Warrants still in Vogue

June 26th, 2015

This past Monday the US Supreme Court’s more liberal members, acting as the court’s majority, ruled that law enforcement is not carte blanche allowed to inspect hotel and motel guest registries; they either need an owner’s consent or a judge’s permission via a warrant. The ruling most likely will have a much broader impact than just hotel and motel registries, and serves as notice that warrantless searches done to assist in the curtailing of prostitution and illicit drug dealing will not be tolerated.

A group of hotel and motel owners challenged a Los Angeles ordinance because they objected to the fact that it allowed the police to look at the registries at any time of day or night without the owner’s consent and without a warrant. Justice Scalia, who is well known to be a ‘strict constructionist’ with regard to his legal views, noted that the majority’s basis for its ruling and alternatives to searching registries without a warrant or owner authorization was “equal parts ‘1984’ and ‘Alice and Wonderland’”, and that the majority had struck a needless blow to a barely intrusive law enforcement practice. In other words, Justice Scalia saw no problem with carte blanche searches of hotel and motel registries.

If you or a loved has been arrested or charged with a crime in Washington State it would be smart to immediately contact a Seattle criminal defense attorney to protect your rights and interests. The Seattle criminal defense attorneys that make up the criminal defense team of SQ Attorneys are highly qualified and reputable Seattle criminal defense lawyers that are dedicated to providing top notch, aggressive representation for those arrested for crime all across Western Washington and the Greater Puget Sound region. The team creates success by working with law enforcement and the prosecuting attorney’s office to ensure that all facts and circumstances related to the criminal allegations are considered in creating the fairest, most equitable and just resolution possible in light of all the surrounding circumstances of the given case. So, whether cited for prostitution, possession and/or distribution of drugs, assault, property destruction or some other crime, protect yourself … call SQ Attorneys immediately.

Watch for those Pesky Aggravators

June 24th, 2015

In Washington, DUI penalties can increase if a person’s DUI arrest includes one of many aggravating factors. Typically, a first-time DUI conviction in Washington comes with a driver’s license suspension of 90 days, as well as a fine of between $350 and $5,000, and at least a day of jail time. In addition to these penalties, a person convicted of DUI also has to complete an alcohol awareness class, a victim’s panel, and is generally required to install an ignition interlock device on their car for a period of one year. If there are aggravating factors present, however, these penalties will be increased.

One aggravating factor that can increase DUI penalties is having a breath or blood test result of .15 or greater. In that situation, instead of facing a minimum jail time of one day, it’ll be two days, and the minimum fine will rise from $350 to $500. Additionally, instead of a 90 day license suspension, the suspension will be one year. If a person refuses a breath test he will be facing these same penalty increases, except the license suspension will be for two years, not one.
Another aggravating factor that can impact DUI sentencing is being arrested for drunk driving while there’s a passenger in the car under 16 years old. Penalty increases for a ‘minor’ in the car range from the minimum jail time being increased from one day, to two days, to a substantial and unsavory increase in the range of fines from $1,000 to $5,000. Have a passenger 16 years of age or younger in the car will also add another six months to the time a person is required to keep an Ignition Interlock device in their car.

In addition to the foregoing, there are several other factors that the court is permitted in its discretion to take into account when choosing how to punish a person convicted of DUI. These factors include, but are not necessarily limited to, whether there were other passengers, regardless of age, whether there was an accident that led to the DUI arrest, whether there were any injuries or any property damage, and whether you the person was caught driving on the wrong side of the roadway.

If cited for DUI in Washington state be smart and immediately seek the assistance of a Seattle DUI lawyer. A qualified and respected Seattle DUI attorney can quite possibly save a person thousands of dollars in court and insurance fees. Washington DUI laws are far too complicated for any ol’ attorney to handle. Be smart … hire a qualified and skilled Seattle DUI attorney when arrested for DUI in Washington State.

Got Deferred?

June 9th, 2015

We here at SQ Attorneys often get asked if someone can ‘defer’ a DUI. What the question is inquiring about is whether a DUI can be dismissed by way of a ‘deferred finding’, wherein the person’s DUI is dismissed if the person stays out of driving trouble for a year, completes a traffic safety course and pays a fee/ fine pursuant to IRLJ 3.6

A deferred finding applies to infractions, not crimes. They apply to cases like speeding, failing to use a turn signal, and inattention to driving, not to DUI, Reckless Driving or Negligent Driving First Degree. The latter two can sometimes be resolved by a ‘deferred sentence’, wherein the person is ‘convicted’ of the charge for some period of time, and if the person successfully complies with the terms of their sentence during that period of time the case will be dismissed. However, during the period of time it is a conviction on their record. A DUI can be resolved by way of a ‘deferred’ … however the deferred is neither a deferred finding nor a deferred sentence, it is a ‘deferred prosecution’. See RCW 10.05. A deferred prosecution involves a five year probationary period, inclusive of two years of alcohol/ drug treatment consisting of three phases with a de-escalation of intensity throughout the two years. It also requires, among other things, that the person maintain an ignition interlock device for a minimum of 1 year. In short, a deferred prosecution is neither a deferred finding nor a deferred sentence.

If cited for DUI in Washington state be smart and immediately seek the assistance of a Seattle DUI lawyer. A qualified and respected Seattle DUI attorney can quite possibly save a person thousands of dollars in court and insurance fees. Washington DUI laws are far too complicated for any ol’ attorney to handle. Be smart … hire a qualified and skilled Seattle DUI attorney when arrested for DUI in Washington State.

Supremes Rule by not Ruling?

June 4th, 2015

On Monday the United States Supreme Court sent out a loud and clear message. The Supremes rejected Arizona’s appeal of a law that would have denied bail to immigrants here in the United States illegally. The dubious Arizona law had been struck down last year by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which said that our constitution’s protection for liberty applies to all persons in the United States, not just U.S. citizens; people under arrest have a right to an individual hearing on whether they may be released from jail before trial. The Supremes simply refused to weigh in on the issue, and would not hear Maricopa County, Arizona’s argument that immigrants who were in the county illegally were not likely to appear for their court hearings if released from jail. This decision seems to be counter to ICE’s stepped up emphasis on cracking down on illegal immigrants; clearly it would appear that the left hand is not too concerned with what the right hand is doing.

If you or a loved, whether here legally or not, is arrested or charged with a crime in Washington State it would be smart to immediately contact a Seattle criminal defense attorney to protect your rights and interests. The Seattle criminal defense attorneys that make up the criminal defense team of SQ Attorneys are highly qualified and reputable Seattle criminal defense lawyers that are dedicated to providing top notch, aggressive representation for those arrested for crime all across Western Washington and the Greater Puget Sound region. The team creates success by working with law enforcement and the prosecuting attorney’s office to ensure that all facts and circumstances related to the criminal allegations are considered in creating the fairest, most equitable and just resolution possible in light of all the surrounding circumstances of the given case. So, whether cited for assault, property destruction or some other crime, protect yourself … call SQ Attorneys immediately.

Another Crackdown in Seattle

May 25th, 2015

Another crime crackdown is in the works in the City of Seattle. Seattle is out to squelch hate crimes by stepping up its efforts to reduce malicious harassment around the city. Mayor Murray announced this past Thursday, along with Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole, that the city is going to make a concerted effort to reduce crimes against people based on their sexual orientation. The increased effort comes after a number of violent attacks in the Capitol Hill area.

To initiate this plan, local businesses, educational institutions and organizations will be provided with decals and information on how to report hate crimes around the city. In addition, there will be training on when to call 911, how to shelter crime victims until police arrive and proactive outreach about working with the police department’s LGBT liaison officer.

Sometimes good people make bad mistakes. None of us are perfect, and sometimes our mistakes result in criminal charges. This is where SQ Attorneys fits into the picture. If you or a loved one is arrested for a crime in Washington State it would be smart to immediately contact a Seattle criminal defense attorney to protect your rights and interests. The Seattle criminal defense attorneys that make up the criminal defense team of SQ Attorneys are highly qualified and reputable Seattle criminal defense lawyers that are dedicated to providing top notch, aggressive representation for those arrested for crime all across Western Washington and the Greater Puget Sound region. The team creates success by working with law enforcement and the prosecuting attorney’s office to ensure that all facts and circumstances related to the criminal allegations are considered in creating the fairest, most equitable and just resolution possible in light of all the surrounding circumstances of the given case. So, whether cited for assault, property destruction or some other crime, protect yourself … call SQ Attorneys immediately.

Base Fines Increase in July

May 19th, 2015

We all know all too well that getting a traffic ticket proverbially hurts.  And now the sting just got a bit more painful. Effective July 1, 2015, base fines for most traffic infractions will increase by $12. This monetary bump is the largest since 2007, and is said to be initiated so as to help cities and counties provide legal defense for indigent people accused of crimes, and for a new computer system for the state’s district courts. So driver beware, get a ticket and you quite possibly will be subsidizing our government even more than in past years.

If cited for a traffic offense in Washington State it is always a stellar idea to immediately contact a Seattle traffic defense attorney. The Seattle traffic defense attorneys that make up SQ Attorneys are highly qualified and reputable Seattle traffic defense lawyers that are dedicated to providing top notch, aggressive representation for those cited for traffic violations all across Western Washington and the Greater Puget Sound region. So, when cited for a traffic violation do the smart thing … call SQ Attorneys immediately.

VP Biden’s call for Heigtened Awareness Undoubtedly Increases the number of Criminal Complaints Filed

May 11th, 2015

Like DUI’s, domestic violence is getting a ton of exposure over this past year. The latest hyperbole of exposure in Seattle revolves around the Seattle Seahawks first round draft pick of 2015, Frank Clark. As is well known by now, Mr. Clark was alleged to have struck his then girlfriend in an Ohio hotel room last year. He ultimately plead guilty to a non-DV related reduced charge.

What some folks may not know is that prior to this latest air play on domestic violence, Vice President Joe Biden in May called domestic violence a “public health epidemic“, and warned that it requires urgent attention. For decades now, domestic violence has been a signature issue for Vice President Biden. In 1990, he introduced the landmark Violence Against Women Act, which was signed into law in 1994.

Clearly, a greater emphasis on ‘outing’ domestic violence is at play today, and surely it will be moving forward into the future; it is front and center on a national level. As a direct consequence, rightly or wrongly, any incident that even hints of domestic violence is probably going to end up in our criminal justice system. Clearly, the current mentality is ‘better safe than sorry’, and anyone charged with domestic violence better be prepared to defend themselves.

Any person charged in Washington State with a domestic violence should immediately seek the assistance of an experienced Seattle domestic violence defense attorney. An experienced Seattle domestic violence defense lawyer can level the playing field and protect an accused’s rights against unfair domestic violence criminal charges. The law firm of SQ Attorneys are Seattle domestic violence lawyers with a proven record of success in domestic violence defense in Washington. If arrested for domestic violence call SQ Attorneys at 206.441.0900 for the answers to your important questions, or to schedule an appointment for a free and completely confidential consultation. It will be the best decision you make all day!

No Duty to Retreat Alive and Well

May 6th, 2015

In another case of ‘stand your ground’ precedent, two Utah men who fatally shot would-be criminals over the weekend are not expected to face criminal charges for their actions. This comes on the heels of the well publicized Florida case involving George Zimmerman, who shot Trayvon Martin in ‘self defense’.

The Utah cases were separate incidents. In the first shooting, a man who possesses a concealed carry permit intervened when a carjacker jumped into a woman’s vehicle. The perpetrator was shot while lunging for the bystander’s gun, police say. In the second shooting, which occurred hours later, a homeowner shot a man who pounded on his front door in the middle of the night, climbed to a second-floor balcony and allegedly attempted to force his way into the home. Because Utah is a ‘stand your ground’ state, the shooters will likely be cleared of any wrongdoing in either of the incidents.

Utah allows for use of deadly force in public without a duty to walk away. It may not be wholly clear whether Washington state has such broad coverage for similar cases under our stand your ground policies, but pursuant to case law, our state Supreme Court has ruled that there is no duty to retreat when a person is assaulted in a place where they are lawfully allowed to be: State v. Studd, 137 Wn.2d 533 (1999), and in State v. Redmond, 150 Wn.2d 489 2003.

If arrested for a crime in Washington State it is imperative that you immediately contact a Seattle criminal defense attorney to protect your rights and interests. Even seemingly ‘silly’ cases are often taken seriously by the government, and they often will proceed on the case regardless of how silly it may seem. The Seattle criminal defense attorneys that make up the criminal defense team of SQ Attorneys are highly qualified and reputable Seattle criminal defense lawyers that are dedicated to providing top notch, aggressive representation for those arrested for crime all across Western Washington and the Greater Puget Sound region. The team creates success by working with law enforcement and the prosecuting attorney’s office to ensure that all facts and circumstances related to the criminal allegations are considered in creating the fairest, most equitable and just resolution possible in light of all the surrounding circumstances of the given case. So, whether cited for assault, property destruction or some other crime, protect yourself … call SQ Attorneys immediately.

Take a Page out of the Bama Playbook Prosecutors

May 2nd, 2015

Recently there was an interesting outcome in an Alabama domestic violence case involving a University of Alabama football player, Cyrus Jones. In dismissing the case against Mr. Jones, the prosecutor actually acknowledged, and gave credit to the fact, that Mr. Jones ‘attempted to de-escalate the situation by contacting the Tuscaloosa Police Department’.

As is well known by now, in Washington if a police officer is called to a domestic violence scene there must be an arrest of one of the parties if contact is made within four hours of the call. Once that is done the prosecutor generally charges the person arrested with domestic violence; it is virtually a ‘rubber stamp’ process. Unlike in Alabama, prosecutors in Washington State rarely, if ever, acknowledge, or even give credit for, the person who was arrested calling the police, which is a real shame.

In Washington, it seems the prosecutor defers to the decision made by the police officer as to who was at fault. This, of course, is silly because as noted above, when an officer is called to a domestic violence scene they must arrest someone if they come into contact with the parties within four hours of the call. So even if the officer did not feel strongly about the arrest, he is forced by law to make that arrest. The theory is that this must be done to (wait for it …) ‘de-escalate the situation’; in practice the arrest results in some very suspect criminal charges being filed against likely innocent people. Prosecutors in Washington would be well advised to be a bit more pragmatic in their DV filing decisions, and to take a page out Alabama’s play book … pun intended.

Any person charged in Washington State with a domestic violence should immediately seek the assistance of an experienced Seattle domestic violence defense attorney. An experienced Seattle domestic violence defense lawyer can level the playing field and protect an accused’s rights against unfair domestic violence criminal charges. The law firm of SQ Attorneys has a record of successes in domestic violence defense in and around King County, Washington. If arrested for domestic violence call SQ Attorneys at 206.441.0900 for the answers to your important questions, or to schedule an appointment for a free and completely confidential consultation. It will be the best decision you make all day!

Licensing Impact of DUI

April 24th, 2015

If you have been arrested for a DUI in Seattle or anywhere in Washington State and you are a licensed health care professional then you could face the possibility of serious job related repercussions depending on the final outcome of your case. In light of this, it is in the best interest of any licensed health care professional to immediately contact a Seattle DUI lawyer when arrested for DUI.

The applicable Washington State statute related to disciplinary actions against licensed health care professionals is RCW 18.130.180. RCW 18.130.180 lays out what conduct, acts, or conditions constitute unprofessional conduct for a license holder. A first offense DUI is a gross misdemeanor in Washington State and thus falls within the realm of RCW 18.130.180.

So what happens if a licensed health care professional under the purview of Chapter 18 of the RCW’s gets convicted of a DUI? Well that is a good question. For a conviction of a gross misdemeanor DUI the minimum conditions may be some sort of reprimand, training, monitoring, probation, or supervision. The maximum penalty could include oversight for 5 years involving the same sort of probation, training, and supervision.  Based on the foregoing, the good news is that it appears that a first offense DUI may not result in a license suspension. The bad news is that a first offense DUI conviction for a licensed health care provider, as defined and bound by RCW 18.130, probably does involve some sort of supervisory condition, at the discretion of the Department of Health.

Like anyone else, a licensed healthcare professional cited for DUI in Washington state should immediately seek the assistance of a Seattle DUI lawyer. A qualified and respected Seattle DUI attorney can quite possibly minimize not only licensing consequences, but also save a person thousands of dollars in court and insurance fees.