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In many cases in which a person is convicted of a domestic violence crime, the court will issue a no-contact order, prohibiting the person from contacting his or her victim. The failure to comply with a no-contact order constitutes a crime. Additionally, a person that repeatedly violates no-contact orders could face felony charges. Recently, a Washington court set forth a ruling in which it discussed what constitutes adequate evidence of repeated violations of no contact orders, in a case in which the defendant appealed his felony conviction. If you are charged with a crime of domestic violence, it is in your best interest to speak to a trusted Washington domestic violence defense attorney to assess your rights.

Factual and Procedural History

It is alleged that a no-contact order was in place that prohibited the defendant from contacting or being within 500 feet of his parents. The defendant’s father called the police to report that the defendant was in his shed. When the police arrived, they affirmed that the no-contact order was in place and found the defendant in the shed as his father described. He was arrested and charged with violating the no-contact order. As it was the defendant’s third violation of a no-contact order, it was charged as a felony. The defendant was convicted, after which he appealed, arguing the State failed to produce sufficient evidence of prior violations. On appeal, the court affirmed his conviction.

Evidence of Violations of a No-Contact Order

In order to prove that the defendant’s violation of the no-contact order constituted a felony, the State was required to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant committed violations of no-contact orders on two prior occasions. To determine whether evidence is sufficient, an appellate court must examine whether a rational factfinder would determine that the defendant was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt when viewing the evidence in a light most favorable to the State.

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People convicted of felonies often lose the right to own weapons, and the mere act of possessing a firearm can result in significant penalties. The State must prove each element of a charged firearm offense through competent evidence, though, and if it cannot, it should not be able to obtain a conviction. Recently, a Washington court assessed what constitutes sufficient proof of possession of a real firearm, in an opinion arising out of an appeal of an unlawful possession conviction. If you are accused of illegally owning a gun, it is in your best interest to consult a skilled Washington weapons charge defense attorney to assess your rights.

The Defendant’s Arrest and Trial

It is reported that a police officer approached a car that was parked in a closed parking lot. There were two people sitting in the front seats, and the defendant was sitting alone in the back seat. The officer noticed a semiautomatic weapon on the floor of the car by the defendant’s feet. The defendant would not keep his hands in view, after which he was removed from the car. The officer obtained consent to search the vehicle and retrieved the gun.

Allegedly, he then obtained a warrant and found a holster for the gun under a blanket in the backseat, illicit substances, and paraphernalia related to the sale of illegal drugs. The defendant was charged with multiple gun and drug crimes. He was convicted, after which he appealed, arguing in part that there was insufficient evidence to prove that he was in possession of an actual firearm.

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Firearm convictions can result in the loss of significant liberties. As with any criminal matter, though, the State must prove each element of the charged offense beyond a reasonable doubt to obtain a conviction, and if it does not, it may constitute a violation of the defendant’s constitutional rights. Recently, a Washington state court issued a ruling in which it explained what is considered adequate evidence to establish unlawful possession of a firearm in a case in which the defendant sought relief from personal restraint following convictions for multiple crimes. If you are charged with a weapons crime, it is advisable to meet with a trusted Washington gun crime defense attorney to discuss your possible defenses.

The Defendant’s Allegations

It is reported that in 2017, the defendant was convicted of three counts of assault and one count of unlawful possession of a firearm. Personal restraint was imposed following his convictions. In 2020, the defendant sought relief from his personal restraint, arguing that the evidence was insufficient to prove he was guilty of unlawful possession of a firearm and that his conviction and the firearm enhancements on his assault convictions violated his protections against double jeopardy. The court ultimately rejected the defendant’s arguments and denied his request for relief.

Evidence Sufficient to Establish Guilt in Gun Crime Cases

First, the court discussed the defendant’s allegations that the evidence was insufficient to prove his guilt with regard to the firearm charge. The court explained that evidence in criminal cases is sufficient to prove culpability if, after it is viewed in the light most favorable to the State, any rational factfinder could have found beyond a reasonable doubt that the elements of a crime were present.

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In some criminal matters, even a defendant that admits to committing the allegedly criminal acts may be found not guilty if a valid justification for the behavior exists. For example, in many assault cases, the defendant may be able to avoid a conviction by demonstrating that the alleged unlawful acts were taken in self-defense. In a recent Washington assault case, the court discussed each party’s burden of proof with regard to self-defense. If you are accused of an assault crime, it is prudent to confer with a skilled Washington assault defense attorney to discuss your possible defenses.

The Alleged Assault

Allegedly, the defendant and her husband became involved in a verbal altercation over the fact that the defendant had a boyfriend. The defendant began looking for the deed to their house to prove that she was a co-owner but became enraged when she could not find it. She began throwing things and then started to hit and kick her husband. She ultimately charged him with a sword that was a replica from a movie and sliced his arm. The husband called 911 and had to be airlifted to a hospital due to his wounds.

It is reported that the defendant was arrested and charged with second-degree assault with a deadly weapon, which was deemed a crime of violence. The case proceeded to trial, and the defendant was convicted, after which she appealed, arguing in part that the State failed to produce sufficient evidence that she was not acting in self-defense. The appellate court ultimately rejected her arguments and affirmed her conviction.

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Assault crimes are often committed in the heat of the moment, in response to an emotionally charged event. Thus, if the State can produce evidence that demonstrates motive, it may be able to persuade a jury that a defendant is guilty of the offense charged. The admissibility of motive evidence was recently discussed in a Washington assault case in which the court denied the defendant’s appeal of his conviction. If you are charged with assault or another crime, it is smart to talk to a trusted Washington assault defense attorney to determine what evidence may be used against you.

The Alleged Assault

It is alleged that the defendant and his victim were engaged and lived together. The victim confronted the defendant regarding his drug use, and they became embroiled in a physical argument. The defendant choked the victim, who broke free and ran outside. The defendant then followed the victim and hit her and proceeded to drag her back into the house. A motorist passing by observed the incident and allowed the victim to call 911. The defendant then fled.

Reportedly, the defendant was arrested two days later. He was ultimately charged with second-degree assault, witness tampering, and other crimes. A trial was held before a jury, and the defendant was convicted as charged, and his offenses were deemed crimes of domestic violence. Following his sentencing hearing, he appealed.

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Under Washington law, if a defendant is convicted of a crime that constitutes an act of domestic violence, the court may find that aggravated circumstances are present that warrant an exceptional sentence. Recently, a Washington appellate court denied a criminal defendant’s challenge to such a sentence, finding that the defendant’s interpretation of the relevant statute was flawed and would lead to an absurd result. If you are accused of committing a crime of domestic violence, it is wise to meet with a knowledgeable Washington domestic violence defense attorney to talk about your options.

History of the Case

It is alleged that the defendant and his wife were separated when the defendant visited the wife in the marital home. They were embroiled in an argument when the husband took out a gun and threatened to kill himself. At that time, the wife was in the bedroom, holding the couple’s infant daughter. The defendant calmed down and tried to uncock his gun. In doing so, he accidentally discharged the weapon, shooting the wife through the bedroom door.

It is reported that the wife subsequently died from her injuries, and the defendant was charged with first-degree manslaughter. During the trial, the judge gave the jury an instruction on the elements of an aggravated domestic violence offense. The jury found the defendant guilty of manslaughter and found that the evidence supported the conclusion that the act was an aggravated domestic violence offense. The court imposed an exceptional sentence above the standard range, and the defendant appealed.

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In Washington, some crimes have alternative means of commission. In other words, a person may be found guilty of such a crime for engaging in more than one type of activity. Simply because there are multiple ways an offense may be committed does not mean the State’s burden is lessened. Rather, as demonstrated in a recent Washington gun crime case, jury unanimity is required to convict a person of theft of a firearm when there is inadequate evidence to support one of the means of commission. If you are charged with a weapons crime, it is advisable to meet with a trusted Washington gun crime defense attorney to discuss your case.

The Alleged Theft

It is reported that the defendant was at the home of his minor girlfriend when the home was visited by a neighbor who brought a bottle of liquor. The defendant and the neighbor consumed some of the alcohol, and the defendant, his girlfriend, and the neighbor went outside so that the girlfriend could shoot the neighbor’s rifle. The neighbor and the defendant became involved in an altercation, and the defendant hit the neighbor in the head with the rifle. The girlfriend’s mother called 911, after which the defendant took the gun and ran into the woods.

Allegedly, when the police arrived, they saw the defendant running away but did not apprehend him. Over the next few days, the defendant stored the gun in his home and took it with him outside. The police found the weapon during a search of the defendant’s home. He was charged with and convicted of multiple crimes, including theft of a firearm. He appealed his convicted as to the theft charge, arguing that because the court failed to instruct the jury regarding unanimity, and the State did not present sufficient evidence of two of the three means of committing the crime, his conviction must be reversed.

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While a person can be convicted of more than one crime for acts that occur during a single event, state and federal law prohibits a person from being convicted for the same criminal activity more than once. Thus, if a defendant is convicted multiple times for essentially the same crime, it may constitute a violation of the rule against double jeopardy and may be grounds for reversal. This was discussed in a recent Washington case in which the defendant was convicted for both second-degree and fourth-degree assault, for a single act. If you are accused of an assault crime, it is in your best interest to speak to a dedicated Washington assault defense attorney regarding your rights.

The Alleged Assault

It is reported that the police responded to a report of a domestic violence incident between the defendant and his victim. When the police spoke to the victim, she stated that the defendant had strangled her and bit her thumb and upper lip. The victim was covered in blood as well. The defendant was charged with second-degree assault for strangling the victim and two counts of fourth-degree assault for biting her.

Allegedly, during the trial, the victim testified that the defendant held her down rather than strangling her, and while he was holding her down, he bit her thumb. She denied that he bit her lip or that she advised the police that he bit her lip. The defendant was found guilty of second-degree assault and one of the counts of fourth-degree assault. The defendant appealed, arguing the acts for which he was convicted happened in a single assault and convicting him more than once constituted double jeopardy.

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In Washington, when a person is charged with a weapons crime, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person committed each element of the offense. Typically, the prosecution will rely on circumstantial evidence, such as statements regarding the defendant’s whereabouts or discussions with the defendant regarding the weapons in order to prove its case. Thus, if a defendant can attack the validity of the prosecution’s evidence, it may weaken its case, but such efforts are not always successful. This was demonstrated in a recent Washington case in which the court affirmed the defendant’s convictions for firearm-related offenses despite the defendant’s arguments that the prosecution’s evidence should have been precluded at trial. If you are charged with unlawfully owning or possessing a firearm, it is advisable to speak with a skillful Washington gun crime defense attorney to discuss your case.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the defendant was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm as well as with being a felon in possession of ammunition, both of which were federal crimes. Following his trial, he was convicted by a jury. He then appealed, arguing that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress evidence found during a search of his home and in admitting evidence of his prior bad acts. The appellate court denied the defendant’s appeal, affirming his conviction.

Evidence Admissible at a Trial for Weapons Charges

First, the court explained that the officer’s entry into the defendant’s home was lawful as it was done in response to a 911 call. Further, the court rejected the defendant’s argument that the officer did not have authority to enter his home or search the surrounding hillside for weapons, and that the evidence found during the search should be suppressed.

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Physically attacking someone often constitutes a crime. Specifically, in Washington, it may be grounds for assault charges. While engaging in physically violent behavior is generally unlawful, a defendant that is acting in self-defense might be found not guilty. If the State can show that the defendant was the first aggressor, however, the jury may be advised that self-defense is not available as a defense. In a recent Washington assault case, the court discussed the first aggressor exception to self-defense and when it applies. If you are accused of committing assault, it is prudent to meet with a trusted Washington assault defense attorney to evaluate your possible defenses.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the defendant had a contentious relationship with the alleged victim, due to the fact that the defendant believed the victim had stolen one of his guns. At one point, the victim fired shots at the defendant’s house, and a bullet nearly struck the defendant in the head. There is conflicting evidence as to whether the victim threatened to kill the defendant. Approximately four years later, the defendant was at a gas station when he saw the victim sitting in a car in the parking lot.

It is alleged that the defendant fired multiple shots at the car and ultimately killed the victim. The defendant was charged with numerous counts of first-degree assault as well as first-degree murder. At trial, the jury was given the first-aggressor instruction. The defendant was found guilty as charged, after which he appealed. The appellate court reversed the conviction, stating that the first aggressor charge relieved the State of proving the defendant committed the alleged acts. The State then appealed.

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