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The limits of gun rights restoration in Washington

Being accused of certain weapons crimes, such as felony gun charges or assault with a deadly weapon, can be a highly confusing experience. From figuring out the court system to understanding what one's rights are before the law, it helps to have experienced guidance. One of the topics that are often brought to the attention of criminal defense attorneys is the restoration of gun rights in Washington State.

It is possible for some individuals to have their gun rights restored in Washington. However, it can be quite complicated to even determine if one fits the requirements for getting certain gun rights restored. Speaking with an attorney can clarify the process and make applying much more manageable. There are many misconceptions about gun rights restoration; it may be helpful to know that, while a successful restoration of gun rights can bring many benefits to an individual, there are limits to the rights restored.

Teen gets hit by Spokane police car, faces drug charges

As mentioned in last week's post, police misconduct has featured in the news prominently recently. Whether conducting an illegal search and seizure or infringing on the rights of a suspect, unlawful police behavior may come under intense scrutiny. Last month in Spokane, a teenager was driving when his vehicle was struck by a police car. However, the teen was the one who left the scene facing criminal charges.

The incident took place on December 8, when, according to a report, a Spokane police cruiser went through a red light. The police SUV and a Honda being driven by a 16-year-old collided, but the aftermath of the crash has not been without controversy. Officials recently charged the teen with driving under the influence. According to police the young driver smelled of marijuana and exhibited bloodshot eyes. Court records show that the teenager apparently admitted to smoking marijuana a few hours prior to the crash.

Federal drug charges can intimidate, but help is available

Regardless of whether one lives in Washington, Idaho or any other state in the U.S., federal law is something that everyone must abide by. In Washington, where some marijuana use is legal, residents may still find themselves facing federal drug charges related to marijuana or narcotics. When this happens, a Spokane criminal defense attorney can provide invaluable representation in the midst of intimidating charges.

One of the reasons why federal charges can be so daunting is because the penalties for conviction on federal drug charges tend to be quite steep. However, just because someone is charged with a crime doesn't mean they have to spend the rest of their lives paying the price. With an experienced attorney by one's side, a defendant may be able to see charges dropped or dismissed. In addition, the skill of a competent federal crimes lawyer can ensure a plea deal is truly favorable to a defendant.

Combating weapons charges easier with trusted counsel

Gun rights are a hot topic across the U.S. right now, especially in areas like Washington where the sporting life of the outdoors often goes hand in hand with owning a firearm. When one is a gun owner, one enjoys certain rights but also has key responsibilities. When gun ownership goes wrong, the person is possession of a firearm can face damaging weapons charges. What can a person do to protect against overzealous prosecution?

Just as guns are a source of protection, so is the law. A Spokane criminal defense attorney with experience resolving weapons crimes can be a valuable protector of a Washington resident's rights. There are stiff penalties for weapons-related offenses, whether one is facing federal gun charges, accusations of possession of a weapon during the commission of a felony or allegations of robbery or assault using a deadly weapon. For the accused, the criminal justice system can seem overwhelming and incredibly confusing. Having trusted counsel by one's side can be an immense advantage, however.

Federal drug charges and the Constitution's Supremacy Clause

Terms such as "supremacy clause" might remind some residents of their days in school, learning about the U.S. Constitution and memorizing specific elements. Some parts of the Constitution, though, have the ability to affect some Washington residents' daily lives, particularly if those residents use marijuana for either medical or recreational reasons. As many may know, both medical and recreational marijuana is legal in the state of Washington, though there are many exceptions. Still, it is possible to face federal drug charges over marijuana use even if such use is within the boundaries of state laws on the subject.

How is this possible? In the United States, both state and federal laws govern people's lives. Nonetheless, Article VI of the U.S. Constitution dictates that federal law is the "supreme" law of the land. This is known as the Supremacy Clause, and it means that judges in all states must not only obey the Constitution but also federal laws. The doctrine of preemption is closely related to the Supremacy Clause and essentially means that federal law can override state law if the two are not the same.

Female UFC fighter faces assault charges in Spokane

Going out for a night of drinks is something that many Spokane residents do on the weekends or during the holidays. Usually it's just a fun time and nothing more, but sometimes things go terribly wrong during what was supposed to be a festive evening. Recently, a Spokane resident and professional fighter was allegedly involved in a supposed bar fight at a downtown establishment.

Early on a Sunday morning, police were called to Zola's in Spokane in order to quell an alleged fight. Spokane officers arrested Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fighter Julianna Pena as well as one other individual. Pena is now facing assault charges. The two counts, if followed by a criminal conviction, could carry up to $5,000 in fines as well as up to a year in jail. While Pena was initially booked in a local jail, she was released about 12 hours later on bail of $2,000.

Penalties for federal drug trafficking charges

Since Washington loosened its marijuana possession laws less than two years ago, many of us have become accustomed to the idea that some drug laws are not as rigid as they used to be. However, it's important to remember that drug charges remain very serious for most other types of recreational drugs. For other drug related crimes, the penalties can be severe.

Drug trafficking is considered one of the most serious drug crimes under federal law. The exact penalties depend upon several factors, including the amount and type of the drug found in possession of the accused, but those found with more than specified amount of the drug are presumed to be trafficking.

Federal crimes and the role of a U.S. District Court

Most Spokane-area residents who are charged with a crime will probably be charged at the local level - that is, a Spokane police officer, or an officer of another local city, will likely be the one to initiate charges against someone. This tends to be true whether the charge is a misdemeanor or a felony; it is also true regarding the common civil traffic offenses that many people have had to deal with at one point or another.

There are additional types of criminal charges, though, that someone in the local area could find themselves facing. Certain drug-related offenses, for instance, could land a local resident in legal trouble and they could potentially face federal drug charges as a consequence. Other offenses that could lead to federal charges include kidnapping, online child pornography, certain forms of larceny and others. Navigating the federal court system - or any court system, for that matter - can be incredibly confusing and intimidating for someone who has just been charged with a crime. A criminal defense attorney can serve as a critical resource during such a time.

Spokane policeman charged with second-degree rape

People tend to have certain misconceptions regarding those who have been charged with a crime. Some might assume that those facing criminal charges are on the lower end of the socioeconomic spectrum or are uneducated and so on. In reality, people from all walks of life can find themselves in trouble with the law. Recently, a Spokane police sergeant was charged with rape in the second degree, demonstrating how even those tasked with upholding the law can become pursued by it and thus in need of a criminal defense.

Apparently, the alleged incident took place at a party hosted by another police officer. A total of three officers were mentioned as being either involved in the incident itself or hindering the investigation in some way. Another officer has been charged with obstructing a law enforcement officer and first-degree rendering criminal assistance. According to detectives working on the investigation, that officer tipped-off the man charged with rape that a search warrant was imminent. For his part, the officer who supposedly hosted the party has not faced any charges.

Assault charges and weapons in Washington State

Certain criminal offenses, such as assault, carry strict penalties on their own if defendants are convicted. However, when authorities suspect that the defendant has used a weapon in the situation, the penalties can become much worse. In Washington State, using a firearm in certain situations may lead to a charge of first-degree assault.

As defined by Washington law, first-degree assault can involve the use of a firearm, or "any other deadly weapon," in a manner that is likely to cause significant physical harm or death to someone else. First-degree assault charges can also stem from a variety of incidents that involve the intent to cause another great bodily harm, from the administration of poison to the exposure of the HIV virus. Assaulting a person with a deadly weapon can also be construed as assault in the second-degree in Washington.