Anyone can find themselves accused of a crime. Navigate has experience representing clients in criminal cases ranging from simple misdemeanors such as driving without a license, to death-penalty homicide cases, in state and federal courts in Washington and Oregon. If you find yourself charged with a crime, whether it’s a minor misdemeanor or a serious felony, the important thing to remember is that you are innocent until proven guilty, and you are entitled to a thorough, prepared, and voracious defense by a competent lawyer. While Navigate can help you with any crime you may find yourself charged with, the following charges are the most common we see filed in Clark County, Cowlitz County, and Skamania County in Washington.
This is one of the most commonly charged crimes. In Washington State, DUI is controlled by RCW 46.61.502. DUIs are treated as if they take a few different forms in Washington. Those are: (1) “affected by” DUIs, (2) DUIs for driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) above a .08 for alcohol or a THC concentration of 5.00 or higher within two hours of driving, or (3) DUIs for driving with a BAC above .15 for alcohol, or the driver refused to do a breath analysis after properly receiving the proper warnings.
An “affected by” DUI is an allegation that someone was driving with a BAC of below a .08, but their driving was still affected by the alcohol that was in their system. These are the most common types of DUI allegations that make it to a jury trial because the prosecution has to prove that your driving was affected by the alcohol. If someone is convicted of this type of DUI for the first time there is a mandatory minimum of 1 day in jail, 30 days minimum jail for a second DUI conviction, and 90 days minimum jail for a third! However, sometimes Courts will allow days in jail to be supplemented with electronic home confinement, you generally have to do far more days of electronic home confinement than you would serve in jail. Additionally, your license will be suspended and you will be ordered to install and maintain and ignition interlock device in your vehicle for a period of time.
A DUI conviction with a BAC of between a .08 and a .14 for alcohol, or a THC concentration of 5.00 or higher, generally carries the same mandatory minimum punishments as described above for an “affected by” DUI. However, these cases can sometimes be more difficult to defeat or win at trial because the prosecution does not need to prove you were affected by any alcohol in your system. They simply need to prove that you had more than the threshold allowable alcohol or marijuana in your system within two hours of driving. The strategy in these cases for an experienced DUI attorney is often to attack the admissibility or credibility of the BAC results.
A DUI conviction in a case where the BAC was at or above a .15 or the defendant refused to take a breath test after being properly advised of their rights are the most harshly punished in Washington. For a first DUI, the mandatory minimum jail sentence is two days, for a second conviction it is 45 days, and for a third conviction, it jumps to 120 days in jail! Additionally, the license suspension and the period the defendant is required to maintain an ignition interlock device in their vehicle become much longer. This is the most serious form of misdemeanor DUI and often requires an experienced DUI attorney to combat.
Assault varies greatly in Washington, from Assault in the Fourth Degree which is a gross misdemeanor, to Assault in the First Degree which is a Class A felony (the most serious category in Washington). All assault charges are very serious, however. Only Assault in the Fourth Degree and certain types of Assaults in the Third Degree can be removed from your criminal history if convicted. If you are charged with Assault in the Fourth Degree with an allegation of domestic violence, the period to apply to get the conviction off of your record is longer and carries many more requirements to do so than most other misdemeanors.
Assault charges, especially Assault in the Fourth Degree, often go to trial. In Washington, you do not have to even make contact with someone to be convicted of Assault in the Fourth Degree. You just have to put someone in reasonable apprehension of imminent harm for an assault to have occurred. Additionally, many occurrences of self-defense are inappropriately charged by prosecutors as assault. The broad definition of assault in combination with wrongful accusations means these cases are often heavily contested criminal cases.
Theft cases vary similar to assault cases as there are several degrees. However, most theft charges are for shoplifting. The degree of theft is based on the thing that is alleged to be stolen and the value of the goods. For example, theft of goods valued at $750 or less is a misdemeanor, but theft of a motor vehicle is a class B felony regardless of its value. There are many ways an attorney can help defend a theft case. First, evidence on theft cases is often thin. Surveillance videos are often not clear and many cases are built on hearsay. Even if the State has a solid theft case against a defendant, often misdemeanor theft cases can be resolved through a civil compromise. A civil compromise is the alleged victim of a case telling the Court that they have been compensated or are otherwise satisfied with the outcome, and they would like the criminal case to be dismissed. If you are facing a misdemeanor theft case and there is not a good defense to take to trial, a civil compromise can sometimes be a great option.
Reckless and Negligent Driving
Reckless driving is the driving of a vehicle with willful or wanton disregard for the people and property around the driver. Whether someone was driving with such a state of mind is extremely subjective. If you are convicted of reckless driving, not only can you face jail time and a fine, but your driver’s license will be suspended for a minimum of thirty days. When people receive a reckless driving ticket, they sometimes think it is just a traffic infraction and don’t realize they are facing a crime that they could serve jail for. Negligent driving could be charged in the first or second degree. Negligent driving in the first degree is a crime and, if in the second degree, an infraction.
– Lauren Comstock
Frequently Asked Questions
What do I do if I get arrested?
Do not talk to anyone in law enforcement. Even if you are completely innocent, it will NEVER help you to explain anything to a police officer or prosecutor. Police officers don’t necessarily investigate cases, they build cases. If they are alleging you committed a crime, they are not trying to determine whether you did or not, they are building a case against you. If you try to explain your innocence, they will assume you are lying and twist your words against you. The police are also allowed to outright lie to you. They will tell you they have evidence against you that they do not have. They will tell you that if you talk now, they can help you out – which they often cannot. They are very good manipulators and you will start to feel like you want to explain yourself to them. Do not fall into this trap. If you get arrested, you should only say four words to the police – I want a lawyer. That will preserve your constitutional rights and prevent law enforcement from asking you further questions until they have given you a lawyer.
Can I record a conversation without telling them?
Washington is what is referred to as a “two party consent” state. This means that all parties to a conversation must agree to be recorded. Oregon, however, is a “one party consent” state – which only requires one party to the conversation to agree to record it.
Can I get a conviction off my record?
It depends on several factors. The main factors are what you were convicted of, how much time has passed, how old you were, and if you have any other convictions on your record. You should speak with an attorney to determine whether the conviction qualifies to be removed.
We would like to say thank you to Eli T. Marchbanks for representing us. Yes, Eli T. Marchbanks of Navigate Law Group is one of the best Attorneys in Vancouver, Washington. If you’ll decide on hiring Eli you won’t regret it.
– Paulina Ojukwu
Our Criminal Defense Attorney
Eli T. Rushbanks (Marchbanks)
Of Counsel Attorney
Criminal Law | Traffic Matters | Consumer Law
– Dawson stewart
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