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.
California has something for almost everyone—Disneyland for the kids, beaches for the adults, celebrities for the fans, and of course the weather. Tommie Davis also benefitted from his lengthy stay in California, but he wouldn’t know just how much until he ended up in a Washington court many years later.
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.
Is there a conflict between Washington's Sentencing Reform Act and the Controlled Substances Statute?
To figure out what a statute means, judges engage in a process known as statutory interpretation. I could describe this process in a very sophisticated way, but here it is a nutshell: “Are the words clear? Then follow them.”
When people make mistakes but turn their life around, we tend to forgive, even if we don't forget. It's a natural human emotion. This overused cliché has embedded itself into Washington's criminal justice system in the way that we treat felony offenders and their criminal history.
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.
1. Playground Rules The law surrounding self-defense in Washington has its roots in the culture of the elementary school playground. If a bigger bully picks a fight with you, you have the right to fight back and defend yourself.
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.”
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.
What is the fog line? I had no idea what the “fog line” was until I became and a prosecutor and started handling DUI and other traffic prosecutions. It sounded mysterious. Was it really foggy?
If you're turning left from a dedicated left turn lane, do you really need to activate your turn signal? Second question. If you have ever thought about this question, have you ever considered writing a 17 page legal opinion about it. Probably not.
No reasonable (or sane person) would walk into a courthouse, pull out $100,000 from his wallet, leave it on the counter with a note saying: “take it, it's yours.” And then walk away. Legally speaking, however, that's what Edward Jeglum did in January 2016.
For most of us, your driver's license is your basic form of identification. You want to prove you're 21, pull out your driver's license. You want to pick up your medication from the drug store, pull out your driver's license. And, of course, if a police officer stops you, you better pull out your driver's license.
To quickly summarize a large body of sociological research and opinions about punishment: Prison may not be the answer for criminal defendants who suffer from substance abuse problems. Prison may be the answer, however, for those defendants who commit serious felonies as opposed to minor misdemeanors. What about defendants who suffer from substance abuse but who also commit felonies? Enter the DOSA.
A Spokane police officer woke up, put on his uniform, and went to work. As it turns out, that was enough to convict Michael Connors of attempting to elude. a police vehicle, a Class C felony.
One in four Americans moves every five years. On average, Americans move over 11 times in their lifetime. You generally have three years to file a personal injury lawsuit in Washington. If you wait that long, the person you're trying to sue may be living someplace else. You need to know what to do.
To simplify a complicated subject, suing someone is a two-step process. First, you file the lawsuit with the Court. Then you serve the legal paperwork on the defendant. The first step is relatively easy (legally speaking). The second step can be a lot more difficult.
Unlike opposing attorneys—who are locked in litigation combat on a daily basis—judges are supposed to be above the fray. Figuratively (and literally in the courtroom), judges sit above it all. Neutral, un-biased, unemotional—these are the traits we commonly associate with judges. But not in this case.
Congratulations, you've settled your personal injury case. But here comes the IRS. Uncle Sam wants his cut. No one enjoys tax season, except accountants and maybe tax lawyers. Just ask rapper and producer Dr. Dre: “The only two things that scare me are God and the IRS.”
What exactly is insurance? Seems like an obvious question. Most people you know probably have some kind of insurance—car insurance, health insurance, and life insurance are the big three—so we have a pretty good idea of what insurance does.
The Paperless Revolution Many businesses and consumers are in the midst of the paperless revolution, and I'm definitely drinking the Kool-Aid. I hate mail. I opt into every electronic delivery notification service I can—bills, accounting statements, military documents, legal bar association notices, everything. The first thing I do when a lawsuit starts is ask opposing attorneys whether they'll agree to exchange all documents by email. In the perfect world, I would never receive a single piece of mail ever again.
The phrase “winning on a technicality” is generally a short-hand way of expressing disgust at lawyers and the entire legal profession in general. Hearing that someone won his or her case “on technicality” basically means that the lawyer found some creatively underhanded way of stretching the law to win the case even though the client was clearly morally wrong. And when insurance companies win on technicalities, people feel even more strongly, because many people don't like insurance companies to begin with.
Snowmageddon is upon us, which means school closures, sledding with your children, and unfortunately shoving snow off your property. But what happens if your neighbor slips and falls on a snowy or icy sidewalk right outside your house. Are you at fault?
Here are 10 tips for knocking your deposition out of the park:
You're in an accident and you go see an attorney. He gives you a copy of his fee agreement to sign. It looks longer than you thought it would be. You don't know much about the law, but from what you've heard and seen, in a personal injury case you don't pay unless you win money. “We don't collect unless you get paid,” you've seen in hundreds of TV ads. So is that true?