Category: Criminal Law

Restraining order violations stick!

Did you know that the criminal charge “violation of a no-contact order VNCO” sticks even if the restraining order is temporary, or is terminated before the criminal case is resolved?

A lot of people believe that any violations of restraining orders will go away as long as the temporary restraining order is terminated; this isn’t true!

Once you are served with a restraining order, it is in effect. If the order tells you not to go a certain place, and/or not to contact the protected party, you risk criminal citation if you do it anyway.

The protected party is NOT restrained by their own restraining order. If a restrained party may not go to the protected party’s home, and/or may not contact him/her, this has no effect on the protected party’s actions. S/he can text you, call you, or show up to your house, and s/he is NOT violating their own restraining order. (We would argue they may not need protection if they won’t leave you alone, though!)

Here is what we see happen regularly: Wife gets a restraining (no contact) order against Husband and he is served with the order. A week later Wife texts husband and asks him to come over; husband believes he has permission. A fight breaks out at the family home and the police are called; Husband gets arrested for violating the no-contact order. Two weeks later, Wife’s no-contact order is terminated in family court; Husband’s criminal VNCO is still pending.

Husband is going to have a hard time fighting this charge, as the evidence tends to prove he knowingly went to a location, and spoke to a person, he wasn’t supposed to, after having been served with the no-contact order.

Read your order and respect it. No judge will have any sympathy for you if you knowingly violate the terms of your order.

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Outrageous Government Conduct

George was featured recently in the Skagit Valley Herald after he managed to achieve a dismissal of all charges against a felony client due to outrageous government conduct. Read the full story here.

This marks only the second time an attorney in Washington State has successfully won a dismissal on these grounds. The first time was in 1996, after a lengthy appeal of the original case’s 1993 verdict on an arrest from 1991. Click here to read the opinion of State v. Lively (1996).

The case is up for an appeal on April 9, 2018, and we are certainly hoping the Court of Appeals affirms George’s hard-won victory.

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Dept. of Licensing vs. Missing Witness

If you are charged with a DUI or other similar driving offense, you may be subject to sanctions imposed by the Department of Licensing relative to suspension of your license to drive in the state of Washington. You can request a hearing to dispute the suspension, and it is generally a good idea to do so if there is a chance the suspension can be overturned.

In my client’s recent case, the department’s police report had some inaccuracies, and a witness subpoenaed on the client’s behalf failed to appear. The department granted our appeal, and my client maintained their license pending any sanctions that may be requested by the district court.

DOL hearings are tough to win; for every 100 you request, you might prevail in 15. It is your choice to appeal the suspension, and it may or may not be the best course of action for you. Feel free to talk to me any time about a DOL hearing, I’d be happy to give you some advice that may be helpful.

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