A Companion Detention

September 17th, 2016

Word to the wise – if you are hanging with someone and they are stopped and investigated for a crime, you too can briefly be detained if law enforcement thinks it is necessary to ensure the safety of others while they secure the scene. This is so because recently our state Supreme Court said it was so. The Supremes’ decision came down Thursday and was related to a case involving a person who was walking down a street in Moses Lake with another man who was being sought by the police for pointing a gun at someone. The man was ordered to put his hands up, and it was at this point he told officers that he too had a weapon. In light of this, he was arrested and charged with illegal possession of a firearm. The state Supreme Court overturned the lower court’s ruling that found the man’s detention was unconstitutional. The court found that it was not unconstitutional to briefly detain a companion (in certain circumstances) while his buddy is being investigated.

If you or a loved one is arrested or charged with a crime, you should immediately seek the advice and/or assistance of a qualified Seattle criminal defense attorney. 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 or charged 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 you are arrested or charged with misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor or a felony, protect yourself … call SQ Attorneys at (206) 441-0900.

Get that Assessment

September 12th, 2016

One thing that is universally required if you are charged and convicted of a DUI (or a reduced charge like Reckless Driving or Negligent Driving) in Washington is an alcohol/ drug assessment conducted by a state-certified alcohol and drug treatment agency. Generally on a first offense related DUI the assessment will likely result in an 8 hour alcohol education (or “ADIS”) class, and a DUI Victim’s Impact Panel (“Victim’s Panel“).

Because it is likely that an alcohol/drug assessment will be required when facing a DUI, it is smart to just go ahead and get the assessment, complete an ADIS class and attend a Victim’s Panel as soon as possible. Getting an assessment, attending an ADIS class and completing a Victim’s Panel can not only possibly help in the outcome of your case, but it can also make you feel like you are being proactive and taking control of your situation. Doing these things shows the court “good faith” on your part, and that you are ‘dealing’ with the situation; it does not mean (as some mistakenly think) that the court presumes that you believe: (a) you are guilty or that (b) you have an alcohol/drug problem. A sentencing court will find favor with someone who steps up and acts responsibly early on in the process.

Although getting an assessment early on is smart, don’t just pick any old agency off the internet or off a list provided by the court. Attorneys generally refer their clients to a specific agency that they are familiar with, and with whom they have built trust. In deciding which agency to refer clients to, SQ Attorneys considers several factors, including, but not limited to, cost, where the client lives/ works and even particular facts of the client’s case.

If you (or a loved one) have been arrested and cited for DUI in Washington State you should immediately seek the assistance of a Seattle DUI lawyer. A qualified and respected Seattle DUI attorney, among other things, can quite possibly save you thousands of dollars in court and insurance fees, extent of loss of privilege to drive and amount of jail time to be served. Washington traffic laws are far too complicated for any ol’ attorney to handle. Be smart … hire a qualified and skilled Seattle DUI attorney when arrested for an alcohol and/or a drug related DUI in Washington State.

SR-22 Questions Answered

September 6th, 2016

The attorneys at SQ Attorneys are frequently asked, ‘how will a Seattle DUI charge affect vehicle insurance?’. Well that is a very good question and one that deserves a thoughtful answer. So here it goes … three years of SR-22 is an absolute requirement that the Department of Licensing (DOL) imposes upon Washington State drivers who: (1) are convicted of DUI; or (2) are convicted of Reckless Driving; or (3) suffer a DOL suspension/revocation for providing an Alcohol/Marijuana breath/blood sample equal to or above the legal limit and/or refusing to provide a breath/blood sample. In light of this, avoiding SR-22 insurance is rarely easy when cited for DUI.

Some of the more frequently asked questions and answers SQ Attorneys gets/ gives about SR-22 are below:

What exactly is SR-22? SR-22 is proof of liability insurance; it isn’t a type of insurance. SR-22 is a form which must be filed by the insurance company with the state of Washington stating that auto liability insurance is in effect for a particular individual.

Does my current insurance company provide SR-22? Maybe, and maybe not. Shopping for the best rate is always the best policy. Usually, insurance companies that offer SR-22 will ask who a driver is presently insured with, and then advise as to the best, most affordable option for obtaining SR-22.

Will a 2nd party SR-22 provider inform my insurance company? No.

Do I have to carry proof of SR-22 in the car with me? No. The SR-22 agency merely provides proof to the state of Washington; nothing about SR-22 needs to be kept inside one’s vehicle.

What if my current carrier finds out I have SR-22 through another provider? The insurer will generally either drop you or raise your rate considerably. You then work with the SR-22 provider to get sufficient coverage.

Will my SR-22 insurance stop when the 3 years has run? Unfortunately, No. The policy will continue until you tell the company in writing to stop the policy.

If you (or a loved one) have been arrested and cited for DUI in Washington State you should immediately seek the assistance of a Seattle DUI lawyer. A qualified and respected Seattle DUI attorney, among other things, can quite possibly save you thousands of dollars in court and insurance fees, extent of loss of privilege to drive and amount of jail time to be served. Washington traffic laws are far too complicated for any ol’ attorney to handle. Be smart … hire a qualified and skilled Seattle DUI attorney when arrested for an alcohol and/or a drug related DUI in Washington State.

The $60 Million Problem – Deal with It

August 31st, 2016

As Seattle criminal defense attorneys we often make public disclosure requests on behalf of our clients. We request records related to things such as officer conduct, personnel files, incident reports, videos, audios and even email content. But regardless of the state’s criminal defense bars actions, it is highly doubtful that all of the criminal attorneys combined filed public disclosure requests that cost the Evergreen State $60 million over a recent 12 month period. That $60 million figure seems absolutely nuts but is exactly what our local and state government officials are claiming (along with an increase in requests and the explosion of digital data) have made things more difficult for them to comply with Washington’s Public Disclosure Act. Well stop your whining and deal with it, and don’t think for one second that the answer is for our state citizens to pay for the documents. The documents are owned by, and for, the people; the government works for the people, after all. To say folks should pay for something they already own is utter nonsense. Thankfully, despite proposed bills and work groups, there hasn’t yet been a consensus among law makers, government agencies, and/ or advocacy groups on how to best deal with the problem. This is so because as it stands most of the proposed options are geared towards less – not more – government transparency, and the only way to truly hold our law enforcement agents and agencies accountable is through good ol’ transparency.

If you or a loved one is arrested or charged with a crime, you should immediately seek the advice and/or assistance of a qualified Seattle criminal defense attorney. 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 or charged 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 you are arrested or charged with misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor or a felony, protect yourself … call SQ Attorneys at (206) 441-0900.

37 Newbies with WSP

August 25th, 2016

The ranks of our Washington State Patrol (“WSP”) grew by 37 earlier this month. At a ceremony on August 3, 2016, Chief Justice Barbara Madsen swore in the new troopers, and Governor Jay Inslee presented them with their commission cards. The ceremony was riff with pageantry and tradition, inclusive of a color guard, our national anthem and a prayer.

Sadly, the newly minted troopers only make a relatively minor dent in our state trooper shortage; the agency still has approximately 145 open jobs, and a wave of retirements is expected to take place over the next several years. The Washington State Patrol Academy produces approximately three cadet classes each biennium, which accounts for about 100 to 120 new troopers. Historically, however, only about four to six percent of the total number of applicants makes the grade to become WSP troopers.

In an effort to deal with recruitment and retention issues, Washington lawmakers recently boosted trooper pay at the Washington State Patrol. It is hoped this will incentivize increased interest in becoming a WSP trooper. Time will tell, but we should all be concerned that the WSP (as with all law enforcement agencies) sees fit to not hire just anyone, and focuses on maintaining a high standard and expectation for our WSP troopers. Anything less could pose a danger to the safety of our citizens – both those who need and seek help, and those who are accused of violating the law.

If you or a loved one is arrested or charged with a crime, you should immediately seek the advice and/or assistance of a qualified Seattle criminal defense attorney. 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 or charged 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 you are arrested or charged with misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor or a felony, protect yourself … call SQ Attorneys at (206) 441-0900.

Emphasis DUI Patrols Next Week

August 19th, 2016

The Washington State Department of Transportation, in collaboration with state law enforcement agencies, by way of the state’s strategic highway safety plan – ‘target zero’, will again be emphasizing DUI patrols. Next week four local law enforcement agencies (the Washington State Patrol, the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office, the Yelm Police Department, and the Olympia Police Department) hope to cut down on the number of DUI’s with a two day (8/25 and 8/26) emphasis patrol in their respective jurisdictions. Target Zero aims to eliminate all traffic related deaths in Washington State by the year 2030. The hope is that by initiating and publicizing these patrols people will be more inclined to take a cab, call Uber or have a designated driver if they plan to drink or do drugs.

If you (or a loved one) have been arrested and cited for DUI in Washington State you should immediately seek the assistance of a Seattle DUI lawyer. A qualified and respected Seattle DUI attorney, among other things, can quite possibly save you thousands of dollars in court and insurance fees, extent of loss of privilege to drive and amount of jail time to be served. Washington traffic laws are far too complicated for any ol’ attorney to handle. Be smart … hire a qualified and skilled Seattle DUI attorney when arrested for an alcohol and/or a drug related DUI in Washington State.

LFO’s and Indigency

August 14th, 2016

It is well known that upon a criminal conviction a person faces the possibility of spending time in jail, but what most folks don’t know is that there is another consequence that follows a criminal conviction – legal financial obligations (‘LFO’s’). LFO’s are designed to pass court costs and prosecution costs onto the convicted person instead of taxpayers.

The common concern, however, is what happens when a person cannot pay LFO’s; in other words, the offender is indigent. Well … in theory … indigent defendants are supposedly not required to pay for costs that they cannot afford. That said, courts in the past often neglected to worry about an offender’s ability to pay LFO’s. This caused problems and resulted in many offenders being punished for something that was not within their control – indigency.

Earlier this year a Washington Court of Appeals case addressed this problem. In State v. Newman, Division II of the state appellate courts agreed with the defendant’s contention that it was wrong for his attorney to not object to discretionary LFO’s. Though his conviction wasn’t overturned and his probation and incarceration were upheld, the appeals court remanded the case back to the trial court so that the defendant’s indigence status could be reviewed and considered before any discretionary LFOs could be imposed.

If you or a loved one is arrested or charged with a crime, you should immediately seek the advice and/or assistance of a qualified Seattle criminal defense attorney. 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 or charged 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 you are arrested or charged with misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor or a felony, protect yourself … call SQ Attorneys at (206) 441-0900.

Arrest v. Conviction

August 2nd, 2016

Frequently when we first meet with a potential client at SQ Attorneys they are initially confused about the difference between what is an arrest, and what is an actual conviction. So … in an effort to clear up the misunderstanding, we explain below:

An Arrest:

An arrest happens when a police officer has what is termed ‘probable cause’ or ‘reasonable suspicion’ to believe that someone might have committed a crime. The standard is really not all that high and is, in essence, based upon a reasonable person standard, taking into account both a subjective (an inside or personal point of view) and an objective view point (an outside or impersonal point of view). In reality, all that is needed for an arrest is the fact that an officer suspects someone of committing a crime; this broad standard leaves officers with a lot of discretion and often can lead to a bogus arrest.

A Conviction:

Unlike an arrest, which – as noted above – can happen virtually anytime an officer has a suspicion that a crime has occurred, a conviction takes place when either (1) a prosecutor has been deemed to have proven their case beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law, or (2) a defendant charged with a crime pleads guilty in a court of law. In order for a conviction to happen, the aforementioned arrest has to turn into a formal accusation of a crime via a charging document filed in a criminal court (known as a ‘complaint’) by a prosecuting attorney.

Obviously the difference between an arrest and a conviction is quite important. An arrest means that a police officer has reason to believe that someone might have done something illegal; it does not mean they are guilty. A conviction means that person either by a plea or finding beyond a reasonable doubt did commit a crime; it does mean they are guilty. Mixing the two concepts up can have a wide ranging impact on a person’s life. Sadly, it can, and does, impact jobs, friendships and even the ability to rent or lease things.

If you or a loved one is arrested or charged with a crime, you should immediately seek the advice and/or assistance of a qualified Seattle criminal defense attorney. 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 or charged 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 you are arrested or charged with misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor or a felony, protect yourself … call SQ Attorneys at (206) 441-0900.

How Serious/ Very Serious

July 31st, 2016

How serious is a domestic violence related charge? This is a question commonly inquired about when someone initially calls SQ Attorneys. The answer is that a domestic violence allegation is incredibly serious and can be a misdemeanor, a gross misdemeanor or even a felony; if the person is arrested (which is often the case when the police receive a DV related 911 call) he can, and most likely will, go to jail – this is so because Washington law mandates an arrest based upon a domestic violence related call if the police contact the parties within 4 hours of the alleged incident.

A misdemeanor domestic violence charge is filed in a district or municipal court of limited jurisdiction, and can be either a simple misdemeanor (punishable by a maximum of 90 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine), or gross misdemeanor charge (punishable by a maximum of 365 days in jail and/or a $5,000 fine). If the accused is convicted of either charge, the court typically places you on probation for two and possibly five years.

A felony domestic violence charge is filed in a superior court, and can range from a class C felony to a class B or A felony, which is the most serious charge possible in Washington state. Class C felony crimes are punishable by up to five years in jail. Class B and A felony crimes are punishable from ten years up to life in prison or even (gulp) … death.

If you (or a loved one) find yourself facing a DV related criminal charge, it is infinitely important to immediately contact and hire a Seattle domestic violence attorney. The Seattle domestic violence attorneys that make up the criminal defense team of SQ Attorneys are highly qualified and reputable Seattle domestic violence 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 domestic violence related assault, malicious mischief, property destruction or some other crime, protect yourself … call SQ Attorneys immediately at 206.441.0900.

Pet Friendly Haven Granted

July 25th, 2016

Just a quick reminder that domestic violence is taken extremely serious in Washington State. This is so regardless of how small or insignificant someone may think the incident is, or whether someone is actually physically, or even emotionally, injured. The government is always looking at ways to curb domestic violence and protect the aggrieved party; officials note that one barrier to leaving an abusive relationship is fear that family pets will be harmed or otherwise not cared for in retaliation for leaving.

In light of this, and as yet another example of the crackdown on domestic violence, the Clark County YWCA in Vancouver, Washington recently received a $5,600 grant to convert a domestic violence shelter into a pet-friendly haven for victims of domestic violence. The grant allows for the YWCA, the Humane Society of Southwest Washington, and the Mill Plain Animal Hospital to work together in providing pets belonging to shelter residents a safe haven and veterinary care and supplies. If successful, one can only presume pet friendly shelters will be popping up in other sectors of the state.

If you (or a loved one) find yourself facing a DV related criminal charge, it is infinitely important to immediately contact and hire a Seattle domestic violence attorney. The Seattle domestic violence attorneys that make up the criminal defense team of SQ Attorneys are highly qualified and reputable Seattle domestic violence 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 domestic violence related assault, malicious mischief, property destruction or some other crime, protect yourself … call SQ Attorneys immediately at 206.441.0900.