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A person does not lose their liberties simply because he or she is charged with a crime. Rather, under both state and federal law, criminal defendants are afforded with certain rights and protections, including the right to a speedy trial.

The Court of Appeals of Washington recently analyzed what constitutes a violation of the right to a speedy trial, in State v. Holcomb, a case where the defendant’s trial was delayed on several occasions. If you currently facing criminal charges, you should retain an experienced Washington criminal defense attorney to assist you in protecting your rights.

Factual Background

The defendant was charged with first and second-degree assault, both with firearm enhancements, violating a no-contact order, and tampering with a witness. He was subsequently tried and convicted of all charges. He then appealed, alleging in part, that the trial court violated the time for trial rule and his right to a speedy trial. On appeal, the court affirmed.

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If you face charges of unlawful possession of a firearm, it is essential to retain an attorney that will seek the prohibition of any evidence that should not be admitted against you at trial. Recently, a Washington appellate court upheld a defendant’s conviction, finding that his attorney’s failure to object to the state’s admission of written statements regarding his alleged firearm crimes did not constitute a prejudicial error. If you face charges of a weapons crime, you should meet with a skilled Washington weapons charge defense attorney who will fight vigorously to preclude any evidence the state should not be permitted to introduce against you.

Facts Regarding the Alleged Crime and Investigation

Reportedly, the defendant stayed at his brother’s apartment on occasion. The defendant did not have a key to the apartment and was only permitted in the apartment with his brother’s permission. The defendant was one of few people who knew his brother owned a gun and where it was stored. The defendant’s brother came home one evening to find his apartment window broken and his gun missing. He contacted the police and advised them as to what had occurred, and also claimed that his brother was the likely suspect. He provided the police with a written statement as well. The defendant allegedly texted his brother, asking why he was a suspect and stating he was only borrowing the gun and intended to return it.

Allegedly, the defendant’s brother found the gun in a plastic bag on the handle of his front door a few weeks later. He contacted the police and provided them with a second written statement. The defendant was subsequently charged with and convicted of first-degree burglary, theft of a firearm, and second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm. The defendant appealed his conviction, arguing that his attorney provided ineffective assistance of counsel due to his failure to object to the introduction of his brother’s written statements at trial. On appeal, the court affirmed.

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Many criminal charges and convictions are based on eyewitness testimony and statements, such as statements made by the defendant or other parties. In some cases, individuals charged with a crime may be able to preclude any statements made before or after his or her arrest from being introduced into evidence and used against the individual. Not all statements made to the police must be precluded, however.

A Washington court recently held that statements made by a defendant before his arrest were admissible at the defendant’s trial for violating a no-contact order. If you are charged with a domestic violence crime, you should consult a seasoned Washington criminal defense attorney to help you protect your rights.

Facts Surrounding the Defendant’s Arrest and Trial

Allegedly, police officers were assisting in boarding up a residence subject to abatement when they observed the defendant and a female companion sleeping in a van outside of a residence. Police approached the vehicle and asked the defendant and the female to exit the vehicle and identify themselves. The defendant was agreeable and gave the police a name, and then the defendant and his companion walked away.

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Criminal defendants are commonly prosecuted in the court that has jurisdiction over the area where the crime allegedly occurred. If the state fails to identify the proper court to prosecute charges against a defendant, the defendant can move to have the case dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. In some cases, however, it may not be clear which court may properly exercise jurisdiction over a matter.

In Washington v. Taylor, a Washington Court of Appeals recently clarified that a city’s adoption of the DUI statute did not grant the city sole jurisdiction for prosecuting any violations of the statute. Rather, the court held the District Court for the county where the violation occurred properly had jurisdiction over the matter. If you are charged with a DUI, it is important to retain a knowledgeable Washington DUI defense attorney to help you protect your rights.

Defendant’s DUI Trial

Allegedly, the defendant was stopped for suspicion of DUI in Spokane. He failed field sobriety tests and was charged with a DUI. The defendant was tried before a jury in Spokane County District Court and was subsequently found guilty. He appealed, arguing the Spokane County District Court lacked jurisdiction over his case. Specifically, he noted that when Spokane enacted its Municipal Code it adopted several state statutes, including the DUI statute. The defendant alleged the adoption of the DUI statute granted the Spokane Municipal Court with sole jurisdiction of all DUIs that occurred within the confines of the city. The court rejected the defendant’s argument, after which he sought discretionary review.

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In many criminal cases, whether a defendant is convicted of a greater or lesser offense depends on the state’s evidence against the defendant. As such, if you are charged with a crime, it is important to know what evidence the state intends to introduce against you and seek to exclude any prohibited evidence that may negatively affect your case.

In Washington v. Heyer, the Court of Appeals of the State of Washington affirmed a defendant’s conviction for third-degree assault, finding that testimony of a treating physician was not necessary to lay a foundation for a victim’s medical records to be admitted into evidence at trial. If you face assault charges, you should retain a skilled Washington criminal defense attorney to analyze the facts of your case and assist you in formulating a defense.

Factual Background

Allegedly, the defendant was at a car auction, where he bid on the same car as his victim. After the defendant won the car, the victim stated the defendant could use his commissary money to pay for the car, referring to the defendant’s prior imprisonment. In response, the defendant punched the victim in the face one or two times. The defendant was charged with second-degree assault. He waived his right to a jury and proceeded to a bench trial. During the trial the victim testified his nose would not stop bleeding following the assault and he was referred to a specialist due to a fracture. The defendant’s counsel objected to this testimony on the grounds that it was hearsay.

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Domestic violence no-contact orders are required to provide sufficient information to give notice to the party prohibited from contact of the terms of the prohibition. No-contact orders are not required to be exact, however, and a defendant can be convicted of violating an order even if some of the information is inaccurate.

For example, in State of Washington v. Michael Dwayne Harris, the Court of Appeals of the State of Washington upheld a conviction for violation of a no-contact order where the victim’s race was improperly identified, finding the order nonetheless provided sufficient notice to the defendant regarding who he was prohibited from contacting. If you are charged with a violation of a no-contact order, you should seek the assistance of an experienced Washington domestic violence defense attorney to assess what evidence the state may use against you.

Alleged Violation of the No-Contact Order

Allegedly, the defendant was prohibited from contacting a woman identified as his intimate partner via a domestic violence no-contact order (the Order). The Order also set forth the date of the woman’s birth and identified her as African-American. Four years after the order was issued, the defendant’s wife called the police to report the defendant assaulted her. The defendant was arrested, after which he admitted to being at his wife’s home but stated that she assaulted him. He also admitted there was a no-contact order that barred him from contacting his wife but he believed it had expired. The police then confirmed that the birthdate of the party protected by the Order was the same as the defendant’s wife’s birthdate. The defendant was charged with violating the Order.

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If you are accused of a DUI, whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or felony offense depends on whether you have previously been convicted of vehicular assault under Washington law. As the Washington Court of Appeals explained in Washington v. Allen, however, not all vehicular assaults are treated equally in terms of evaluating subsequent charges. Rather, only certain vehicular assault convictions serve as a basis for enhanced charges. If you are charged with a DUI, it is essential to your defense to retain an experienced Washington DUI defense attorney to analyze the circumstances regarding your arrest and what evidence the state may attempt to introduce against you.

Facts of the Case

Purportedly, the defendant in Allen was charged with a felony DUI, due to a prior conviction of vehicular assault under the influence. The trial was bifurcated per the defendant’s request. The first issue submitted to the jury was whether the defendant was guilty of DUI, which the jury determined he was. The second issue submitted to the jury was whether the defendant’s prior conviction for vehicular assault provided sufficient grounds to convict the defendant of a felony offense. On the second issue, the state introduced records from the defendant’s prior case as well as testimony from the arresting officer in the defendant’s prior case as to the defendant’s behavior at the time of his prior arrest. Based on the evidence presented, the jury found that the defendant was previously convicted of vehicular assault while under the influence of alcohol. The defendant subsequently appealed the jury’s finding regarding his prior conviction.

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Under Washington law, evidence that a victim’s account of an alleged assault has remained consistent is inadmissible to corroborate the victim’s testimony. As outlined in Washington v. Kleinsmith, however, a failure to make a timely objection to inadmissible testimony will result in a waiver of the objection. In Kleinsmith, the Court of Appeals of the State of Washington upheld the defendant’s conviction for second-degree assault regardless of the fact the prosecutor introduced inadmissible testimony regarding the victim’s credibility, due to the defendant’s counsel’s failure to make a timely objection to the testimony. If you are charged with assault, it is essential to your defense to retain an experienced Washington assault defense attorney who will fight to have any inadmissible testimony precluded from evidence.

Facts of the Case

Reportedly, the defendant and her alleged victim were neighbors in an apartment building. The victim heard someone sag to “get out” as she walked past the defendant’s apartment, and when she turned around, she saw a woman with a butcher knife. The victim further alleged the woman began to chase her and screamed, “don’t come back.” The victim reported the incident to an employee in the building’s front office, who called the police.  The victim described her assailant as a blonde woman wearing a t-shirt and shorts. When the police arrived, the building employee advised them that the defendant matched the physical description of the assailant.

Allegedly, the police repeatedly knocked on the defendant’s door, but she would not answer. The police eventually opened the defendant’s apartment with a key. When they entered the apartment, the defendant came from the back of the apartment and advised she was sleeping. The defendant was arrested and informed of her Miranda rights, after which she requested an attorney. She asked the officers to retrieve items from her apartment, and one of the officers noticed a large knife by the kitchen sink. As the defendant was escorted from the building, the victim advised the officers she was “one hundred percent” sure that the defendant was her assailant. The defendant did not testify at the trial. The building employee and arresting officer both testified and stated the victim’s story remained consistent. The defendant was convicted of assault in the second degree, after which she appealed.

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Under Washington law, to convict a defendant of third-degree assault of a law enforcement officer the state is required to prove the officer was performing his or her job duties at the time of the assault and that the defendant intended to hit the officer. In Washington v. Eagle, the Court of Appeals of the State of Washington upheld the defendant’s conviction for third-degree assault of an officer, finding the officer’s testimony that he was performing his job at the time of the incident and believed the defendant intended to hit him was sufficient evidence of the crime charged. If you face assault charges, it is important to retain a Washington assault defense attorney who will aggressively advocate on your behalf.

Facts of the Case

Purportedly, a bystander called the police after she heard a man and woman fighting. When the police arrived, they spoke with a woman who stated the defendant hit her and pushed her to the ground. One of the police officers called the defendant, and the defendant agreed to meet with the officer at a park. After the defendant arrived, he spoke with the officer. The officer then advised the defendant he was under arrest. The defendant did not surrender to the arrest, and an altercation ensued, during which the officer had to force the defendant to the ground. The altercation was recorded via a surveillance camera. The defendant was charged with fourth-degree assault of the woman, but the charge was dropped. He was also charged with third-degree assault of a law enforcement officer.

Under Washington law, self-defense is a valid defense to an assault charge. If a jury is not properly instructed on the law regarding self-defense, however, a defendant may be improperly convicted. In Washington v. Backemeyer, the Court of Appeals of the State of Washington overturned the Defendant’s conviction for assault and granted him a new trial after finding the defense counsel performed deficiently in failing to ensure the jury received a proper self-defense instruction, which was prejudicial to the Defendant. If you face assault charges, it is essential to your case to retain an attorney who is well-versed in the defenses to the crime you are charged with and can adequately convey the defenses to the jury. You should consult a seasoned Washington assault defense attorney to discuss your options.

Facts of the Case

Allegedly, in Backemeyer, the Defendant was in a bar when he was asked to leave by an individual who identified himself as a bouncer. The Defendant told the bouncer to leave him alone and began pushing the bouncer, after which the bouncer pushed the Defendant to the floor and got on top of him. The Defendant, who was significantly smaller than the bouncer, pulled out a knife and began cutting the bouncer. The Defendant was subsequently charged with first-degree assault with a deadly weapon. During the trial, the Defendant testified he was afraid of being seriously injured and was acting in self-defense, and that he did not know the bouncer was a bar employee.

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