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The Washington Criminal Law Blog

Theft of Less Than $5,000 Is A Felony, Punishable by Up To 10 Years In Prison

Posted Thursday, July 20, 2017 by Lizanne Padula.

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Washington State law defines theft as: “To wrongfully obtain or exert unauthorized control over the property or services of another or the value thereof, with intent to deprive him or her of such property or services,” including by deception, and by appropriation of misdelivered goods or services. (RCW 9A.56.020). Essentially theft is taking someone else’s property with the intent to deprive them of it.

As with many crimes in Washington State, theft has three degrees. Theft in the third degree is a gross misdemeanor, but theft in the first and second degrees are felonies.

Theft of Less Than $5,000 Is A Felony, Punishable by Up To 10 Years In Prison

Second degree theft, which is theft of property or services worth more than $750 but less than $5,000 (excluding theft of firearms and motor vehicles - those fall under their own statutes) is a Class C felony. This means that if you are convicted of stealing less than $5,000 worth of property or services, you could be facing as much as 5 years in prison, as well as fines up to $10,000.

Washington State judges use a sentencing grid (RCW 9.94A.510) in determining the length of imprisonment. The sentencing grid accounts for various factors in the case, including the type of crime and the number of prior convictions, if any, a person has on their record.

Theft charges are serious and can carry hefty punishment. You need a fierce criminal defense attorney to mount a strong defense for you. A criminal defense attorney will be proficient at identifying the weaknesses in the Prosecution’s case against you and leveraging them in negotiations. Therefore, calling an experienced Washington criminal defense attorney should be your first step in fighting the felony theft allegations against you.

Were you arrested for theft? The skilled attorneys at Padula & Associates, LLC know how important it is to defend your rights and can help you fight your charges in court. Our attorneys are experienced in all aspects of criminal defense, and they will help take on allegations of theft 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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What Questions Will I Be Asked During My Alcohol Evaluation?

Posted Monday, July 17, 2017 by Lizanne Padula.

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As we noted in our article Alcohol Evaluation After DUI in Washington State, any person who is convicted of a DUI in Washington State must undergo a mandatory Alcohol Evaluation. Even in cases where DUI charges are reduced to lesser charges, or in any criminal case that involves alcohol or drugs, the court at its discretion can order an Alcohol Evaluation.

The evaluation is designed to determine whether you have a problem with alcohol. It isn’t uncommon for people to worry about the evaluation process. It can be stressful, so let’s review some questions that are characteristic of the types of questions you could be asked so that you can feel prepared. The following are to be answered with a simple “yes” or “no.”

• Do you feel you are a normal drinker?

• Have you ever awakened in the morning after some drinking the night before and found that you could not remember a part of the evening?

• Does any near relative or close friend ever worry or complain about your drinking?


• Can you stop drinking without difficulty after one or two drinks?

• Do you ever feel guilty about your drinking?

• Have you ever gotten into physical fights when drinking?


• Have you ever lost friends because of your drinking?


• Have you ever gotten into trouble at work because of drinking?


• Have you ever lost a job because of drinking?


• Do you drink before noon fairly often?

• Have you ever been hospitalized because of drinking?

• Have you been arrested more than once for driving under the influence of alcohol? 
This list of questions is not exhaustive, and represent only the types of questions you may be asked. While the questions may feel invasive, they are straightforward. You may also be required to submit to a drug and alcohol urinalysis screening. After the evaluation is complete, the counselor will prepare a treatment recommendation. A copy is forwarded to the court and the Washington Department of Licensing.

If you are facing charges for a DUI, the skilled attorneys at Padula & Associates, LLC understand how stressful your situation can be, and we will provide you with tenacious defense in court. Our attorneys are experienced in all aspects of criminal defense and will help you fight your charges with confidence. 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.

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.

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Fraud Charges - What You Need To Know

Posted Friday, July 14, 2017 by Lizanne Padula.

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Fraud is an intentional misrepresentation of material fact made with the purpose of inducing another person to act, and results in damages. Fraud encompasses many crimes, all of which involve making a misrepresentation with the intent to defraud.

Criminal fraud and its associated penalties in Washington State are defined by the state legislature. The Revised Code of Washington’s Fraud Statute (RCW 9A.60) addresses: forgery, obtaining a signature by deception or duress, criminal impersonation in the first and second degree, false certification, fraudulent creation or revocation of a mental health advance directive, and false academic credential. Fraud crimes are charged as either misdemeanors or felonies.

Understand the Nature of the Charges Against You & Available Defenses

When it comes to criminal fraud charges, there are a number of elements the Prosecution must prove to secure a conviction against you. For example, one element of fraud is the intent to defraud, which speaks to your state of mind and may be difficult to prove. An experienced fraud defense attorney can help you understand the nature of the fraud charges against you and utilize all available defenses in your case. Every case is unique. The facts of your case may give rise to an entrapment defense, or may demonstrate that you had no knowledge of the misrepresentation or no intent to defraud.

You Have the Right to Remain Silent

Because your mental state is important to the investigation, you should not make any statements to law enforcement that may document your knowledge or intentions. In fraud cases, your knowledge of the misrepresentation or your intention can be critical to law enforcement’s investigation. Exercise your right to remain silent until you consult with an attorney. Do not make statements that will serve to bolster the Prosecution’s case and harm your defense.

You Have the 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. 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.

If you have been arrested for a crime involving fraud, the skilled attorneys at Padula & Associates, LLC understand how stressful your situation can be and can help you fight the allegations. Our attorneys are experienced in all aspects of criminal defense, and they 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 criminal defense services.

We answer the phone 24-hours a day, seven 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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Felony Assault in Washington State

Posted Wednesday, July 12, 2017 by Lizanne Padula.

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An assault is any intentional touching done without lawful authority or consent. Touching includes all forms of contact, including striking, cutting, or shooting. Damage (injury) is not a necessary element of assault. A person can be guilty of assault without causing injury to the person her or she assaulted. For example, depending on the situation and surrounding events, the simple act of placing your finger in another person’s body could constitute assault.

Felony Assault in Washington State

Washington State law defines the different types of assault in RCW 9A.36. Depending on the offense, assault can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony crime. There are 4 levels of assault:

Assault in the first degree is the most serious offense, and is a Class A felony.

Assault in the second degree is a Class B felony.

Assault in the third degree is a Class C felony.

Assault in the fourth degree is not classified as a felony, it is a gross misdemeanor. This is the most common type of assault charged.

The level of assault that will be charged depends on how the assault was carried out, who was assaulted, and what injury or damages resulted from the assault. Let’s explore Assault in the first degree and third degree in-depth. For more information on the other types of assault, including reckless endangerment or assault of a child, contact us for a free consultation and case review.

Felony Assault in the First Degree

Assault in the first degree requires that the person acted with “intent to inflict great bodily harm,” and used a firearm or any deadly weapon, exposes or transmits poisons, the HIV virus, or any other noxious substance, or the assault actual inflict great bodily harm. Great bodily harm means bodily injury which creates a probability of death, or which cause significant serious permanent disfigurement. As a Class A felony, assault in the first degree is punishable by life in prison, and/or fines of up to $50,000.

Felony Assault in the Third Degree

Assault in the third degree, on the other hand, primarily focuses on assault that causes “bodily harm” (not great bodily harm). Bodily harm means physical pain or injury, illness, or an impairment of physical condition. The RCW section for third degree assault criminalizes assault against specific enumerated occupations. For example, per section (b) it is assault in the third degree to assault (without any injury) a transit worker, school bus driver, firefighter, law enforcement officer or healthcare worker if they are performing their duties at the time of the assault. Assault in the third degree can also be charged when bodily harm has been caused by criminal negligence with the use of a weapon, or by criminal negligence that is accompanied by substantial pain that extends for a sufficient period of time to cause considerable suffering. As a Class C felony, assault in the third degree is punishable by up to 5 years in prison, and fines up to $10,000.

If you are facing assault charges we urge you to seek the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. The attorneys of Padula & Associates, LLC have handled hundreds of assault cases, both simple and complex. As your fierce advocates, we will mount an aggressive defense in your case and help you fight for a just resolution.

Our attorneys are experienced in all aspects of criminal defense, and they will help you take on assault allegations with confidence. For over 20 years, Padula & Associates, LLC has been serving the folks in King County, Snohomish County, and Washington State with aggressive and effective criminal defense.

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.

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Alcohol Evaluation After DUI in Washington State

Posted Monday, July 10, 2017 by Lizanne Padula.

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If you are convicted of a DUI in Washington State, it is mandatory that you undergo an Alcohol Evaluation. If the DUI charges are reduced to lesser charges, such as Reckless Driving or Reckless Endangerment, the court may, at its discretion, order an Alcohol Evaluation as a condition of sentencing.

What You Need to Know About the Alcohol Evaluation

The Alcohol Evaluation must be done by an alcoholism agency, or a qualified probation department , approved by the department of social and health services. The cost of evaluation depends on the provider and typically ranges anywhere from $150.00 to $300.00. After the Alcohol Evaluation, a treatment recommendation is prepared and a copy is forwarded to the court. The treatment recommendation can range from:

• A mandatory course in an approved Alcohol & Drug Information School. This is the lowest level of treatment for people diagnosed with no significant problem (NSP) with alcohol. The cost ranges from $50.00 to $150.00.

• A requirement to complete 3 to 12 months of treatment for an alcohol abuse diagnosis. This is applicable to someone who is not an addict but is misusing alcohol. This is often the case for people who are using alcohol to self-medicate a psychological issue. The cost of this program can be several hundred dollars.

• A requirement to complete more intensive treatment in an approved substance use disorder treatment program. This is a much higher level of treatment and is for people diagnosed with an addiction issue. The length is typically from 6 to 24 months and the costs can range from hundreds of dollars up to thousands of dollars.

The length and intensity of your treatment recommendation will depend on whether you are found to be chemically dependent on alcohol, suffering from alcohol abuse or potential for abuse, or if there’s insufficient evidence to show that you have a problem with alcohol.

If you’re facing DUI charges, it may benefit you to voluntarily go to an Alcohol Evaluation even before the court orders it. This way you’ll know what the treatment recommendation will be and it gives you the opportunity to begin following the treatment plan. This shows the court and the Prosecutor that you are being proactive in handling your criminal case.

It is in your best interest to consult with an experienced Washington criminal defense attorney if you are facing DUI charges. The skilled attorneys at Padula & Associates, LLC understand how stressful your situation can be, and we can 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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