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Articles Posted in Assault

https://www.smithandwhite.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/jamesjlwhite_Art_deco_style._subtle_red_white_and_blue_colors.__58df2932-3af3-47e6-a80c-a9777139fc2d-300x300.pngIn Tacoma, Washington assault cases, defendants do not have to offer a defense or otherwise establish that they did not commit the charged offense. In many instances, though, a defendant will argue that the actions out of which their charges arose were taken in self-defense and, therefore, were lawful. If the State disproves a defendant’s self-defense argument beyond a reasonable doubt, however, the defendant may be found guilty. Recently, in the Court of Appeals in Tacoma, Washington, the court discussed what evidence is needed to demonstrate that the use of force was lawful in a matter in which it affirmed a juvenile’s adjudication of guilt for assault. If you are charged with an assault offense, it is advisable to meet with a Tacoma assault crime defense attorney to evaluate your options.

History of the Case

It is alleged that the defendant and the victim were both high school students. The defendant was approximately 200 pounds lighter than the victim, but both appeared to be in reasonably fit condition. They had a verbal altercation, during which the defendant called the victim a gay slur, and the victim stated he was gay.

Reportedly, they had a second encounter later in the day that escalated into a physical altercation. The victim approached the defendant and slapped him on the arm, after which the two fell to the ground. The victim was striking the defendant when the defendant pulled a knife out of his pocket and stabbed the victim repeatedly. The defendant was charged with assault in the first degree. During the trial, he argued he acted in self-defense. The judge rejected the defense and found him guilty of assault in the second degree, and he appealed. Continue reading

https://www.smithandwhite.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/jamesjlwhite_subtle_red_white_and_blue_color_scheme._Art_deco_s_8b558ad5-2b3a-4c22-aa03-e60c945a6fce-300x300.pngIn Washington criminal matters, the State bears the burden of showing, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant committed the charged offense. The State can rely on direct and circumstantial evidence to prove its case. Generally, any evidence that is relevant is admissible as long as it does not confuse or mislead the jury and is not overly prejudicial. Recently, a Washington court discussed whether the use of expert testimony in criminal matters is permissible in a case in which the defendant appealed his conviction for assault. If you are accused of assaulting another person, it is smart to talk to a Tacoma assault crime defense attorney to determine what evidence the State may use against you.

Background of the Case

It is alleged that the defendant and his girlfriend had a tumultuous relationship. One evening when the girlfriend was at the defendant’s house, they had a disagreement. The girlfriend attempted to leave, but the defendant locked her out of the house without her possessions or car keys. The girlfriend then laid in the bed of the defendant’s truck, and when the defendant saw her, he began grabbing her to attempt to get her to leave.

Reportedly, the defendant placed his arms around the girlfriend’s neck until she began to see spots. She told the defendant she could not breathe, and he eventually let her go. Two days later, the defendant was charged with second degree assault by strangulation. During his trial, the State filed a motion to admit testimony from a medical expert regarding how strangulation happens and what issues are common following strangulation. The defendant objected to the motion, but the court granted it despite his objections. He was convicted, after which he appealed. Continue reading

police-force-300x300Una de las posibles peores situaciones que podemos experimentar es el de tener una conversación con un representante de la justicia como posibles sospechosos de haber realizado algo en contra la ley. En esta situación, tal vez busquemos cooperar con las autoridades en todo lo posible, pero, ¿qué sucede en el caso de que sean las mismas autoridades las que no sigan los protocolos o usan mayor fuerza de la debida?

Los legisladores han hecho esfuerzos para establecer mayores límites y definiciones sobre los escenarios en los que un agente de policía podría hacer uso de la fuerza física. Uno de estos instrumentos es la ley HB 1310.

Lo que dice la ley

En uno de sus primeros mandatos, apela al buen juicio de cada integrante del cuerpo de policía y los invita a buscar alternativas o tácticas que no impliquen fuerza para controlar una situación. De hecho, se menciona que, a partir del 6 de diciembre de 2018, todo policía debe recibir capacitación en métodos alternativos para evitar el uso de la fuerza física.

Continue reading

weapon-300x300Generally, people in Tacoma have the right to own and possess firearms. The right is not inalienable, however, and in certain situations may be taken away. For example, people convicted of felony offenses are typically barred from possessing firearms, and may face criminal charges if they are caught with a gun in their possession. As with all criminal offenses, to establish the crime of unlawful possession of a firearm the state must prove each element in order to demonstrate the defendant’s guilt. Recently, a Washington court issued a ruling in which it discussed the government’s burden of proof in weapons crime cases. If you are a Tacoma resident and are charged with a weapons crime, it is prudent to confer with a skilled Tacoma weapons charge defense attorney to assess your possible defenses.

History of the Case

 It is reported that the defendant was charged with two counts of unlawful possession of a firearm and one count of unlawful possession of ammunition in violation of federal law. Prior to trial, the defendant filed numerous motions in limine, asking the court to preclude the government from introducing certain evidence at trial. The parties also presented a proposed stipulation regarding certain elements of the charged offenses. As the specifics of the stipulation were unclear, the court reserved judgment on the issue.

The Government’s Burden of Proof in Weapons Crime Cases

The court explained that the offenses that the defendant was charged with required the government to prove that the defendant was previously convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term that exceeds one year. The defendant indicated that he would stipulate at trial that he had at least one felony conviction that was punishable by imprisonment for more than a year prior to being charged with the subject crimes, however. The government accepted that stipulation and stated it would not attempt to introduce specifics of his felony conviction at trial. Continue reading

father-and-son-300x300A conviction for a domestic violence crime may not only result in criminal penalties, but it may also negatively impact a person’s relationships. For example, courts may determine that parents guilty of committing domestic violence offenses should be denied access to their children. Courts may only limit parental rights if it is necessary for the protection of children, though, and any order limiting their rights should be narrow in duration and scope. Recently, a Washington court issued an opinion discussing when the courts may impinge on the fundamental right to parent in a domestic violence matter. If you are accused of a crime of domestic violence, it is advisable to meet with a Tacoma domestic violence defense attorney to assess your options for seeking a favorable result.

The Facts of the Case

It is reported the defendant and his wife were married in 2003 and separated in 2016. In 2017, the wife obtained a domestic violence protection order that, in part, limited the defendant’s access to his children. A second order was issued prohibiting him from seeing the children, but his wife continued to allow him access to them despite the order. In 2018, the defendant became angry the wife was dating someone and entered her home without his permission.

Allegedly, once he was inside the home, he assaulted his wife and threatened to kill her. He was charged with and convicted of numerous domestic violence offenses. The sentencing court entered a lifetime no-contact order protecting the children. The defendant appealed. Continue reading


En materia penal, la carga de la prueba recae únicamente en la acusación. En otras palabras, la acusación debe ofrecer pruebas suficientes para establecer no solo que se cometió un delito, sino también que el acusado es la persona que cometió el delito imputado. Si la fiscalía no puede cumplir con su carga de la prueba, el acusado no debe ser condenado. Esto se explicó recientemente en un fallo en el que un tribunal de Washington revocó la condena por agresión de un acusado con el argumento de que la fiscalía no cumplió con su carga de la prueba. Si lo acusaron de un delito de agresión, es aconsejable reunirse con un abogado defensor de agresión de Tacoma capacitado para evaluar qué evidencia puede presentar el Estadoen el juicio.

Los Hechos Del Caso

Se alega que la policía de Tacoma respondió a una llamada al 911 informando sobre violencia doméstica. Durante la llamada, la víctima identificó a su presunto agresor por su nombre. Luego, el Estado acusó al acusado de múltiples cargos de agresión con agravantes de violencia doméstica. La víctima no compareció en el juicio, a pesar de que los fiscales emitieron una orden para obligarla a comparecer. El Estado juzgó el caso sin el testimonio de la víctima. Según se informa, durante el juicio, el acusado se presentó por su nombre y el oficial que respondió a la llamada al 911 testificó que la víctima identificó a su atacante y que la persona a la que nombró tenía el mismo nombre que el acusado. El jurado finalmente condenó al acusado, quien apeló, argumentando que el Estado no presentó pruebas suficientes para establecer que él era el agresor de la víctima. Continue reading

Identity-194x300In criminal matters, the burden of proof rests solely with the prosecution. In other words, the prosecution must offer evidence sufficient to establish not only that a crime was committed but also that the defendant is the person that committed the charged offense. If the prosecution is unable to meet its burden of proof, the defendant should not be convicted. This was explained recently in a ruling in which a Washington court reversed a defendant’s assault conviction on the grounds that the prosecution failed to meet its burden of proof. If you were charged with an assault offense, it is wise to meet with a capable Tacoma assault defense attorney to evaluate what evidence the State may introduce at trial.

The Facts of the Case

It is alleged that Tacoma police responded to a 911 call reporting domestic violence. During the call, the victim identified her alleged attacker by name. The State then charged the defendant with multiple counts of assault with domestic violence aggravators. The victim failed to appear at trial, despite the fact that prosecutors issued a warrant to compel her to appear. The State tried the case without the victim’s testimony.

Reportedly, during the trial, the defendant introduced himself by name, and the officer that responded to the 911 call testified that the victim identified her attacker and that the person she named had the same name as the defendant. The jury ultimately convicted the defendant, and he appealed, arguing that the State presented insufficient evidence to establish that he was the victim’s attacker. Continue reading

Dna-300x300Under Washington law, law enforcement agencies have the duty to collect DNA samples from certain criminal defendants. If a criminal defendant refuses to submit to an agency’s request for a DNA sample, they may be compelled by the courts to comply. This was demonstrated in a recent case in which a defendant charged with an assault crime argued she should not have to comply with DNA identification. If you are accused of an assault offense, it is important to know and understand your rights, and you should confer with a Tacoma assault defense attorney promptly.

Background of the Case

It is reported that the defendant was charged with first-degree assault. She entered a guilty plea and was convicted. Following her conviction, she was directed to provide a biological sample for purposes of DNA identification analysis. She appealed, arguing that the State already had her DNA as she had been convicted of felonies before.

DNA Identification of Criminal Defendants in Washington

The appellate court affirmed the trial court’s order compelling the defendant to provide a DNA sample. The appellate court adopted the state’s argument that the defendant’s appeal was moot. Specifically, the court noted that the Department of Corrections collected the defendant’s DNA shortly after she was sentenced, therefore removing the appellate court’s ability to provide effective relief for the alleged legal error. Continue reading

Criminal defendants have numerous rights under the state and federal constitutions, including the right to a speedy trial. If their constitutional rights are violated, it may provide grounds for vacating their convictions. Not all trial delays are deemed constitutional violations, however, as demonstrated in a recent Washington opinion issued in a matter in which the defendant appealed his conviction for assault. If you are accused of an assault offense, it is advisable to speak to a Tacoma assault defense lawyer about your rights.

The Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the defendant was charged with second degree assault in January 2020, following an incident that occurred earlier in the month. He was arraigned two weeks later, and his trial was scheduled for May 2020. His trial was continued nine times, and he was not actually tried for over a year, however. The trial delays were attributed, in part, to the COVID-19 pandemic. He was found guilty of a lesser charge, after which he appealed, arguing that the state violated his right to a speedy trial.

The Right to a Speedy Trial

The United States and Washington Constitutions both protect criminal defendants’ right to a speedy trial. The court clarified that the analysis of speedy trial rights is substantially the same under both Constitutions. Specifically, the right to a speedy trial arises when a defendant is charged with a crime or arrested, whichever occurs first. Further, if their right to a speedy trial is violated, they are entitled to the dismissal of the charges against them with prejudice. Continue reading

Generally, Washington law prohibits prosecutors from using hearsay evidence to attempt to establish a defendant’s guilt. The law permits the introduction of hearsay evidence for other purposes, however. Further, even if hearsay evidence is improperly introduced at a criminal trial, the error may not constitute sufficient grounds for overturning a guilty verdict. This was demonstrated in a recent ruling in which a court rejected a defendant’s appeal of his assault conviction even though the prosecution offered improper hearsay evidence at trial. If you are accused of assault, you may face significant penalties, and it is wise to speak to a Tacoma assault defense attorney at the Law Offices of Smith & White, PLLC to evaluate your possible defenses.

History of the Case

It is reported that the defendant and the victim became romantically involved shortly after the victim moved to Washington. One evening, they were spending time together at the defendant’s apartment when the victim received a text message from a male friend. The defendant saw the message and became angry, and the two began to argue. The disagreement became physical, and the defendant held the victim down, put his arms around her neck, and threatened to kill her.

It is alleged that the victim lost consciousness. When she awoke, the defendant kicked her in the head and prevented her from leaving. She left the next day and went to the hospital. The defendant was ultimately charged with and convicted of second-degree assault and other offenses. He appealed, arguing, among other things, that the trial court erred in allowing the prosecution to admit medical records that contained inadmissible hearsay. Continue reading

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