Justia Lawyer Rating
AV Preeminent
Avvo Client's Choice Award 2018
Avvo Rating 10 - Top Attorney
BBB Business Accredited
2019 Champion of Justice

Domestic violence no-contact orders are required to provide sufficient information to give notice to the party prohibited from contact of the terms of the prohibition. No-contact orders are not required to be exact, however, and a defendant can be convicted of violating an order even if some of the information is inaccurate.

For example, in State of Washington v. Michael Dwayne Harris, the Court of Appeals of the State of Washington upheld a conviction for violation of a no-contact order where the victim’s race was improperly identified, finding the order nonetheless provided sufficient notice to the defendant regarding who he was prohibited from contacting. If you are charged with a violation of a no-contact order, you should seek the assistance of an experienced Washington domestic violence defense attorney to assess what evidence the state may use against you.

Alleged Violation of the No-Contact Order

Allegedly, the defendant was prohibited from contacting a woman identified as his intimate partner via a domestic violence no-contact order (the Order). The Order also set forth the date of the woman’s birth and identified her as African-American. Four years after the order was issued, the defendant’s wife called the police to report the defendant assaulted her. The defendant was arrested, after which he admitted to being at his wife’s home but stated that she assaulted him. He also admitted there was a no-contact order that barred him from contacting his wife but he believed it had expired. The police then confirmed that the birthdate of the party protected by the Order was the same as the defendant’s wife’s birthdate. The defendant was charged with violating the Order.

Continue reading

If you are accused of a DUI, whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or felony offense depends on whether you have previously been convicted of vehicular assault under Washington law. As the Washington Court of Appeals explained in Washington v. Allen, however, not all vehicular assaults are treated equally in terms of evaluating subsequent charges. Rather, only certain vehicular assault convictions serve as a basis for enhanced charges. If you are charged with a DUI, it is essential to your defense to retain an experienced Washington DUI defense attorney to analyze the circumstances regarding your arrest and what evidence the state may attempt to introduce against you.

Facts of the Case

Purportedly, the defendant in Allen was charged with a felony DUI, due to a prior conviction of vehicular assault under the influence. The trial was bifurcated per the defendant’s request. The first issue submitted to the jury was whether the defendant was guilty of DUI, which the jury determined he was. The second issue submitted to the jury was whether the defendant’s prior conviction for vehicular assault provided sufficient grounds to convict the defendant of a felony offense. On the second issue, the state introduced records from the defendant’s prior case as well as testimony from the arresting officer in the defendant’s prior case as to the defendant’s behavior at the time of his prior arrest. Based on the evidence presented, the jury found that the defendant was previously convicted of vehicular assault while under the influence of alcohol. The defendant subsequently appealed the jury’s finding regarding his prior conviction.

Continue reading

Under Washington law, evidence that a victim’s account of an alleged assault has remained consistent is inadmissible to corroborate the victim’s testimony. As outlined in Washington v. Kleinsmith, however, a failure to make a timely objection to inadmissible testimony will result in a waiver of the objection. In Kleinsmith, the Court of Appeals of the State of Washington upheld the defendant’s conviction for second-degree assault regardless of the fact the prosecutor introduced inadmissible testimony regarding the victim’s credibility, due to the defendant’s counsel’s failure to make a timely objection to the testimony. If you are charged with assault, it is essential to your defense to retain an experienced Washington assault defense attorney who will fight to have any inadmissible testimony precluded from evidence.

Facts of the Case

Reportedly, the defendant and her alleged victim were neighbors in an apartment building. The victim heard someone sag to “get out” as she walked past the defendant’s apartment, and when she turned around, she saw a woman with a butcher knife. The victim further alleged the woman began to chase her and screamed, “don’t come back.” The victim reported the incident to an employee in the building’s front office, who called the police.  The victim described her assailant as a blonde woman wearing a t-shirt and shorts. When the police arrived, the building employee advised them that the defendant matched the physical description of the assailant.

Allegedly, the police repeatedly knocked on the defendant’s door, but she would not answer. The police eventually opened the defendant’s apartment with a key. When they entered the apartment, the defendant came from the back of the apartment and advised she was sleeping. The defendant was arrested and informed of her Miranda rights, after which she requested an attorney. She asked the officers to retrieve items from her apartment, and one of the officers noticed a large knife by the kitchen sink. As the defendant was escorted from the building, the victim advised the officers she was “one hundred percent” sure that the defendant was her assailant. The defendant did not testify at the trial. The building employee and arresting officer both testified and stated the victim’s story remained consistent. The defendant was convicted of assault in the second degree, after which she appealed.

Continue reading

Under Washington law, to convict a defendant of third-degree assault of a law enforcement officer the state is required to prove the officer was performing his or her job duties at the time of the assault and that the defendant intended to hit the officer. In Washington v. Eagle, the Court of Appeals of the State of Washington upheld the defendant’s conviction for third-degree assault of an officer, finding the officer’s testimony that he was performing his job at the time of the incident and believed the defendant intended to hit him was sufficient evidence of the crime charged. If you face assault charges, it is important to retain a Washington assault defense attorney who will aggressively advocate on your behalf.

Facts of the Case

Purportedly, a bystander called the police after she heard a man and woman fighting. When the police arrived, they spoke with a woman who stated the defendant hit her and pushed her to the ground. One of the police officers called the defendant, and the defendant agreed to meet with the officer at a park. After the defendant arrived, he spoke with the officer. The officer then advised the defendant he was under arrest. The defendant did not surrender to the arrest, and an altercation ensued, during which the officer had to force the defendant to the ground. The altercation was recorded via a surveillance camera. The defendant was charged with fourth-degree assault of the woman, but the charge was dropped. He was also charged with third-degree assault of a law enforcement officer.

Under Washington law, self-defense is a valid defense to an assault charge. If a jury is not properly instructed on the law regarding self-defense, however, a defendant may be improperly convicted. In Washington v. Backemeyer, the Court of Appeals of the State of Washington overturned the Defendant’s conviction for assault and granted him a new trial after finding the defense counsel performed deficiently in failing to ensure the jury received a proper self-defense instruction, which was prejudicial to the Defendant. If you face assault charges, it is essential to your case to retain an attorney who is well-versed in the defenses to the crime you are charged with and can adequately convey the defenses to the jury. You should consult a seasoned Washington assault defense attorney to discuss your options.

Facts of the Case

Allegedly, in Backemeyer, the Defendant was in a bar when he was asked to leave by an individual who identified himself as a bouncer. The Defendant told the bouncer to leave him alone and began pushing the bouncer, after which the bouncer pushed the Defendant to the floor and got on top of him. The Defendant, who was significantly smaller than the bouncer, pulled out a knife and began cutting the bouncer. The Defendant was subsequently charged with first-degree assault with a deadly weapon. During the trial, the Defendant testified he was afraid of being seriously injured and was acting in self-defense, and that he did not know the bouncer was a bar employee.

Contact DUI attorneys Smith and White to discuss an alternative to jail time for a DUI charge.

If you’ve been charged with a DUI, Pierce County offers an alternative to jail time. Immediately contact your attorney to see if you qualify for serving time in a detox facility versus the Pierce County Jail. Proper representation is crucial in DUI and DWI cases, a service DUI attorneys Smith and White provide.

What are some of the benefits?

Under Washington law, if a person violates the terms of a no-contact order by assaulting the protected person, he or she can be convicted of a felony. Further, a person subject to a no-contact order cannot violate the terms of the order, regardless of the reason for doing so. In State of Washington v. Steven Brian Yelovich, the Supreme Court of the State of Washington reiterated this standard, in holding that a person subject to a no-contact order could not use the affirmative defense of defense of property when charged with a felony violation of the order due to assault. If you are charged with a violation of a no-contact order, it is in your best interest to consult an experienced Washington domestic violence defense attorney to discuss defenses available to the charges you face.

Facts of the Case

The suspect dated his alleged victim for five years. At some point thereafter, victim obtained a court order prohibiting the suspect from contacting her or causing her any physical harm. The suspect was at his son’s house moving boxes from the garage. The suspect’s car was parked in the driveway approximately four feet from the garage. The suspect thought he saw someone near his car. When the suspect checked his car, the passenger window was broken and items including his cell phone had been removed from the car. He then saw the victim walking down the street. The suspect believed the victim broke into his car and allegedly began following her with his car, regardless of the fact he was prohibited from contacting her. Shortly thereafter he exited his vehicle and reportedly assaulted the victim. The suspect was charged with felony violation of a no-contact order due to his alleged assault.

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.

If you are charged with a crime, whether or not you are convicted largely depends on what evidence the state is permitted to use against you at trial. Under Washington law, the state must set forth independent evidence of a crime before any confessions made by a suspect may be considered as evidence of guilt. In State of Washington v. Abdirauf A. Isse, the Court of Appeals of the State of Washington held that circumstantial evidence that a suspect was driving a vehicle while intoxicated was sufficient evidence to support a DUI charge, and therefore, the suspect’s statements that he was driving the vehicle were admissible. If you were charged with a DUI, it is essential to your defense to retain an experienced Washington DUI defense attorney to analyze the facts of your case and what defenses you can assert against the charges you face.

Facts of the Case

Allegedly, a police officer responded to the scene of a one-vehicle accident that occurred on an interstate highway. The suspect and a tow truck driver were present at the scene upon the officer’s arrival. The suspect stated he hit black ice and lost control of the vehicle. He retrieved the vehicle registration upon request, but stated the car was registered to his cousin. The suspect did not have a license. Upon realizing the vehicle would be towed, the suspect allegedly became angry and began to yell at the responding officer. The officer observed an odor of alcohol on the suspect’s breath and began to investigate the suspect for suspicion of DUI. During the investigation the suspect spit on several police officers. The suspect was subsequently charged with third degree assault and DUI. Prior to his trial, the suspect moved to suppress any statements he made during his arrest, which the court denied. Following the state’s presentation of its case, the suspect moved to dismiss the DUI charge, which the court denied as well. The suspect was convicted on both charges. He subsequently appealed his DUI charge.

Contact Information