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DV-200x300Para la ley del estado de Washington, un acto de violencia doméstica incluye prácticamente cualquier delito que haya sido cometido por un familiar o miembro del hogar.  Para saber más, pregunte a nuestros abogados de violencia doméstica en Tacoma en Smith & White, PLLC.

Como puede apreciar, esta definición es bastante amplia, por lo cual es importante aclarar que:

La violencia incluye entre otros:

HearsayTypically, witnesses for the state must testify in person, and if the state attempts to introduce a person’s out-of-court statements instead of offering them as a witness at trial, their statements may be precluded as hearsay. If the defendant engaged in certain wrongful acts that prevented the person from testifying, though, the court may find that the defendant forfeited the right to object to the submission of out-of-court statements. This issue arose in a recent Washington domestic violence case in which the court ultimately determined that the defendant waived the right to an appeal by failing to raise the issue at trial. If you are charged with a domestic violence crime, it is prudent to confer with a Tacoma domestic violence defense lawyer at Smith & White, PLLC to assess your rights.

The Facts of the Case

It is reported that the defendant was charged with multiple counts of violating a domestic violence protection order. When he was in jail after his arrest, he made numerous calls to the victim and asked her not to testify against him at trial. She agreed and, in her absence, the state introduced calls the defendant made from jail to the number used by the victim when she called 911 to report the initial violation. The jury deemed the defendant guilty, and he appealed.

The Forfeiture by Wrongdoing Exception to Hearsay

On appeal, the defendant argued that the trial court erred by admitting the phone calls into evidence because it presumed that he was the caller instead of finding that the evidence demonstrating he was the caller was cogent, clear, and convincing. The court explained that the rule against hearsay does not apply if a party engages in wrongdoing that constitutes a waiver of the hearsay rule. The appellate court noted, though, that the point was moot as the defendant did not object when the state offered the subject calls into evidence at trial and expressly stated that he did not contest the issue of identity. Continue reading

The state and federal constitutions offer numerous rights and protections to criminal defendants, including the right to a speedy trial.  These apply to all Pierce County and Tacoma DUI cases.  Speedy-Trial-243x300Thus, if a criminal defendant is subjected to undue delays during the pendency of their trial, they may be able to successfully advocate for dismissal of the charges against them, regardless of the strength of the prosecution’s case. Recently, a Washington court discussed the evidence a defendant must produce to demonstrate their speedy trial rights have been violated in a matter in which the defendant was charged with DUI and other crimes. If you are accused of a DUI offense, it is smart to contact a Washington criminal defense attorney to discuss your rights.

Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the defendant was charged with numerous crimes, including driving while under the influence following a police chase. He was incarcerated during the pendency of his trial for a total of 18 months. He was subsequently convicted, after which he sought an appeal, arguing that the trial court violated his right to a speedy trial when it granted multiple continuances in spite of his objections.

The Right to a Speedy Trial

The appellate court was not persuaded by the defendant’s reasoning and rejected his appeal. The analysis the courts conduct to determine if a defendant’s speedy trial rights have been violated are largely the same under both the state and federal constitutions. Specifically, the courts employ the Barker test, which is fact-specific and depends on the unique circumstances of the case. Continue reading

blood-test-200x300Tener un cargo criminal por conducir en estado de ebriedad (DUI por sus siglas en inglés) es una cuestión seria. Un convicto por DUI puede perder su licencia, pasar tiempo en la cárcel y pagar una costosa multa. Sin embargo, una persona acusada de DUI puede evitar estas consecuencias si prueba en la corte que el examen químico que se le administró no fue válido. Una prueba química puede alterarse de muchas maneras, y si esto sucede, el acusado puede pedir que se le quiten sus cargos criminales.  ¿Cómo determinan las autoridades si alguien está ebrio?

¿Se puede desafiar una prueba química después de un arresto?

En el estado de Washington, una persona adulta comete el crimen de DUI si tiene más de 0.08% de alcohol en la sangre (enlace en inglés). Para medir cuánto alcohol tiene una persona en la sangre, la policía debe administrar una prueba química a quienes sospechan que están conduciendo en estado de ebriedad. Hay tres diferentes tipos de pruebas químicas que se le pueden administrar a un conductor: Continue reading

firearmII-225x300Under Washington law, people convicted of felonies typically lose their right to possess firearms. As such, if they are found with a weapon in their possession, they may be charged with criminal offenses. The State does not actually have to catch a person holding a gun to convict them of unlawfully possessing a weapon, though, as discussed in a recent Washington opinion in which the court affirmed the defendant’s conviction for unlawfully possessing a gun. If you are accused of a firearms offense, it is advisable to consult a Washington weapons charges defense lawyer to discuss your options for seeking a favorable outcome.

Facts of the Case

Allegedly, the defendant took his girlfriend to the hospital after she was shot in the back. He ran into the emergency department screaming that she had a gunshot wound and then immediately left the building. He later returned and reported that they were cleaning, and he heard a pop and saw that his girlfriend had fallen to the floor. He later reported that he accidentally shot her.

It is reported that the State charged the defendant, a convicted felon, with assault with a deadly weapon and unlawful possession of a firearm. A jury convicted him, after which he appealed, arguing in part that the State lacked sufficient evidence to obtain a conviction for the weapons charge. Continue reading


Respecto al uso general de “borrar antecedentes penales” es importante distinguir que, si usted es residente del estado de Washington, eliminar o borrar su “historial criminal” solo es posible en casos de delitos por los que usted nunca fue condenado. Si existió una condena, no existe la posibilidad de eliminar esos antecedentes. Sí, existe sin embargo la posibilidad de revocar o revertir la condena pero no se borra, no es como si nunca hubiese existido.

Este proceso involucra peticionar ante la corte (enlace en inglés), no ante la Patrulla del Estado de Washington.

A continuación, abordaremos el hipotético escenario en el que usted haya sido condenado y esté evaluando la posibilidad de revocar sus antecedentes penales.

Cómo peticionar

Los pedidos concernientes a la revocación de antecedentes deben hacerse ante la administración de la corte que emitió la resolución. Por lo tanto, solo la corte que trató su caso podrá considerar pedidos referentes a este. Cuando hay casos en más de una corte, debe acudirse a cada una de ellas.

El éxito de una petición de revocación de un antecedente dependerá del tipo de delito y la corte que dictó el veredicto (de adultos o juveniles).


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

MoneyA conviction for a DUI crime may result in significant criminal and civil penalties, including fines. The courts have the discretion to decide whether to impose some fines, while others are mandatory. Generally, mandatory fines may only be suspended in limited circumstances, and if the court suspends such penalties without conducting the required analysis, they may be reinstituted, as demonstrated in a recent Washington matter in which the defendant was convicted of a DUI crime and other offenses. If you are accused of a DUI offense, it is advisable to confer with a Washington DUI defense lawyer to discuss what defenses you may be able to set forth to avoid a conviction.

History of the Case

It is reported that the defendant was arrested and charged with numerous crimes, including DUI. The jury convicted him of the charged offenses, and the court imposed numerous costs and discretionary legal financial obligations. Specifically, the court imposed $1,245.00 in DUI fees, fines, and assessments, and $200 for a blood alcohol content fee. The defendant appealed, arguing that the trial court failed to conduct an individualized analysis as to his ability to pay the fees.

¿Puedo borrar antecedentes penales en Washington? Opciones si usted no fue condenado.Shredded-Paper

Lo primero que hay que aclarar antes de abordar este tema, es que existen dos términos que parecen ser lo mismo, pero no lo son.

En inglés, estos términos son “expungement” y “vacation”, y en español muchas veces son traducidos como “borrar antecedentes”. Sin embargo, puede ser más entendible pensar en sus traducciones como “suprimir” y “revocar”.


Hace solo algunos meses, las consecuencias por posesión de droga en el estado de Washington dieron cambio por completo. El caso que desató el cambio de paradigma fue Blake vs el estado de Washington.

Shannon Blake fue arrestada en el año 2016 en el marco de una investigación por robo de vehículos. Fue entonces cuando un policía descubrió que tenía una bolsa de metanfetamina en el bolsillo de sus jeans. Blake se defendió diciendo que los jeans no eran suyos sino de un amigo y que desconocía que había droga en el bolsillo.

La carga probatoria

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