unlawful possession charges. Alternatively, we have successfully requested a dismissal of the charges from the Court. Unfortunately, the process of doing either of these is often slow, inconvenient, and costly.

Defending Against Unlawful Possession or Other Firearm Related Charges

Padula & Associates, LLP has received many referrals from the Second Amendment Foundation and other firearm advocacy organizations. Lizanne Padula is a strong advocate for gun rights. She has spoken at an Open Carry Rally in Olympia and at other firearm advocacy events. The skilled attorneys at Padula & Associates, LLP have achieved dismissals or reductions in hundreds of firearm related cases.

Were you arrested for unlawful possession of a firearm? The experienced criminal defense attorneys at Padula & Associates, LLC know how important it is to defend your rights and can help you fight these charges in court. Our attorneys are well-versed in all aspects of criminal defense, and they will help you take on allegations of unlawful possession with confidence. For more than 20 years, Padula & Associates, LLC has been proudly serving those in King County, Snohomish County, and Washington State .

We answer our phones 24/7 and offer free consultations. Call us 24/7 at 425-883-3366 or fill out our simple web form to schedule your free consultation today.

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