Articles Posted in Firearms

In Washington, there are certain factors that can increase a person’s sentence if he or she is convicted of a crime. For example, firearm enhancements can increase the sentence for a felony conviction. A Washington appellate court recently discussed the sufficiency of evidence needed to support a firearm enhancement in a case in which the defendant argued that there was insufficient evidence to support the enhancement following her assault, kidnapping, and robbery convictions. If you are charged with a criminal offense involving the use of a firearm, it is important to retain an experienced Washington criminal defense attorney to analyze what evidence the State may introduce against you and the effect any evidence may have in the event of a conviction.

Facts Surrounding the Alleged Crime

It is reported that the defendant and two other individuals robbed multiple people inside a house. The defendant demanded money and drugs from one of the victims. Additionally, at three different points during the robbery, she allegedly pointed what appeared to be a gun at people. Ultimately, the defendant and her accomplices left the home. They were apprehended about a mile from the house. After searching the vehicle in which the defendant and her accomplices were traveling, the police found a rifle, a shotgun, and two pistols. On further inspection, however, it was revealed that only the shotgun was a real gun, as the rifle and pistols were pellet guns. The defendant was charged with a multitude of crimes, including robbery, assault, and kidnapping. Following a trial, a jury found her guilty on all charges and found that she was armed with a firearm during the crimes. The defendant appealed on several grounds. One of the arguments set forth by the defendant was that there was insufficient evidence to support the firearm enhancements to her kidnapping, robbery, and assault convictions.

Under Washington law, if a person is convicted of more than one crime, any sentences imposed typically run concurrently. Courts have the discretion to order sentences to run consecutively, however, and such orders will not be overturned absent an abuse of discretion.

A Washington appellate court recently affirmed a court’s order for consecutive sentences following a defendant’s conviction for unlawful possession of a firearm, in part due to the defendant’s repeated commission of the offense. If you are charged with unlawful possession of a firearm, you should consult a seasoned Washington criminal defense attorney to discuss your case.

Charges Against the Defendant

Reportedly, the defendant was convicted of drug offenses and armed robbery as a juvenile, for which he served a three-year prison term. Following his release, he married and began his own business. Then, in 2015, he was charged with two counts of unlawful possession of a firearm and promoting prostitution in Pierce County. He was released pending trial with the condition that he not engage in illegal conduct or possess any firearms or weapons. He failed to appear for a scheduled hearing, after which the court issued a bench warrant. The defendant was arrested in King County and had a firearm in his possession at the time of his arrest.  He was subsequently charged with unlawful possession of a firearm. Later that month, he was charged with second-degree assault with intent to commit second-degree rape.

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A Washington law known as the Sentencing Reform Act provides standard sentencing ranges that set forth what the legislature has deemed an appropriate sentence for a crime. A sentencing court is not always required to abide by the standard sentence, and in some cases may set forth an exceptional sentence, which is a sentence that is below the sentencing range.

Recently, a Washington Court of Appeals explained when a court’s refusal to issue an exceptional sentence and noted that a court’s discretion to impose an exceptional sentence does not extend to deadly weapon enhancements.  If you face charges for a crime that involves the use of a deadly weapon, you should speak with a knowledgeable  Washington criminal defense attorney to discuss your available defenses.

Facts Surrounding the Alleged Crimes

Reportedly, the defendant participated in what he believed was an organized robbery of a marijuana dispensary with some of the dispensary employees. The dispensary supervisor saw the robbery on surveillance video and called 911. The defendant and his co-conspirators were subsequently arrested and the defendant was charged with robbery in the first degree and unlawful imprisonment.

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If you are charged with a crime, in part, due to a firearm found during a search without a warrant it is essential to determine whether the search constituted an unreasonable search and seizure and therefore, the evidence of the gun should be suppressed.

A Washington court of appeals recently discussed the grounds for permitting a Terry stop, an exception to the rule a warrant is needed to conduct a search, in assessing whether to overturn convictions based on a firearm and other evidence found during the stop. If you are charged with a firearm related crime, it is in your best interest to retain an experienced Washington criminal defense attorney to fight to preclude evidence that the State should not be permitted to use.

Facts Regarding the Traffic Stop

Reportedly, in the early morning hours of October 16, 2015, the police received four calls within a few minutes regarding an active shooter at a gas station. A police officer responded to the call and observed two men sitting in an SUV near the entrance of the gas station parking lot. The men matched the description of the shooters that were provided in the 911 calls. The officer initiated a traffic stop and ordered the passengers of the SUV to exit the vehicle. The passengers were frisked, handcuffed, read their Miranda warnings, and placed in the back of a police car.

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If you are charged with a crime, it is important to understand the penalties you may face if you are convicted. There is a range of penalties that may be imposed following a conviction, including restitution. Restitution can only be ordered in circumstances, however.

A Washington Court of Appeals recently analyzed the grounds for ordering restitution in State v. Walls, a case in which the defendant objected to a restitution order following a conviction for theft of a weapon. If you are charged with a weapons crime, you should meet with a skilled Washington criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to discuss the charges you face and possible defenses.

Facts Regarding the Defendant’s Alleged Crime  

Reportedly, the defendant was served with a no-contact order for assaulting his wife. He then visited a friend and asked the friend if he could look at his guns. When the friend went into another room, the defendant stole one of the friend’s pistols. He then went to his estranged wife’s home and used the pistol to threaten his wife and her boyfriend. The defendant admitted he stole the pistol from his friend, after which the police placed the gun into evidence. The defendant was charged with several crimes, including theft of a firearm. He pled guilty to the charges and agreed to pay restitution as part of his plea agreement. The State subsequently requested restitution for the stolen pistol, to which the defendant objected. The trial court overruled the defendant’s objection and ordered the defendant to pay $440 in restitution. The defendant appealed.

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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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Under Washington law, a person who has lost their firearm rights due to a conviction of certain felonies may petition the court to have his or her firearm rights restored after a five year period without any convictions or charges. In State of Washington v. Edgar Dennis III, the Supreme Court of the State of Washington held that a person eligible for restitution of firearm rights after five years need not prove that the five year period immediately precedes the application for restoration. If you were prohibited from possessing firearms due to a prior conviction and would like to have your right to possess a firearm reinstated, you should consult an experienced Washington weapons charge defense attorney to discuss your options.

Facts of the Case

Allegedly, in 1991, Petitioner was convicted of robbery, assault, and two felony violations of the Uniform Controlled Substances Act, after which he was prohibited from possessing a firearm.  Petitioner was also convicted of third-degree assault in 1998. Petitioner was not convicted of any crimes for the next fifteen years. Then, in 2014, petitioner was convicted of negligent driving, which is a misdemeanor. In 2016, petitioner filed a petition for restoration of his firearm rights, without disclosing his 2014 conviction. The state objected, arguing that the law required a five year period in which the petitioner was free of convictions, which must immediately precede the petition. The court denied the petition. Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration, arguing that any five year period without convictions met the five-year requirement set forth under the law. The court denied the motion, after which the petitioner appealed. The appellate court affirmed the trial court ruling, after which petitioner appealed to the Supreme Court of the State of Washington.

A felony conviction may affect your ability to possess a handgun under Washington law. If you are prohibited from possessing a firearm due to a conviction, the state must advise you of the prohibition at the time of your conviction, and the state must show that you were advised of the prohibition to prosecute you for unlawful possession of a firearm. In State of Washington v. Joaquin David Garcia, the Supreme Court of the State of Washington held, however, that a suspect could be convicted of unlawful possession of a firearm even if he or she was not advised of the prohibition at the time of his or her conviction, if he or she later became aware of the prohibition. If you are charged with unlawful possession of a firearm, it is important to confer with a knowledgeable Washington weapons charge defense attorney to ensure your rights are protected.

Facts of the Case

Purportedly, the suspect’s girlfriend advised her physician during an appointment that the suspect threatened her and was in the waiting room with a gun. Upon arrival of the police, the suspect allegedly admitted he had a gun but stated it was his girlfriend’s. The suspect further advised the officer he was a convicted felon and was not permitted to carry a gun. The officer found a gun on the suspect’s person.

A famous song from the 1960s, borrowing from Jewish and Christian scriptures, states that there is a “time to every purpose under heaven.” Encounters with police can be like that. Which is to say, when interacting with the police, there is a time to be very forthcoming, and there is a time to refrain from speaking. Suffice it to say, whatever the specifics of your situation may be, the first thing you say when you encounter a law enforcement officer should probably not be, “I did it.” One man from southwestern Washington made that mistake in his case, a case in which the Washington Court of Appeals upheld his conviction.

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One of the proclaimed hallmarks of the United States, including Washington’s, judicial system is the fact that everyone is innocent until they are proven guilty. This applies to all people. So this applies to any accused person no matter what they are accused of. So this should apply to people accused of domestic violence.

However, if you or someone you love has been accused of domestic violence you probably feel like you are already being punished. You probably especially feel unjustly punished if you are the alleged victim and had no intention of pressing charges but your partner was arrested anyway because of the mandatory arrest law. You will have had a no contact order put on you. This will have made it impossible to converse with your partner either directly or indirectly. It has probably kept you out of your home. It may have made it difficult to go to work. It will have kept you from any children you have with your partner. You have had your gun rights taken away. If you have a job where a gun is required, you are out of work. You may have been ordered not to drink alcohol or have had other restrictions put on you. You probably already feel stigmatized by your family, friends or any else who is aware of the accusations.

Undoubtedly you want this whole experience to be over. Your defense attorney is required to bring you any plea bargain that the prosecution proposes. When he does it is likely that he will counsel you against taking it. You, on the other hand, may see it as a way out your current mess and may very well want to take it. It would be wise to listen to why he counsels against it. He knows what you are facing for the rest of your life if you accept. Continue reading

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