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Can I restore my firearm rights in Washington if my record was sealed?

Posted by Brian C. Zuanich | Nov 07, 2020 | 0 Comments

If you're successful in getting your court record sealed, the public cannot access anything about your case. No one can stop by the courthouse and dig through your records and no one can go online and browse the court's electronic files. Even better, your records will not show up on a state or federal background check. You may think that restoring your firearm rights would be a lot easier after getting your court records sealed, but you would be wrong. Why?

Can prosecutors amend the date of your criminal charge after the jury has heard the evidence?

Posted by Brian C. Zuanich | Jan 23, 2020 | 0 Comments

Under the Washington Constitution, a criminal defendant has a right to be notified of the nature of the charge so the defendant can prepare and present an adequate defense. This makes constitutional, practical, and intuitive sense. You can’t really defend yourself against a moving target. But in certain cases, the Washington Supreme Court ruled today, you can—at least to a degree.

Washington Supreme Court sets aside murder conviction based on racially motivated jury selection process

Posted by Brian C. Zuanich | Jan 09, 2020 | 0 Comments

State v. Pierce is in large part about the death penalty. For that reason, you may think that today's case is irrelevant, because in 2018, the Washington Supreme Court struck down the state’s death penalty law. But State v. Pierce is also in large part about race, which makes the case entirely relevant today in Washington.

The Washington Supreme Court clarifies the felony DUI statute

Posted by Brian C. Zuanich | Jan 05, 2020 | 0 Comments

The Court’s holding is pretty simple: to prove a “prior offense” under RCW 46.61.5055(14)(a)(xii), prosecutors have to establish that a defendant has a prior conviction for DUI, or that a defendant has a prior conviction for reckless driving or negligent driving in the first degree if the State had originally charged the defendant with DUI in these two cases. “That is all the felony DUI statute requires,” the Court held.

Are you eligible for a SSOSA in Washington?

Posted by Brian C. Zuanich | Jan 02, 2020 | 0 Comments

Prosecutors and judges treat sexual offenders but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be going to prison for a long time if you’ve been convicted of a sex offense in Washington. Under Washington law (RCW 9.94A.670), some sexual offenders may be eligible for Washington’s Special Sexual Offender Sentencing Alternative (SSOSA).

Can the State refuse to accept a defendant's stipulation in a Washington domestic violence case?

Posted by Brian C. Zuanich | Jul 28, 2019 | 0 Comments

“We are not final because we are infallible, but we are infallible only because we are final.” A legal purist would call Justice Robert Jackson’s famous remark about the U.S. Supreme Court a jaded opinion, but it’s legally accurate. Supreme Court justices are smart—very smart, in fact—but they’re not necessarily smarter or better writers than state supreme court judges or other appellate judges. But unlike every other judge, they get the final say.

Washington Supreme Court rules that trial judges must thoroughly investigate allegations of juror misconduct based on implicit racial bias

Posted by Brian C. Zuanich | Jul 22, 2019 | 0 Comments

Racial bias can infect the criminal justice system and, like a virus, eats away and damages the body. Racial bias in the jury room can be even more insidious because juror deliberations are usually secret. Juror secrecy is generally a good thing, because it permits jurors to deliberate freely without being subjected to outside pressure or influence.

Do homeless sex offenders in Washington have to register?

Posted by Brian C. Zuanich | Jul 05, 2019 | 0 Comments

For understandable reasons, the State punishes sex offenders severely. To see that you have to look no further than Washington’s sex offender registration laws. Sex offenders are required to register with the State and most sex offenders’ personal information is published online. Anyone with a computer can log into the Washington Sex Offender Registry database and find a sex offender’s name, offense, address, physical description, and a recent picture. Depending on the seriousness of their crime, sex offenders have to register for as many as 10 years after their release from jail or for the rest of their life.

Can a Washington court refuse to accept a defendant's stipulation in a criminal trial?

Posted by Brian C. Zuanich | Jun 24, 2019 | 0 Comments

If you’re charged with a crime in Washington (as in most states), you generally have two options: You can plead guilty, which means you give up your right to have a jury trial or a trial before a judge. Or you can exercise your right to a trial, forcing the State to prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. But in some cases, you can actually do both.

Are Washington DUI blood test results admissible in a Department of Licensing hearing?

Posted by Brian C. Zuanich | Jun 24, 2019 | 0 Comments

In Washington, driving is considered a privilege, not a right. That probably seems odd to most people. No one really thinks of driving like going on a Hawaiian vacation, but under the law, that’s exactly how it’s treated. Something you that you earn, not something that you’re entitled. That’s why, if you’re arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in Washington, the Department of Licensing (DOL) will suspend your driver’s license immediately.

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