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Articles Posted in Assault

antique-gun-199x300Generally, 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

Separate-from-kids-300x232A 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-217x300Under 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

Speedy-Trial-243x300Criminal 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

JohnnyGenerally, 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

Woman-black-background-213x300In Washington criminal matters, the prosecution bears the burden of proving the defendant’s guilt. Specifically, the State must produce sufficient evidence to demonstrate, beyond a reasonable doubt, each element of the charged offense. If it cannot, the defendant should be deemed not guilty. Recently, a Washington court discussed what evidence is needed to prove a defendant committed an assault offense in a case in which the State charged the defendant with more than forty crimes. If you are accused of assault, it is in your best interest to speak to a Washington assault defense attorney to assess your options for seeking a just outcome.

The Facts of the Case

It is reported that the defendant and the victim began dating in March 2016. Shortly after they began dating, the defendant advised the victim that he would leave his girlfriend if the victim would prostitute herself for money. The victim began posting prostitution ads and going on prostitution calls and gave the money she earned to the defendant.

Allegedly, after the victim became a prostitute, the defendant began to hit, cut, burn, and sexually abuse her. He threatened to kill her if she did not do as he directed or attempted to leave him. In January 2018, the State charged the defendant with 45 separate criminal offenses, including second-degree assault. He was convicted on over forty counts, including the assault charges, and he appealed, arguing the State lacked sufficient evidence to prove his guilt. Continue reading

After a person is charged with a criminal offense, the court will conduct various hearings, including one in which the defendant is asked to enter a plea. While a person’s first inclination is usually to plead not guilty, in some cases, it makes sense to enter a guilty plea. Even if pleading guilty is the best strategy, it is not a decision to be made lightly, as it can have significant ramifications. Thus, the court must ensure that a defendant who wishes to enter a guilty plea is making an educated and consensual decision to do so; otherwise, the plea may be deemed involuntary. The criteria for establishing an involuntary guilty plea were the topic of a recent Washington ruling in a case in which the defendant was convicted of assault. If you are accused of assault, it is wise to speak to a Washington assault defense lawyer to evaluate your options.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the defendant was charged with numerous crimes relating to the death of the victim. After the charges had been pending for over a year, the State filed an amended information with nine charges, including first-degree assault with a firearm. Several months later, the defendant agreed to plead guilty to a count of second-degree assault and a count of first-degree manslaughter.

Allegedly, the defendant provided a written statement at the plea hearing that asserted he was guilty of second-degree assault because he assaulted the victim. The court reviewed the plea statement with the defendant and confirmed that he had reviewed it with his attorney. Thus, the defendant was found guilty as charged. He later appealed, arguing that his plea was involuntary. Continue reading

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

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