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Partovi Law Blog

When may someone act in self-defense?

There are times when a person in Spokane who is being threatened with harm needs to act in self-defense. While state law varies, in general self-defense can be defined as the lawful use of physical force that counteracts a violent act at a sufficient level in order to keep from being harmed. This general definition does raise some questions, however.

First of all, in order to claim self-defense the threat against a person must be imminent. This means that the person must be put in an immediate fear of being physically injured or killed. The threat can be spoken, but it still must be cause someone to believe there will be an imminent physical injury or fatality. Also, self-defense is only lawful for as long as the threat is present. It the threat ends, self-defense cannot be used.

Spokane man faces charges in alleged cold cases

While some criminal cases are resolved relatively quickly, sometimes a case remains unsolved for a long time. These cold cases are not always forgotten about, however. Police will continue to investigate them for years in order to try to apprehend the alleged perpetrator of these crimes.

A Spokane man is facing numerous criminal charges including murder, burglary, rape and kidnapping following incidents that occurred decades ago. The two incidents had been considered cold cases. One took place in 1986 and involved an alleged murder of a contractor. The other took place in 1999 and involved the alleged rape of a woman.

What constitutes an unreasonable search and seizure?

Residents of Washington State and any other state in the country are lucky to live in a free nation that protects its citizens from government overreach. For example, the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects people against unreasonable searches and seizures. While the notion of what type of search is reasonable is rather slippery in the eyes of the law, in general the key is whether the individual had a legitimate right to expect privacy in the place being searched. There is a two-prong test that is used when determining whether such a right to expect privacy exists.

First, there must be an actual expectation of privacy. To meet this element, the accused must demonstrate that there was a true expectation of privacy, not merely that they "might" or "often" have an expectation of privacy in that particular place. Second, the accused's expectation of privacy must be reasonable to society as a whole -- that is, it is objective. In the end, though, it is often not cut-and-dried as to when and where a person has an expectation to privacy.

Felonies: Three strikes and you're out

Sometimes a person in Washington is convicted of a felony more than once. However, such convictions can majorly impact a person's life. The federal Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 instituted what is known as the "Three Strikes" rule. Under this rule, if a person has a federal conviction relating to a serious violent felony and has two or more prior federal or state convictions in which one or more is a serious violent felony, then he or she must be sentenced to life in prison.

Serious violent felonies include a number of different types of crimes. While people may automatically understand that crimes such as murder, manslaughter or sex crimes are violent felonies, other crimes that are considered serious violent felonies under the three strikes law include kidnapping, robbery and any other crime carrying a penalty of at least 10 years and which involves the use or significant risk of force.

Are gun rights absolute under federal law?

Gun ownership is very important for many people in Washington. Many people use a firearm for recreational purposes, such as hunting. Others may own a weapon for personal protection, with the hope that they never need use it. However, Washington residents should be aware that certain categories of people are banned per law from possessing a firearm if certain elements are met.

Two elements that must be met to ban a person from possessing a firearm are that the person actually possesses or has received a firearm or ammunition, and is that the firearm or ammunition passed over state line at any time. In addition, the person must fall under one of the following categories.