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The Washington Criminal Law Blog

What Crimes Can Be Charged as Domestic Violence?

Posted Tuesday, May 23, 2017 by Lizanne Padula.

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Domestic Violence Crimes

In Washington, almost any crime can be charged as a domestic violence crime. These include misdemeanors, gross misdemeanors and felonies. A domestic violence crime is defined, not by the crime but by whom the alleged victims. The focus is on the relationship with the alleged victim in determining if the “DV” label will be applied. The most common crimes that can be charged as involving domestic violence include such offenses as:

• Assault: “Assault”, as Washington defines it, is the intentional touching of another person in a way that is harmful or offensive regardless of if it results in a physical injury

• Harassment: Harassment, as defined by the Washington statute, is knowingly and unlawfully threatening someone where that person has a reasonable fear that the threat will be carried out.

• Malicious Mischief: Malicious mischief is intentionally causing physical damage to someone’s property.

• Interfering With Domestic Violence Reporting: This occurs when someone commits an act of domestic violence and prevents or interferes with the victim calling 911, reporting the incident or seeking medical assistance.

• Almost any crime that has a victim can get a DV label

Crimes may be charged as a crime involving domestic violence if the alleged victim is a family or household member as defined by the Washington statute. This can be the past or present spouse, domestic partner, cohabitant, the parent of your child (regardless of the relationship you have with him or her), adults related by blood or marriage, persons 16 years or older who live together or have lived together and have or have had a dating relationship, persons 16 years or older who have or have had a dating relationship and anyone with a biological or legally established parent-child relationship.

The definitions above are a general recitation and do not cover all the details of the state law.. That being said, you need to speak with an attorney about how these definitions may have a bearing on your case. It is imperative you speak with an experienced Washington domestic violence defense attorney if you are facing charges for a crime involving domestic violence. Domestic violence charges are always complex and can have more severe consequences than a non DV conviction. to face them in court. Speak with an attorney today about the specific charges you are facing. Having an experienced attorney by your side will ensure your case is handled properly.

If you have been arrested for a crime involving domestic violence, 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 has been serving those in King County, Snohomish County and throughout Washington State with aggressive criminal defense services. 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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What You Need to Do if You Have an Arrest Warrant

Posted Thursday, May 18, 2017 by Lizanne Padula.

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Dealing With a Warrant

If you know you have an outstanding arrest warrant, you need to take action immediately. Do not assume it will all somehow blow over. It won’t unless you speak with an attorney and get the warrant resolved. Unfortunately, many people don’t know what to do and choose to try and ignore it. For obvious reasons, this is a bad idea. If you have an outstanding warrant in Washington State, here is what you should know:

If you have an outstanding warrant, you need to take steps to quash this warrant. This is the only way to eliminate the risk of being arrested. The specific process for quashing a warrant can vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but, in general, there are a few different ways you can do this.

Option One: You can turn yourself in to be arrested. In most jurisdictions, this will mean at least a night in jail and then a court appearance where the judge may hold you in custody or release you. This certainly isn’t going to be easy or painless. Luckily, you have other options.

Option Two: You can contact the court that issued the warrant to discuss your quashing options. This could be a Municipal, District or Superior Court. Depending on the court, you may be able to schedule a new court date. This may also involve payment of a warrant-quashing fee. In some felony cases; however, scheduling a new court date will not necessarily mean your warrant is quashed. If you have an outstanding felony warrant, you need to speak with an attorney about what you should do. If the warrant is not actually quashed, you can still be arrested until you appear in court and the court agrees to quash the warrant. An attorney can advise you on this process.

Option Three: You can arrange to post bail with the court that issued the warrant. We recommend Lacey O’Malley Bail Bonds if you choose this route. Gayle and Denny will treat you with respect and get your bail posted quickly.

Although you may be able to handle the initial process of quashing your warrant on your own, an attorney can make sure everything is handled quickly and successfully.

If you have a warrant, you should speak with an experienced Washington criminal defense attorney right away. Your options for quashing the warrant will depend on a few factors, such as what court issued the warrant, how many times you have failed to appear in court whether you have the ability to post bail. An attorney can help you identify your options and select the option that is right for you. Lastly and, most importantly, after you get the warrant quashed you will need an attorney to help you resolve the criminal charge that lead to the warrant.

If you have a warrant, the skilled attorneys at Padula & Associates, LLC can help you clear it as soon as possible. Our attorneys are experienced in all aspects of criminal defense and can help with your case every step of the way. For more than 20 years, Padula & Associates has been serving those in King County, Snohomish County and throughout Washington State with aggressive criminal defense services. 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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What Happens if I Violate a Restraining Order?

Posted Tuesday, April 4, 2017 by Lizanne Padula.

alt textProtective Orders and Their Purposes

Protective orders are a type of order that the court can issue to protect or provide relief to the petitioner in a case. Restraining orders are a type of protective order typically filed in family law cases such as divorces and custody actions. These orders pertain to the rights and protections of the two spouses. The court can also issue orders for protection and no-contact orders, which pertain to the conduct and contact between the petitioner and defendant.

A restraining order can order you to do many things. It can prohibit you from liquidating assets, making large purchases, or taking out credit. It can also order you to pay spousal and child support, relinquish personal property, and adhere to a parenting plan and visitation schedule.

Protective orders and no-contact orders restrain the defendant from coming near or contacting the petitioner. These are frequently issued in cases involving domestic violence or assault. These protect the petitioner from further harm.

What Are the Consequences?

Violating a protective order is a criminal offense. You can be arrested without a warrant and charged with contempt of court, a misdemeanor or felony crime depending on the specific violation and your history of offenses. You can face substantial fines and potentially jail time. You can also lose custody of your child and be ordered to pay support or restitution to the victim. The court may also require you to be subject to electronic monitoring.

Violating a restraining order in a divorce or separation case is a little different. You may have to go to court where the judge will take action to enforce the order. You may lose some rights in the process. You can face criminal charges, however, if you repeatedly and willfully violate the order in an attempt to harm the petitioner or child.

If you are facing accusations of misconduct for a restraining or protective order violation, speak with an experienced Washington criminal defense attorney as soon as you can. These are serious accusations and violating that can result in serious penalties. An attorney with domestic violence defense experience can evaluate the type of order you are subject to and advise you of the consequences of your violation. An attorney can also defend you against claims of misconduct to ensure you are not unfairly charged with a violation.

Are you facing criminal charges? The attorneys at Padula & Associates, LLC understand your concerns and can help you make the right steps in your case. Our attorneys are experienced in DUI and criminal defense and can help you face your charges with confidence while defending your rights. For 10 years Padula & Associates has been serving those in King County, Snohomish County, and surrounding areas with aggressive criminal defense services for DUIs, domestic violence, and other criminal charges. Call us 24/7 at 425-883-3366, email us at info@paduladefense.com or fill out our free consultation form today.

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Washington Criminal Statute of Limitations

Posted Thursday, March 30, 2017 by Lizanne Padula.

alt textA Time Limit

A statute of limitations is a time limit that bars the filing of claims past a certain date. Statutes of limitations are used in both civil cases, such as personal injury claims, and criminal cases. A criminal statute of limitations prevents a prosecutor from filing criminal charges after a certain date. The statute usually begins running the date the alleged crime was committed. These statutes serve a valuable purpose. They ensure evidence is preserved or accessed in a timely manner and help support the efficiency of the judicial process. Washington has criminal statues of limitations for both misdemeanor and felony crimes.

When Time Limits Expire

Once a statute “runs” (the time limit is reached or expires), the prosecutor can no longer file criminal charges against the defendant. Exceptions to this general rule exist, however, and not all crimes are subject to a statute of limitations. For example, a prosecutor can file charges for crimes such as murder, homicide, vehicular homicide, and a few select other serious felonies at any point. But many categories of crimes have relatively short statutes. Barring exceptions, the basic criminal statutes of limitations in Washington are:

3 years for felonies (except for serious felonies and those listed above)

2 years for gross misdemeanors, and

1 year for misdemeanors

Prosecutors are very watchful of these statutes, and the majority of criminal charges are filed in a timely manner once the crime has been discovered.

If you have questions about Washington’s criminal statutes of limitations, you should consult with a criminal defense attorney. The specifics of your case can dictate if and when the statute will run in your case. If charges have not been filed but you have reason to believe they could be, you should identify the statute that applies to your case so you can make sure charges aren’t filed after it runs. But remember, there are exceptions to these general statutes, so you should speak with an attorney about your specific case. A skilled Washington criminal defense attorney can advise you of the statute of limitations applicable to your case and help you defend yourself against charges when they are formally filed.

Are you facing criminal charges? The attorneys at Padula & Associates, LLC understand your concerns and can help you take the right steps in your case. Our attorneys are experienced in DUI and criminal defense and can help you face your charges with confidence while defending your rights. For 10 years Padula & Associates has been serving those in King County, Snohomish County, and surrounding areas with aggressive criminal defense services for DUIs, domestic violence, and other criminal charges. Call us 24/7 at 425-883-3366, email us at info@paduladefense.com or fill out our free consultation form today.

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Just Been Arrested? Why You Need to Call an Attorney ASAP

Posted Tuesday, March 28, 2017 by Lizanne Padula.

alt textFirst Find Help

You have the right to counsel when facing criminal charges or when being interrogated or under investigation. This is a very important right because it protects you from self-incrimination. Unfortunately, many people fail to exercise this right and suffer the consequences later.

Your right to an attorney is important for several reasons. An attorney can:

Advise you of all your rights so you can exercise them properly at the right time

Tell you what to do and not do to protect yourself from self-incrimination

Inform you about what your charges mean, and

Advise you of what the potential consequences of your charges are

You should call an attorney as soon as you can after an arrest because you should thoroughly understand your rights and what is at stake before you speak to anyone. Invoke your right to speak with an attorney before being interrogated, even if you aren’t directly informed of this right. Keep in mind that law enforcement is permitted to mislead you during an investigation. They may tell you they have a rock solid case against you and convince you to fess up when, in reality, they had a very weak case and your confession is what made it a strong case against you! That is just one of the reasons you need the advice of an attorney. They have gone through this process before and they are trained to handle it. You have never been through this and do not have the training.

Waiting to call an attorney until right before your arraignment is a never a wise idea. Even though the arraignment is going to be your first court appearance you will still be asked to make some important decisions. Appearing at your arraignment and answering those questions before speaking with an attorney can leave you with regret. Having an experienced attorney by your side will make sure that everything is handled properly with no need for regrets. Many people unwisely plead guilty thinking they have no chance at a fight, but, tragically, sometimes they are very wrong. Not all defendants are convicted. The prosecutor has to prove your guilt, and if he or she does not have enough evidence to do this, the case will be reduced or dismissed. Let the case against unfold a bit, have an attorney help you evaluate the case and give yourself time to do a complete investigation of the conclusions drawn by the Police.

Gathering Information Early On

If involved early enough, an attorney can work to gather and preserve valuable pieces of evidence that could be instrumental in your defense. He or she can start by requesting a copy of the police report. In this report will be information about the incident and the allegations against you. An attorney can use this information to initiate their own investigation and prepare a strategic defense for you. An experienced attorney will be proficient at identifying weaknesses in the case that could lead to the charges being reduced or dropped. Before you are in receipt of all the information an attorney can gather for you, you should never provide a statement or answer any questions.

Beyond these strategic advantages, an attorney can give you peace of mind knowing your rights will be defended. This is perhaps the most calming benefit of hiring an attorney. Facing criminal charges is stressful, and you could say the wrong thing without even knowing it was the wrong thing to say. You might have a good chance of fighting your charges. Accordingly, if you are arrested, make sure calling a Washington criminal defense attorney is the first step you take in your case.

Were you recently arrested? The attorneys at Padula & Associates, LLC know how stressful this experience can be and can help you understand your rights. Our attorneys are experienced in DUI and criminal defense and can help you face your charges with confidence while defending your rights. For 10 years Padula & Associates has been serving those in King County, Snohomish County, and surrounding areas with aggressive criminal defense services for DUIs, domestic violence, and other criminal charges. Call us 24/7 at 425-883-3366, email us at info@paduladefense.com or fill out our free consultation form today.

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