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Spokane Criminal Defense Law Blog

Establishing a strong defense against weapons charges

The state of Washington recognizes the risks associated with weapons and firearms and they are strictly regulated within the state. Violating the firearm and weapon laws could mean serious penalties and consequences to a defendant.

As you can see on our weapons crimes page, what may seem like a simple weapons charge may lead to more offenses and result in long-term consequences. It can affect your employment opportunities, future endeavors and your entire career. If the defendant is a minor, the arrest would result in a public stigma, which can affect the future of the individual.

Sports league's leaders miss domestic violence hearing

Domestic violence occurs across every social stratum, with the rich and the famous as likely to be affected by domestic violence as anyone else.

According to one report, recent bid to tackle this issue, undertaken by Senate Commerce Committee members, was to focus on instances involving professional sports players through a Congressional hearing. However, none of the commissioners of the National Hockey League, Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association and the National Football League attended the hearing, sparking criticism of their apparent "lack of commitment" on the subject which has affected their players.

Understanding vehicular assault

An assault charge can stem for all kinds of incidents, not just violent fights. This criminal charge may also stem from a motor vehicle accident. According to Washington State law, vehicular assault charges can be filed against any driver in Washington State if the driver causes injury to another due to his or her operation of a vehicle. However, several factors are considered to determine if a driver should be charged with vehicular assault.

The reckless operation of a vehicle is a factor in determining whether vehicular assault charges should be filed. Another factor would be driving under the influence of alcohol, marijuana or any drug, illegal, over the counter or prescribed. A breathalyzer test can be used to identify a driver's blood alcohol content as long as two hours after a driver leaves a car. If the driver's BAC level exceeds the state's legal limit of 0.08, charges can be filed against the impaired driver in addition to vehicular assault. A driver's THC concentration may also determine if the driver is under the influence. Most tests must be performed within two hours of driving, but analyses of breath and blood samples obtained more than two hours after the alleged drunk driving can be used as evidence, depending on the levels identified.

Domestic violence charges against athlete dropped

Domestic violence is an all-too-common form of violent crime in the nation these days, including in Spokane, Washington. Domestic violence charges are punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. If the offense is deemed a gross misdemeanor, the defendant may serve up to 365 days in jail and pay a $5,000 fine. The penalties are higher for a felony offense. However, there is always a possibility that a defendant is just wrongfully accused.

It seems that Ray McDonald, a professional athlete who play in the National Football League, was apparently wrongfully accused of domestic violence. According to a recent report, the domestic violence charges against him were dropped. McDonald was charged with felony domestic violence following an alleged incident involving his fiancé. The charges were dropped after the result of the investigation could not produce enough evidence to proceed with the case. The athlete was reportedly relieved about the prosecutor's decision and hoped that the accusation would not affect his life again. The domestic violence charges put his professional career on the line. McDonald said that the allegation ruined his reputation, even though the incident was still being investigated by the police at the time. It almost destroyed his career following the decision of the NFL to discipline football players convicted of domestic violence.

Fighting federal charges requires complete commitment

Washington residents understand that people accused of crimes can be tried in various jurisdictions, depending on the nature of the crime involved. In general, local charges do not rise above the designation of misdemeanor and merit little more than simple fines. Crimes at the state level involved both misdemeanors and felonies, many of the latter being so serious as to merit the harshest criminal penalties, including many years in prison and even the death penalty in some circumstances. Sometimes, though, some serious crimes merit a federal trial, especially when they involve some sort of potential interstate enterprise such as drug trafficking or child pornography.

Like the most serious felonies in most states, conviction on federal charges brings the prospect of many years in prison. Unfortunately for anyone accused of a federal crime, the U.S. government has more resources and deeper pockets than state governments and can aggressively investigate and prosecute any criminal allegation.

What do Washington laws sayaboutpossession of firearms?

Crimes can happen everydaythroughoutWashington, and some of them are violent or threaten the safety of ordinary law-abiding citizens. Because of this, some people consider purchasing a weapon to defend themselves and their loved onesagainst possible attacks or assaults. Purchasing a weapon, however, is not as straightforward as many people imagine, and Washington has restricted one certain class of citizens -- felons -- from possessing them. Violation of this state can result in felony weapons charges.

According to Section 9.41.040 of Washington's Revised Code of Laws, a person who owns a firearm illegally may be charged with unlawful possession of a firearm if he or she was previously convicted of any felonycrime or was found not guilty of felony charges by reason of insanity. First-degree unlawful possession of a firearm is considered a Class B felony and is enforceable whether the defendant is an adult or juvenile. Second-degree unlawful possession charges may be issued under certain circumstances if the accused person does not qualify for first-degree unlawful possession.

How federal laws affect domestic violence charges and convictions

Many cases of domestic violence in Washington erupt out of spousal abuse or other conflict between family members. Because domestic abuse can threaten the safety of spouses and children, the federal government has considered acts of violence arising from domestic conflict as crimes. Any person who perpetrates such abuse is likely to face criminal charges.

Although domestic violence incidents were previously only state crimes, the U.S. Congress enacted the Violence Against Women Act in 1994 to make these crimes federal offenses. Amendments passed in 1996, 2000, 2005 and 2013 have all affirmed that domestic violence is a national crime. Congressional amendments to the Gun Control Act also elevate penalties in domestic violence cases when defendants use guns.

Alleged luring incidents lead to arrest of Spokane Valley man

Law enforcement officers throughout Washington are alert not only to people who have already committed crimes but also to those who may be attempting crimes that endanger the safety of other citizens. For this reason, suspicious incidents and even allegations of suspicious conduct can end with an individual facing criminal charges and serious consequences if convicted.

A case in point is the recent arrest of a 38-year-old Spokane Valley man by Spokane County deputies after he allegedly tried to lure females into his vehicle on three separate occasions within a month. Deputies allege that the suspect tried to coerce one woman and two teenage girls into riding in his SUV and intimidated them when they refused. The first incident happened in East Mission when the adult woman was approached at a bus stop. The woman said the driver threatened to drag her into his vehicle but backed off when another man at the scene realized what was happening.

We can give you the strength to face drug charges and prevail

As is the case with any criminal charge, the consequences of a drug conviction can be serious and include time in jail or prison, as well as substantial fines. For Washington residents, substantial time behind bars following a drug arrest may seem like a foregone conclusion, but the criminal justice system requires the state to prove not only the commission of a crime, but also the participation of the person charged.

The constitutional right of due process begins immediately. Mere arrest does not mean that a defendant is guilty. Our firm believes that any individual accused of a crime is innocent until a judge or jury says otherwise, based on clear and abundant evidence presented by prosecutors. We understand that facing drug charges is emotionally difficult, so we use our comprehensive knowledge of drug crimes to provide a defendant with the strength to fight the charges before and during trial.

What does federal law consider child pornography to be?

U.S. and Washington legislators enact many criminal statutes to protect people from harm. In the case of children, some of those harms are sexual in nature. In Washington, as with every other state, laws are enforced to keep children safe from crimes, such as assault, trafficking and online child pornography. Unfortunately, many more children are now victimized by such criminal activities because of our new digital age.

Online child pornography not only victimizes and endangers the children depicted in pornographic sexual activities, but also puts other children at risk of being similarly victimized by predators, who are often inspired to look for vulnerable children who can also be exploited. Child pornography thus can have devastating emotional, social and physical effects on children. For this reason, anyone facing child pornography charges is likely to face severe consequences, if convicted in either state or federal court.