I’ve been charged with Assault 4 – Now what?

Assault charges vary greatly in terms of situation and seriousness. Being charged with assault can be confusing, upsetting, and life-changing. Whether it is self-defense, defense of another person, a lapse in judgment, or something else that led to the assault charge, you will need strong legal representation to navigate your charges, defend your rights, and fight for the best possible outcome.

Assault in the 4th Degree (Assault 4) and Domestic Violence Assault in the 4th Degree (DV Assault 4) are characterized as Gross Misdemeanor charges. The penalties and consequences of a conviction can be life changing.

Understand the law:

Fourth Degree Assault (Assault 4) – RCW 9A.36.041

  • A person may be charged with Fourth Degree Assault if he/she assaults another person under circumstances not amounting to First, Second, or Third Degree Assault
  • No injury needs to occur for Assault 4 charges to be filed. The requirement is that the contact be considered “offensive by an ordinary person”
  • This is a Gross Misdemeanor
  • Penalties: A conviction may result in fines up to $5,000 and jail time ranging from 0-364 days. The court may also order anger management or drug treatment classes, and/or may resolve the case through probation.

Domestic Violence Assault in the Fourth Degree (DV Assault 4)

  • A DV specification on an Assault 4 charge is likely to come with enhanced penalties.
  • Like Assault 4 (non-DV), DV Assault 4 is a Gross Misdemeanor and a conviction can result in up to 364 days of jail time and a $5,000 fine.
  • In addition, a DV Assault 4 conviction may lead to a loss of rights to possess firearms.
  • The court may also order a domestic violence treatment program and a no-contact order, keeping the accused away from their loved ones and even their home.

Understand the threshold for arrest:

  • The truth is it doesn’t take much to be arrested on a DV Assault 4 charge in Washington State. This is the most comment domestic violence charge in WA.
  • “Assault” is generally defined by case law as “any unwanted touching” and the law states that the contact must be considered offensive by a reasonable person.
  • If police are called to a scene and there is any indicator that unwanted touching has occurred, an arrest will take place.
  • State law requires the police to arrest the primary aggressor if they have probable cause to believe there was an assault within the last four hours.
  • DV Assault 4 charges do not require an injury to take place. DV Assault charges are filed when there are allegations of a minor injury or no injury at all.

Involve legal counsel as quickly as possible:

Be aware of your own behavior at all times, and especially in times of significant conflict or stress. Recognize the bar is low for Assault 4 arrests and charges and understand the magnitude of the potential repercussions. Consequences can be severe and life-altering. If you are charged with Assault 4 or DV Assault 4, be sure to contact an experienced defense attorney directly after your arrest. Dellino Law Group has the knowledge, expertise, and experience to help you fight your charges and reach the best outcome possible.

 

I got served with a protection order – What do I do now?

Protection orders need to be taken seriously. If you have been served with a protection order, it is important to know how to proceed. We have highlighted some of the essential steps to take if you are served with a protection order:

  • Legal representation: First and foremost, involve legal counsel as quickly as possible. It is essential that you contact a skilled, experienced defense attorney to advise you and represent you at the hearing to review the temporary order. The sooner you involve legal counsel, the more time they will have to thoroughly investigate your case and advocate for your best interests effectively.
  • Understand the order: A protection order is something different than a no-contact order and it is separate from any criminal action. A protection order is issued by the court at the request of a person claiming to be a victim of domestic violence or harassment.  A temporary order for up to 14 days may be issued. A hearing will be set within 14 days, at which time the court will designate the length of the order, from one year to permanent. Please see our prior blog post for a description and comparison of orders in Washington State (domestic violence protection order, sexual assault protection order, no-contact order, restraining order, anti-harassment order, vulnerable adult protection order, and stalking protection and no-contact orders)
  • Know the terms: Read the protection order carefully. You may be restricted from being within a specified distance of the home, workplace, or school of the petitioner. Understand the terms and do NOT go anywhere the protection order forbids you from being.
  • Do NOT contact the petitioner: Do not take any chances. Do not approach, write, text, email, or contact the petitioner in any way. Do not contact or attempt to connect with the petitioner through social media outlets, and do not facilitate third party contact. Do not try to apologize or inquire to the petitioner about why they have filed the order. Any contact can be considered a violation and you may face serious consequences.
  • Know the consequences: Consequences of violating a protection order include mandatory arrest and may include criminal charges or contempt. These charges can range from gross misdemeanor to class C felony depending upon the situation. You may face up to a year in jail and substantial fines. A protection order is to be taken seriously and it is essential to avoid any willful violations and to take all steps necessary to avoid accidental violations.

Our criminal defense attorneys are highly skilled, with a track record of fighting against protection orders successfully.  We are available to advise you appropriately and help you to navigate this challenging and emotionally charged situation. Contact our experienced attorneys at Dellino Law Group immediately and work diligently to achieve the best possible outcome for your case.

Emotions run high during the holiday season — Be aware and be safe!

The holiday season is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, but for many it is just stressful and overwhelming. There can be unrealistic expectations for joy and gift giving, financial pressures and strain, and tense family dynamics.

Tempers flare and emotions run high during the holiday season. With heightened stress levels and the increased consumption of alcohol this time of year, there may be more incidents of domestic violence.

Don’t ruin your holidays by lashing out. Be mindful of your own emotions and aware of your behavior. Make decisions that will keep yourself and those around you safe.

Washington Slaw ardently prosecutes crimes of domestic violence. Conviction can involve very serious and long-lasting consequences. This is not to be taken lightly.

Domestic Violence Crimes:

Domestic violence is defined by Washington state law as any crime committed by one family or household member against another (RCW 26.50.010), which involves physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, or assault. It is often assumed that domestic violence only applies to couples in an intimate relationship. While this is the most common, it is not the only type of relationship included in the definition. Roommates, siblings, and other domestic relationships as defined in RCW 10.99.020 are also included.

Some of the crimes connected with domestic violence include, but are not limited to:

  • Assault
  • Reckless endangerment
  • Coercion
  • Drive-by shooting
  • Burglary
  • Criminal trespassing
  • Malicious mischief
  • Kidnapping
  • Unlawful imprisonment
  • Violation of protection order
  • Rape
  • Manslaughter or murder
  • Stalking
  • Interfering with the reporting of domestic violence

Furthermore, if you commit a crime of domestic violence and then in any way prevent or attempt to prevent the victim from reporting the crime, you may face an additional charge:  “interfering with the reporting of domestic violence”. Please see our prior blog post for further information about the interfering with domestic violence reporting statute.

Penalties:

Depending upon the classification, circumstances, and severity of the crime, domestic violence convictions may be classified as misdemeanor or felony. Penalties may vary significantly. In any case, it is important to understand that domestic violence related cases are taken very seriously and consequences can be life altering. Some of the repercussions of a domestic violence arrest or conviction may include jail time, large fines, protection orders, court ordered counseling, and loss of gun rights. This is in addition the long term impacts of a having a criminal record, which may impact employment opportunities, immigration, and even your relationships.

Legal Representation:

*If you are ever in an emergency situation, please call 911 immediately. Safety first!

If you are seeking protection following a domestic violence situation, please contact us. Our criminal defense attorneys will help you to understand your rights and options, including determining whether to file a protection order.

If you find yourself in a position where you are being charged with a domestic violence related crime, including interfering with reporting of domestic violence or defending against a protection order, please don’t waste any time in enlisting competent legal counsel. A qualified and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney is essential and we are here to help.

Our attorneys at Dellino Law Group are dedicated to ensuring your rights are fully protected and will work to achieve the best possible outcome in your case. Please contact us for a Free Consultation.

Another Prostitution Sting in Seattle Resulted in Numerous Arrests – We Can Help

We recently ran a post related to Sexual Exploitation and Patronizing charges, detailing the law and consequences, and describing how we can help. We referenced a sting operation in a Seattle massage parlor in 2016 where at least 204 men were arrested.

There has been another string of arrests related to a prostitution sting in Seattle. The Seattle Times describes a Seattle prostitution string resulting in 139 arrests at an Aurora Ave storefront. This was reportedly a week-long sting and the men arrested may face charges of Sexual Exploitation.

Please see our prior blog post for explanation of Sexual Exploitation law. This is the term used in Seattle and it is the same crime as Patronizing a Prostitute, as it remains called elsewhere in Washington State.

Understand that Patronizing or Sexual Exploitation charges can impact your job, family, relationships, criminal record, and more. We know that being arrested for these charges may bring up feelings of shame, fear, and confusion. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help.

If you have any questions about the law or are facing charges of your own, please contact our team for a Free Consultation. We have successfully fought many similar cases and we are here to advocate for you and your best interests.

Are you facing Sexual Exploitation/ Patronizing Charges?

Last year, the Seattle Police Department’s Vice & High Risk Victims Unit set up a successful sting operation in a Seattle massage parlor. At least 204 men, from all walks of life, were arrested for seeking paid sexual services. Please reference the Seattle Times article from 2016 for more detailed information.

This sting operation was reported to be the first of its kind in Seattle. In prior stings led by the Vice & High Risk Victims Unit, men were arrested and released, receiving a summons in the mail later. The Seattle PD is now pushing mandatory jail bookings when men are arrested for sexual exploitation, and we are aware that SPD remains on high alert for these type of arrests.

We know that being arrested for sexual exploitation may elicit feelings of shame, fear, and uncertainty. If you are facing sexual exploitation charges and feel unsure about how to proceed, please contact us. We are here to answer your questions, help you fight the charges, and advocate your best interests.

“Sexual Exploitation” in Seattle is the same crime as “Patronizing a Prostitute”, as it remains called elsewhere in Washington State. There is no difference in the law behind sexual exploitation vs. patronizing a prostitute, just in the name. The choice to change the name, according to the City Attorney’s Office in 2015, had to do with removing the demeaning connotation of using “prostitute” as a noun. This change was another step in Seattle’s shift to re-focus prostitution efforts on targeting solicitors of sex work and businesses that promote the sex trade.

Sexual Exploitation is a misdemeanor in WA state (RCW 9A.88.110). A person is guilty of patronizing a prostitute if:

  • Pursuant to prior understanding, he or she pays a fee to another person as compensation for such person or a third person having engaged in sexual conduct with him or her; or
  • He or she pays or agrees to pay a fee to another person pursuant to an understanding that in return therefor such person will engage in sexual conduct with him or her; or
  • He or she solicits or requests another person to engage in sexual conduct with him or her in return for a fee.
  • For purposes of this section, “sexual conduct” has the meaning given in RCW 9A.88.030

Patronizing or Sexual Exploitation charges can impact your job, family, criminal record, and even immigration status. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help. If you have any questions about the law or are facing charges of your own, please contact our experienced criminal defense attorneys for a Free Consultation.

Public Defender vs. Private Attorney: What are the differences?

When you are facing criminal charges, determining your legal representation becomes an essential next step. How do you determine whether you should hire a private attorney or use a public defender, if this option is available to you?

You have the right to speak with an attorney before talking to the police and you have the right to legal representation, regardless of ability to pay. If you cannot afford to hire a private attorney, you may ask the court to appoint a public defender to represent you. The determination of eligibility for a court-appointed public defender is dependent upon income and handled by the local court.

For many people, using a public defender is the only option. There are no viable resources to come up with the funds for a private attorney. For others, it may be challenging but possible to acquire the funds to hire a private attorney, even when eligibility for court-appointed legal representation are met.

Making an informed decision:  What are the differences between a Private Attorney and a Public Defender?

1) Workload and time: Unfortunately, public defenders are often burdened by extremely large caseloads. Facing the frustrations of a heavy workload, they may not have the time to put into your case to manage it the way they would like to. It may be difficult for them to take additional calls and questions and offer the attention and support you seek. This is an aspect of working with a public defender that results in many complaints.

Private attorneys have more autonomy to choose their cases and generally more time available for their clients. If you are looking for an attorney who can have more face time with you and be more available for meetings and calls outside of court and throughout your case, you would be better served by private counsel.

2) Experience: As with any group of professionals, there is a range of experience. Public defenders are licensed attorneys and many are quite skilled and experienced. It is often assumed that a private attorney is more knowledgeable and experienced. This is often the case, but certainly not as a rule. It is important to consider all factors in determining whether to hire a private attorney or opt for the public defender if the choice is available to you.

3) Selection: With private counsel, you can be selective and you should be. You can opt for a consultation and meet the attorney in person before making a decision to hire. You can ask the questions you want to ask and determine if it feels like a good fit for you. This is a major limitation of working with a public defender. You do not get to select your own attorney. A public defender is appointed for you by the court and you do not have a role in the selection process.

4) Restrictions: Public defenders are restricted to criminal matters only. If there is a non-criminal matter associated with your case, you will need to deal with it on your own or seek alternative counsel. For example, if you are using a public defender for a DUI, they cannot handle your DOL hearing. Public defenders are court-appointed and the court may have other rules or restrictions around their usage.

 5) Results: With more time and resources available for private attorneys to attend to their individual clients and their unique needs, it is generally thought that private counsel will achieve superior results. However, a public defender is a very good choice when it is not financially feasible to consider hiring a high-quality private attorney.

Dellino Law Group

If you are facing criminal charges and interested in consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney, please contact us as soon as possible. Our skilled attorneys are dedicated to obtaining the best possible results for our clients. We will leave no stone unturned from the time of arrest until the end of your case. We are equipped and available to handle any and all criminal matters. Please contact us today for a Free Legal Consultation.

 

Did you get caught up in the May Day protests?

Once again, the Northwest reels in the aftermath of May Day, with a peaceful day of protest erupting in chaos and violence.

What is May Day?

May Day (May 1st) was originally an ancient pagan holiday, a celebration of Spring and the transition to Summer in the Northern Hemisphere. Different cultural groups have designed May Day celebrations or rituals in line with their cultures or beliefs (e.g. maypole dancing, daisy crowns).

May 1st is also a labor holiday in many regions worldwide. It was declared “International Workers Day” in 1886 by the International Socialist Conference after violent protests in Haymarket Square in Chicago, during a time when laborers were fighting for fair working conditions internationally. The U.S. celebrates Labor Day in September, but May 1st is a workers’ holiday globally. It is a day that many people around the world, including in the U.S., protest and riot in the name of labor movements and better working conditions.

What happened in Seattle?

Seattle has been known for eruptive and disorderly May Days in recent years. Seattle’s May Day saw less turmoil this year than past years, but there were still arrests and conflict.

Komo and other news sources report at least 5 arrests after May Day protesters and pro-Trump demonstrators faced off at Westlake Park in downtown Seattle. Officers intervened and ordered crowds to disperse in their efforts to control the ensuing fights. Arrests that have been made public include obstruction charges, attempted assault, unlawful possession, misdemeanor theft.

Nearby Olympia, WA and Portland, OR saw heightened chaos and violence with broken storefront windows, street fires set, and police attacked. There were dozens of arrests in Portland and rowdy protests in Olympia saw quite a few arrests as well.

Legal Representation

If you or someone you care about was charged with a crime during May Day or in the aftermath, please consult a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Whether you are charged with a property crime, trespassing, assault, or obstruction, it is essential that you have skilled legal counsel to advocate for the best possible outcome in your case. Please contact us today for a Free Consultation.

I was arrested for shoplifting – Now what?

Think before you consider shoplifting! Even small items can add up to big problems. Merchants of all kinds throughout Washington State put significant funding into loss prevention and do not hesitate to encourage prosecution of even the smallest offenses.

If you have been charged with a theft offense, we recommend the following key steps:

  1. Understand the charges
  2. Understand the penalties
  3. Involve experienced legal counsel

Understand the charges:

It is essential to understand the law and the consequences. What may seem like a minor offense could have a very detrimental outcome.

Theft in Washington State is separated into three different categories. The degree is determined by the value of stolen item.

Third-degree theft (RCW §9A.56.050) may be charged if the property or services stolen:

  • Do not exceed $750 in value, or
  • Include 10 or more merchandise pallets, or 10 or more beverage crates, or a combination of 10 or more merchandise pallets and crates

Second-degree theft (RCW §9A.56.040) may be charged if the property or services stolen:

  • Exceeds $750 in value but does not exceed $5,000 in value (other than a firearm or motor vehicle)
  • Includes a public record, writing, or instrument kept, filed, or deposited according to law with or in the keeping of any public office or public servant
  • Includes commercial metal property, nonferrous metal property, or private metal property, and the costs of the damage to the property fall between $750-$5,000 in value
  • Includes an access device

First-degree theft (RCW §9A.56.030) may be charged if the property or services stolen:

  • Exceeds$5,000 in value (other than a firearm)
  • Includes property of any value (other than a firearm or motor vehicle) taken from another person
  • Includes a search and rescue dog while the dog is on duty
  • Includes commercial metal property, nonferrous metal property, or private metal property, and the costs of the damage to the property exceed $5,000 in value.

Understand the penalties:

Theft in the third degree

  • considered a gross misdemeanor
  • punishable by up to one year in jail, a maximum fine of $5,000, or both

Theft in the second degree

  • considered a class C felony
  • punishable by up to five years in prison, a maximum fine of $10,000, or both

Theft in the first degree

  • considered a class B felony
  • punishable by up to 10 years in prison, a maximum fine of $20,000, or both

Involve experienced legal counsel:

If you or someone you care about has been charged with a criminal offense involving theft or shoplifting, contact a skilled criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.  The earlier you act the more options you may have!

Our criminal defense attorneys are skilled and available to help protect your criminal record and to reach the best possible outcome. Before you pay any penalties or admit to any fault, it is essential that you consult a knowledgeable attorney. Please contact us today for a Free Consultation.

 

I Lost My Temper…. Now What?

The holiday season is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, but for many it is just stressful and overwhelming. There can be unrealistic expectations for joy and gift giving, financial pressures and strain, and tense family dynamics.

Tempers flare and emotions run high during the holiday season. With heightened stress levels and the increased consumption of alcohol this time of year, there are more incidents of domestic violence.

Don’t ruin your holidays by lashing out. Be mindful of your own emotions and aware of your behavior. Make decisions that will keep yourself and those around you safe.

Washington state law ardently prosecutes crimes of domestic violence, and conviction can involve very serious and long-lasting consequences. This is not to be taken lightly.

Domestic Violence Crimes:

Domestic violence is defined by Washington state law as any crime committed by one family or household member against another (RCW 26.50.010), which involves physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, or assault. It is often assumed that domestic violence only applies to couples in an intimate relationship. While this is the most common, it is not the only type of relationship included in the definition. Roommates, siblings, and other domestic relationships as defined in RCW 10.99.020 are also included.

Some of the crimes connected with domestic violence include, but are not limited to:

  • Assault
  • Reckless endangerment
  • Coercion
  • Drive-by shooting
  • Burglary
  • Criminal trespassing
  • Malicious mischief
  • Kidnapping
  • Unlawful imprisonment
  • Violation of protection order
  • Rape
  • Manslaughter or murder
  • Stalking
  • Interfering with the reporting of domestic violence

Furthermore, if you commit a crime of domestic violence and then in any way prevent or attempt to prevent the victim from reporting the crime, you may face an additional charge:  “interfering with the reporting of domestic violence”. Please see our prior blog post for further information about the interfering with domestic violence reporting statute.

Penalties:

Depending upon the classification, circumstances, and severity of the crime, domestic violence convictions may be classified as misdemeanor or felony and penalties may vary significantly. In any case, it is important to understand that domestic violence related cases are taken very seriously in Washington State and consequences can be life altering. Some of the repercussions of a domestic violence arrest or conviction may include jail time, large fines, protection orders, court ordered counseling, and loss of gun rights. This is in addition the long term impacts of a having a criminal record, which may impact employment opportunities, immigration, and even your relationships.

Legal Representation:

*If you are ever in an emergency situation, please call 911 immediately. Safety first!

If you are seeking protection following a domestic violence situation, please contact us. Our criminal defense attorneys will help you to understand your rights and options, including determining whether to file a protection order.

If you find yourself in a position where you are being charged with a domestic violence related crime, including interfering with reporting of domestic violence or defending against a protection order, please don’t waste any time in enlisting competent legal counsel. A qualified and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney is essential and we are here to help.

Our attorneys at Dellino Law Group are dedicated to ensuring your rights are fully protected and will work to achieve the best possible outcome in your case. Please contact us for a Free Consultation.

ARE YOU FACING SEXUAL EXPLOITATION/ PATRONIZING CHARGES?

Several months ago, the Seattle Police Department’s Vice & High Risk Victims Unit set up a successful sting operation in a Seattle massage parlor. This Seattle Times article from July describes the sting operation and the volume of business and arrests that resulted from the operation. At least 204 men, from all walks of life, were arrested for seeking paid sexual services. Please reference the article for more detailed information.

This sting operation was reported to be the first of its kind in Seattle. In prior stings led by the Vice & High Risk Victims Unit, men were arrested and released, receiving a summons in the mail later. The Seattle PD is now pushing mandatory jail bookings when men are arrested for sexual exploitation.

We know that being arrested for sexual exploitation may elicit feelings of shame, fear, and uncertainty. If you are facing sexual exploitation charges and feel unsure about how to proceed, please contact us. We are here to answer your questions, help you fight the charges, and advocate your best interests. You might be feeling unsure about how to handle the arrest, what will happen next, and how charges may impact your life. We can help…

Sexual Exploitation is the name adopted by the Seattle City Council in 2015 to replace the name of the crime “patronizing a prostitute”.

There is no difference in the law behind “sexual exploitation” vs “patronizing a prostitute”, just in the name. The choice to change the name, according to the City Attorney’s Office, had to do with removing the demeaning connotation of using “prostitute” as a noun. This change was another step in Seattle’s shift to re-focus prostitution efforts on targeting solicitors of sex work and businesses that promote the sex trade.

Given the increase of police attention on prostitution activity, it is important to understand the law:

“Sexual Exploitation” in Seattle is the same crime as “Patronizing a Prostitute”, as it remains called elsewhere in Washington State. This crime is a misdemeanor under Washington State legislature (RCW 9A.88.110). A person is guilty of patronizing a prostitute if:

  • Pursuant to prior understanding, he or she pays a fee to another person as compensation for such person or a third person having engaged in sexual conduct with him or her; or
  • He or she pays or agrees to pay a fee to another person pursuant to an understanding that in return therefor such person will engage in sexual conduct with him or her; or
  • He or she solicits or requests another person to engage in sexual conduct with him or her in return for a fee.
  • For purposes of this section, “sexual conduct” has the meaning given in RCW 9A.88.030

Patronizing or Sexual Exploitation charges can impact your job, family, criminal record, and even immigration status. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help. If you have any questions about the law or are facing charges of your own, please contact our experienced criminal defense attorneys for a Free Consultation.

 

Contact Dellino Law Group

High caliber legal representation for DUI, Criminal Defense, Divorce, Family Law, Traffic Violations, Estate Planning, and Civil Litigation in Seattle, Tacoma, Bellevue, Federal Way, Kent, Redmond, Bremerton, Poulsbo, Lynnwood, Everett, Marysville, Bothell, Kenmore, Lake Forest Park, Brier, Sammamish, Renton, Burien, Monroe, Issaquah, Lakewood, Puyallup, Port Orchard, and all of King County, Pierce County, Snohomish County, Kitsap County, and Thurston County.