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Articles Posted in Assault

Generally, juvenile offenders are treated differently than adults, and in many instances, criminal proceedings involving minor offenders are handled by juvenile courts. Serious crimes are often handled by adult criminal courts, though, and typically a conviction in adult court will carry more significant penalties. Recently, a Washington court issued an opinion discussing whether a minor criminal defendant has the right to have his or her case heard in juvenile court, in a matter in which the defendant appealed his conviction for assault when he was a minor. If you are charged with assault, it is important to speak to a trusted Washington assault defense lawyer to determine your options.

History of the Case

Reportedly, the defendant was charged with first-degree assault when he was 16. As it was considered a serious and violent offense, the jurisdiction of the juvenile court was automatically declined, and the case was assigned to adult criminal court pursuant to Washington law. The defendant and the State subsequently reached a plea agreement, under which the charges were reduced to second-degree assault, which is a crime that is not subject to the automatic declination of the juvenile court’s jurisdiction.

It is alleged that the defendant did not waive the right to juvenile jurisdiction, and the court did not hold a declination hearing. The defendant ultimately pleaded guilty and was sentenced to nine months in prison, followed by twelve months of community supervision. Twenty-three years later, the defendant filed a motion for relief from the judgment, arguing that because it was not entered in juvenile court, it was facially invalid. The court denied his motion. Continue reading

It is not uncommon for people to be familiar with one another without knowing each other’s names. As such, if a person witnesses a casual acquaintance committing a crime, the police and prosecution may rely on pictures or video to help the witness identify the offender. Recently, a Washington court addressed the issue of whether social media posts used to identify a criminal defendant are admissible as evidence in an assault case or if doing so violates the constitutional right to confront a witness. If you are accused of assault, it is vital to meet with a skillful Washington assault defense attorney to assess your rights.

The Alleged Offense

It is reported that in October 2017, the witness encountered the defendant, who she knew from high school, in a convenience store. She spoke with him briefly, and saw him make gang signs. Before he exited the store, she saw one of his friends had lifted up his shirt to reveal a gun. The friend then gave the gun to the defendant.

Allegedly, the witness saw the defendant point the gun at a car and heard shots being fired. Bullets hit multiple windows on the vehicle. She then called the police and reported what she witnessed but could not recall the defendant’s name. When she spoke with the police in person, she showed them pictures from the defendant’s social media account. The defendant was charged with assault and unlawful possession of a firearm. He sought to suppress his social media posts from being introduced at trial, but his motion was denied. He was convicted, after which he appealed. Continue reading

Many crimes have degrees, and a defendant charged with one crime may ultimately be found guilty of a less serious offense that carries reduced penalties. Thus, in many instances, a defendant will request that the jury receive a lesser included offense instruction in hopes of avoiding a conviction for the more serious charge. A lesser included offense instruction is not appropriate in every case, but if a trial court errs in determining that such an instruction is not warranted, it may constitute grounds for reversing a conviction, as demonstrated in a recent Washington ruling issued in an assault case. If you are charged with an assault offense, it is in your best interest to speak to a trusted Washington assault defense attorney as soon as possible to assess your options.

The Alleged Assault

It is reported that the defendant lived with the victim, who was his girlfriend. The couple got into an argument, and the defendant pushed the victim to the ground. While the exact details of what transpired after that are disputed, the defendant admitted that he pinned the victim to the wall. The victim stated that he strangled her and dragged her through the apartment. The defendant was charged with second-degree assault by means of strangulation and fourth-degree assault. During his trial, he asked for a lesser included offense instruction for the fourth-degree assault charge. The court denied his request, and he was convicted on both counts. He then appealed, arguing the trial court erred in denying his request.

Lesser Included Offense Instructions

Pursuant to Washington law, a defendant is entitled to a lesser included offense instruction if every element of the lesser included offense is a necessary element of the charged offense, which is referred to as the legal prong, and if the evidence in the case supports an inference that the defendant committed the lesser offense crime, which is known as the factual prong. The court explained that while the applicable test was still valid, recent rulings had caused confusion as to whether the factual prong required evidence that only the lesser included offense was committed, to the exclusion of the greater crime. Continue reading

Criminal defendants are afforded the right to a fair trial. Among other things, this means that the State cannot introduce evidence that a defendant engaged in other wrongs, crimes, or bad acts to show that the defendant has bad character and acted in conformance with that character in committing the underlying offense. Such evidence may be admitted for other reasons, though, as long as it is not overly prejudicial. Recently, a Washington court issued an opinion discussing the preclusion of evidence of other wrongs and crimes in a case where the defendant appealed his numerous convictions for assault. If you are accused of committing an assault crime, it is in your best interest to meet with a trusted Washington criminal defense attorney to assess your possible defenses.

The Facts of the Case

It is reported that the defendant was arrested and charged with two counts of fourth-degree assault. The charges arose out of an altercation with his girlfriend. Prior to trial, the defendant moved to preclude the State from introducing evidence that he owned weapons. The trial court denied his motion, and during the trial, the State offered testimony indicating that the defendant owned a gun and kept it in the home he shared with his girlfriend. The jury found the defendant guilty as charged, after which he appealed, arguing the trial court erred in admitting evidence of his gun ownership.

Admission of Evidence of Other Crimes, Bad Acts, and Wrongs

Under Washington law, evidence of bad acts, crimes, or wrongs is inadmissible to demonstrate a person’s character or to show that the person acted in conformance with that character. Trial courts have to begin with the assumption that such evidence should not be admitted. It is permissible to admit it, however, if it is introduced to show intent, knowledge, or a lack of mistake. Continue reading

Physical altercations often follow verbal disagreements, and in some cases, it is difficult to determine who is ultimately responsible for starting a fight. Thus, in many instances in which a person is charged with assault, self-defense is a viable defense. The State may try to thwart a self-defense argument, though, by asserting that the defendant was the first aggressor and should be found guilty. The appropriateness of a first aggressor instruction was the topic of a recent ruling issued by a Washington court, in a matter in which the defendant argued the instruction was improper. If you are accused of assault, it is prudent to speak to a capable Washington assault defense attorney to evaluate your options.

The Alleged Assault

It is reported that the defendant was waiting at a bus stop where another man was also waiting. The defendant walked back and forth very close to the other man, who asked the defendant to back up. The defendant then showed the man a knife and became verbally aggressive. The man then encountered the victim in the bathroom and advised him of the defendant’s behavior. When the victim left the bathroom, the defendant started yelling at him, then punched him in the head. The two men started fighting, and the defendant stabbed the victim numerous times. The defendant was charged with two counts of assault with deadly weapon enhancements. He was convicted of both charges, after which he appealed, arguing in part that the trial court erred in giving a first aggressor instruction to the jury.

The First Aggressor Instruction

A court reviews whether there was adequate evidence submitted to warrant a first aggressor instruction de novo. If the evidence produced at trial was sufficient to support the instruction, the evidence must be viewed in the light most favorable to the party that requested the instruction. The court explained that a first aggressor instruction would not be deemed improper where there is credible evidence that would allow a jury to reasonably find that the defendant provoked the need for the victim to act in self-defense. Continue reading

Generally, the State is not permitted to introduce evidence of prior bad acts or wrongs to establish that a person violated the law on a certain occasion. In other words, the State cannot point to previous behavior in an effort to convince a jury that a defendant acted similarly on the date of an alleged crime. Evidence of other wrongs may be admitted for other reasons, however. The grounds for admitting evidence of prior acts of domestic violence was the topic of a recent Washington opinion, in a matter involving a felony violation of a no-contact order. If you are accused of a domestic violence offense, it is advisable to speak to a capable Washington domestic violence defense attorney about your rights.

The Alleged Crime

It is reported that the defendant and the victim became romantically involved when they were co-workers. At some point, a no-contact order was entered, preventing the two from associating with each other. Regardless, they saw each other at a party for their former employer. Later that evening, the victim sent a friend messages indicating she had been assaulted by the defendant. The friend went to the victim’s house and observed marks on her leg and face. He then heard someone in the garage and hid in the bathroom, and called 911.

Allegedly, during the 911 call, the defendant could be heard engaging in an altercation with the victim. The police arrived and arrested the defendant, who was charged with felony violation of a no-contact order. He was convicted, after which he appealed, arguing in part that the trial court erred in admitting evidence of prior acts of domestic violence at his trial. Continue reading

Assault charges can result in substantial penalties, but simply because someone is charged with assault does not mean that the State can obtain a conviction. In many cases, there are numerous defenses a person can assert, including self-defense. Recently, a Washington court explained what evidence a defendant must set forth to demonstrate that an action was taken in self-defense, in a matter in which the defendant appealed his conviction for assault with a deadly weapon. If you are charged with assault, it is vital to meet with a dedicated Washington assault defense attorney to discuss your possible defenses.

The Alleged Assault

It is reported that the defendant lived with his wife in an apartment, and his mother-in-law and father-in-law lived in the same complex. The defendant became abusive towards his wife, and she obtained a no-contact order against him, but she continued to live with him regardless. She eventually told him she wanted a divorce due to his behavior. The following day, she left the apartment to take their children to school and returned home after a short time. When she arrived in her apartment, she found her mother bleeding on the floor. The mother, who suffered critical injuries, indicated that the defendant had assaulted her. The defendant was charged with multiple crimes, including first-degree assault with a deadly weapon. He was convicted of assault, after which he filed an appeal, arguing in part that the State failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he was not acting in self-defense.

Proving an Assault Constitutes Self-Defense

Under Washington law, to obtain a conviction for assault, the State must prove that the defendant acted with the intent to cause great bodily harm and did, in fact, inflict significant harm. If a defendant raises a claim that he was acting in self-defense, the burden shifts to the State to demonstrate, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant was not acting in self-defense. Continue reading

Typically, when a crime is committed, the police do not actually witness the offense and must rely on eyewitness reports and other evidence to attempt to identify a defendant. Mere suspicion alone is not sufficient to arrest a person, however, as the police must have probable cause to believe that a person committed a criminal offense prior to taking a person into custody. What constitutes probable cause was the topic of a recent Washington opinion issued by a court in a case in which the defendant appealed his conviction for assault and other crimes on the basis that his arrest was improper. If you are charged with assault, it is in your best interest to speak to a skillful Washington assault defense attorney to evaluate your rights.

Factual History

It is alleged that in November 2017, the victim called 911 and reported that the defendant, who was her boyfriend, came into her apartment, struck her in the face, and held a gun to her stomach while threatening to kill her unborn baby. The victim exited the apartment, which the police then surrounded, ordering the defendant to come out with his hands up.

It is reported that the defendant did not come out of the apartment but was arrested shortly thereafter behind the apartment next door. He was charged with assault and other crimes. A jury convicted him, after which he appealed, arguing in part that the police lacked probable cause to arrest him and therefore his arrest and conviction were unlawful. The court disagreed and affirmed his conviction.

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People convicted of crimes of domestic violence are often prohibited from interacting with their victims via domestic violence no-contact orders. Thus, if a person subject to a no-contact order subsequently contacts the victim, it may result in additional criminal charges. While a no-contact order must be valid to be enforceable, there are specific parameters for objecting to an order as improper. The failure to comply with the correct procedural process can result in the waiver of rights, as demonstrated in a recent Washington ruling. If you are accused of violating a no-contact order or committing another crime of domestic violence, it is advisable to meet with a Washington domestic violence defense attorney to assess your options.

The Defendant’s Alleged Violation

Allegedly, the defendant was convicted of fourth-degree assault, which was a crime of domestic violence in October 2017. The court issued a five-year domestic violence no-contact order, barring the defendant from interacting with the victim either indirectly or directly or being within 500 feet of her. The defendant continued to contact the victim regardless, however.

It is reported that in January 2018 and March 2018, incidents occurred in which the defendant assaulted the victim. During the second incident, he took her purse as well. He was subsequently charged with two felony violations of the domestic violence no-contact order and robbery. Following a trial, the jury convicted the defendant, and he was sentenced to five years in prison. He then appealed, arguing in part that the no-contact order was invalid.

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In a criminal case, it is the prosecution’s duty to try to convince the jury that the defendant is guilty of the charged offenses. The prosecution must remain within the confines of the law, however, and cannot introduce evidence or testimony that is improper, as it may be prejudicial and result in an unjust verdict. Recently, a Washington court discussed what constitutes an improper and harmful statement in a case in which the defendant was convicted of multiple crimes, including assault. If you are accused of assault, it is advisable to meet with a Washington assault defense attorney to determine your options.

History of the Case

It is alleged that the defendant was raised by the victim, who was his grandmother. As he grew older, their relationship deteriorated. He ultimately moved out and went to live with the victim’s former romantic partner. One evening he entered the victim’s home and injected drugs into his arm. The victim told him to leave, after which the defendant held a gun to her head, stating he would kill her. He then struck the victim in the head with the gun.

It is reported that the victim and another individual were found dead. The defendant was charged with numerous crimes, including assault and murder, to which he pleaded not guilty. During its closing statement, the prosecution directed the jury that it should feel right in the gut, heart, and head to find the defendant guilty. The defendant was convicted, after which he appealed, arguing that the statements were prejudicial and amounted to prosecutorial misconduct.

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