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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.

What is the plain view exception to the warrant requirement in Washington?

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

Most suspects don’t usually confess to serious crimes like attempted murder. David Morgan was no exception. That’s why Morgan—when he first spoke to police—didn’t admit to trying to murder his ex-wife by setting his own house on fire after she had come to over to pick up their child. But police didn’t need his confession. They had other damning evidence against him, including bloodstain pattern analysis of his clothing suggesting that he was in close proximity to his ex-wife when she suffered her injuries.

When can a Washington court impose bail in a criminal case?

Posted by Brian C. Zuanich | Jun 17, 2019 | 0 Comments

A person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty, which means that we shouldn't put people in jail until they're found guilty. The State should put dangerous people in jail to protect the public. All Americans probably agree with one of those two statements and I bet that most Americans probably agree with both statements. So, when allegedly dangerous people are charged with crimes—before, obviously, they've been proven guilty—what do we do?

Does a defendant have to testify at trial in Washington to win on self-defense?

Posted by Brian C. Zuanich | Jun 17, 2019 | 0 Comments

The American criminal justice system can be dizzyingly complex but a few simple rules underpin the whole system. The biggest one: a criminal defendant is presumed innocent and the government has to prove the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This means that the defendant does not have to prove innocence. The defendant could literally—and sometimes does literally—nothing the whole trial, and still wins Of course, most defendants do something in their own defense, but it may not involve testifying.

Is Electronic Home Monitoring in Washington Punishment?

Posted by Brian C. Zuanich | Jun 17, 2019 | 0 Comments

Tell someone you’re on house arrest, and it sounds like a strict punishment. Tell someone you have to wear an ankle bracelet, but that it doesn’t prevent you from going to work, going to the store, and attending treatment, then it sounds less restrictive and oppressive, doesn’t it? If you’re on electronic home monitoring (EHM) in Washington, however, you fit in both categories.

When does a DUI become a felony in Washington?

Posted by Brian C. Zuanich | Jun 08, 2019 | 0 Comments

1. A felony DUI trial is a two-part trial In Washington, a DUI is normally a gross misdemeanor, punishable up to 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine. If you have 3 or more prior DUI-related offenses within a 10 year period, however, the State can charge you with felony DUI, a class B felony punishable up to 10 years in state prison.

Can you be convicted of DV assault in Washington even if you don't live with the victim?

Posted by Brian C. Zuanich | Jun 08, 2019 | 0 Comments

When we think of domestic violence, we generally think of close family members or dating relationships. Husband punches wife. Girlfriend kicks boyfriend. Father slaps child. Under the law, however, the definition of DV is much broader. In Washington, you can be convicted of domestic violence if you assault anyone who is a “family or household member.”

When can you legally drive in the left lane in Washington?

Posted by Brian C. Zuanich | Jun 03, 2019 | 1 Comment

By law, you are not supposed to drive continuously in the left hand lane. As you probably first learned in your driver's ed course, the right lane is the “travel lane,” and the left lane is the “passing lane.” Of course, in the real world, that isn't always the case, and on large portions of I-5 during rush hour traffic in downtown Seattle, that's rarely the case.

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