All posts by Kim Hunter

Degree of Injury as it Relates to Assault Charges in WA State

In the state of Washington, assault charges are the result of unwanted or offensive physical contact. This contact doesn’t have to necessarily cause an injury, but if “offensive” to any reasonable person, a charge of assault may be brought.  Even in situations where the victim does not press charges, the prosecution may proceed with filing charges. If the individual is convicted of assault charges, then they my face serious consequences including jail or prison, extensive fines and even the loss of their current or future employment.

The Seriousness of a WA Assault Charge

In addition to filing the charges, the prosecution will determine the degree of assault in charging the defendant. Even if there are not any witnesses to the alleged assault, or evidence supporting that it happened, a person may still face serious charges.

Types of Assault and Injuries They Cause

The types of assault that a person may be charged with in the state of Washington include:

  • Assault in the First Degree: One assaults another with a firearm or any deadly weapon or by any force or means likely to produce great bodily harm or death; or administers, exposes, or transmits to or causes to be taken by another, poison, the human immunodeficiency virus or any other destructive or noxious substance; or assaults another and inflicts great bodily harm. Considered a Class A felony and punishable by 93-123 months in prison with fines up to $50,000 for a first-time offender and life in prison for a repeat offender.
  • Assault in the Second Degree: A person is guilty of assault in the second degree if he or she, under circumstances not amounting to assault in the first degree: Intentionally assaults another and thereby recklessly inflicts substantial bodily harm or torture, or causes substantial bodily harm to an unborn quick child by intentionally and unlawfully inflicting any injury upon the mother of such child; or assaults another with a deadly weapon; with intent to inflict bodily harm, administers to or causes to be taken by another, poison or any other destructive or noxious substance; or assaults another by strangulation or suffocation. Considered a Class B felony and punishable by a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine, this charge is filed if there are substantial injuries, accusation of strangulation or choking or if a deadly weapon was used.
  • Assault in the Fourth Degree: This is the most common type of assault charged in Washington and is considered a gross misdemeanor, punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.
  • Domestic Violence: If the Domestic Violence designation will attach if there is a domestic relationship between you and the victim, which will increase the severity of potential consequences.  Domestic is defined as family or household members means spouses, domestic partners, former spouses, former domestic partners, persons who have a child in common regardless of whether they have been married or have lived together at any time, persons sixteen years of age or older who are presently residing together or who have resided together in the past and who have or have had a dating relationship, and persons sixteen years of age or older with whom a person sixteen years of age or older has or has had a dating relationship.

A conviction with the DV designation will include the penalties of the assault charge as well as a loss of firearms, possibly DV treatment and a no-contact order, prohibiting contact between accused and the alleged victim.

  • Self Defense: An Affirmative Defense to Assault Even if the other person was injured, the defendant may have been acting in self-defense. This defense can be used if the individual was attacked, believed they were going to be attacked, used force while defending someone else, or were defending real estate or personal property.

 If you have been charged with assault in the state of Washington, the best thing you can do is speak with an attorney. Even if you haven’t been charged but anticipate you may be, contact the law offices of Kim E. Hunter today to discuss your case and receive quality and compassionate defense services.

 

DUIs and Summer

With summer on the way, Washington state will be taking steps to make the roads safer by taking a harsher stance against people who are suspected of DUI.

According to statistics, the summer months see a drastic increase in overall alcohol related accidents throughout the U.S., with the period that occurs between Memorial Day and Labor Day being called the 100 Deadliest Days of Summer.

As a result, law enforcement officers will be increasing their DUI enforcement efforts to try and keep impaired drivers off the road.

Potential Penalties for DUI Charges in Washington State

If you are facing DUI charges, then knowing the possible penalties can be beneficial. In Washington State they are as follows:

1st Offense

If you have a BAC that is under .15 percent or no test results, the minimum amount of jail time you will face is 24 hours consecutively or 15 days EMH, with 364 days being the maximum penalty allowed. You will face fines and fees ranging from $823 to $5,000 and a 90-day license suspension. You will also have to undergo an alcohol and drug assessment, use an ignition interlock device for a year after your suspension, and face five years of probation.

If you have a BAC that is .15 percent or higher or refuse the test, the consequences are also higher. Your jail time will be raised to 48 hours consecutively or 30 days EMH as a minimum and fines can range from $1,015 to $5,000. Also, you will face a license suspension of one to two years. Everything else is the same as above.

2nd Offense

If you have a BAC that is under .15 percent or no test results, the minimum amount of jail time you will face is 30 days consecutively, with 364 days being the maximum penalty allowed. You will receive a penalty of 60 days electronic home monitoring and face fines and fees ranging from $1,015 to $5,000 along with a two-year license suspension. You will also have to undergo an alcohol and drug assessment, use an ignition interlock device for five years if previously restricted, and face five years of probation.

If you have a BAC that is .15 percent or higher or refuse the test, the consequences are also higher. Your jail time will be raised to 45 days consecutively as a minimum and EHM of 90 days. The fines can range from $1,405 to $5,000 and you will face a license suspension of 900 days to three years. Everything else is the same as above.

3rd Offense or More

If you have a BAC that is under .15 percent or no test results, the minimum amount of jail time you will face is 90 days consecutively, with 364 days being the maximum penalty allowed. You will receive a penalty of 120 days electronic home monitoring and face fines and fees ranging from $1,805 to $5,000 along with a three-year license suspension. You will also have to undergo an alcohol and drug assessment, use an ignition interlock device for 10 years if previously restricted, and face five years of probation.

If you have a BAC that is .15 percent or higher or refuse the test, the consequences are also higher. Your jail time will be raised to 120 days consecutively as a minimum and EHM of 150 days. The fines can range from $2,605 to $5,000 and you will face a license suspension of four years. Everything else is the same as above.

What are the BAC Limits in Washington State?

To ensure you don’t drive impaired and put yourself and others in jeopardy and put yourself at risk of being charged with a DUI, knowing the BAC limits is a must. These limits are as follows:

  • For those who are under the age of 21, their BAC can’t be higher than .02 percent
  • For those who are 21 years of age or older, any BAC over .08 percent is grounds for a DUI
  • For commercial drivers, those who have a BAC over .04 percent are considered impaired and can be charged with a DUI.

If you have been stopped or are stopped in the summer months due to a DUI charge, then you need quality legal representation. The team at the Law Offices of Kim E. Hunter can help.

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Questions You Should Ask When Choosing a Defense Attorney

Click to Email Kim E. HunterIf you are charged with a criminal misdemeanor such as DUI, domestic violence, driving offenses, assault or another similar case, you need to have the best defense attorney in your contact list, or you could risk hefty fines or even jail time with a court appointed lawyer. 

Here, we provide you with some questions that you should ask when choosing a defense attorney.

1. How long has the attorney practiced law?
Experience is very important when choosing a defense attorney. The more experience an attorney has, the higher the chances that she will be able to handle your legal proceedings very well. For instance, Kim E. Hunter is one attorney that has been in the field for quite some time now. For four consecutive years, Super Lawyers Magazine has named her as Washington’s Rising Star. She has a reputation of offering a strong defense for all her clients. Her experience in handling a wide array of DUI and criminal cases has been her main strong point.

2. Is the practice exclusively focused on DUI and other criminal cases?
When choosing a defense attorney, ensure that their area of specialization is relevant to the type of attorney services that you need. For instance, if you are being charged with cases such as prostitution, domestic violence, driving offenses and other similar criminal activities, you need to choose an attorney that specializes in these types of cases. Kim E. Hunter is one such attorney with a good reputation in this field.

3. How long does it take to handle a case like mine?
Some attorneys have a reputation for delivering faster services. In that case, you do not have to waste a lot of time doing paperwork and attending long hearings, while you can solve your legal problem by hiring a lawyer that gets things done.

4. How much does the attorney charge?
Good attorneys come at a cost. In that case, you should know what you are getting yourself into by asking the price of their services beforehand. However, this does not mean that all reputable criminal attorneys charge a lot of money. If anything, you can find one like Kim E. Hunter who focuses on providing cost-effective quality services.

When in trouble with the law with cases such as domestic violence, driving issues and other DUI charges hanging over your shoulder, you need a very good attorney, one that is experienced, cost-effective, and dedicated to offering quality legal services. This is exactly what Kim E. Hunter does on a daily basis. To speak to Kim, call today at 253-709-5050.

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10 Questions to Ask a Criminal Defense Attorney

What NOT to Do During a DUI Stop

A DUI stop is something that can be extremely stressful. This is true regardless of if you are intoxicated, or not.

While you can’t undo the fact you have been drinking (if you are, in fact, intoxicated) there are a few things you can avoid doing to ensure you don’t make a bad situation, worse.

Use the information here to help avoid complicating a DUI stop.

Don’t Refuse the Breathalyzer Test

While you may think it is a good idea to try your luck and go for a Field Sobriety Test, and refuse the Breathalyzer test, this isn’t always the best course of action. There are laws in every state that require you to have your license suspended if you refuse the breathalyzer – even if you haven’t been drinking.

Don’t Try to Antagonize the Police Officer

Did you know that even if you are just a passenger in the vehicle with someone who has been pulled over for DUI that you can be arrested? This may happen if you don’t comply with the officer’s instructions during the stop.

Don’t Have a Child in the Vehicle

In addition to looking like a total drunken idiot in front of your kids, if you have your children in the car when you are stopped for DUI, it can lead to an additional charge of child endangerment. This one stupid move may even put you at risk to lose your kids – don’t chance it.

Don’t Divulge Information about Your Prescriptions or Your Marijuana ID Card

If you are driving under the influence of marijuana, regardless of if it is for medical purposes, you may also get a DUI. This is true even for states where medical marijuana is considered legal. As a result, don’t flaunt your medical marijuana ID card.

Similar to marijuana that is legally prescribed, there are certain prescription medications that can leave you with a DUI charge, as well. As a result, don’t tell the officer if you are on prescriptions. However, you also don’t need to lie if the officer asks about what you take – as you may face charges for this if they find out you lied.

If you want to protect your rights when pulled over for DUI, then make sure to avoid the things listed here. This will help ensure you don’t make a bad situation worse than it has to be.

The Expungement Process in WA State

The expungement process in the state of Washington is unique to others in the U.S. The ability to have this done will depend on if you have received a misdemeanor or a felony conviction. There are several different steps you must follow to clear your criminal record.

Check the Time Requirements

A certain amount of time must pass before you are allowed to have your record expunged in the state of Washington. For misdemeanors, the time begins after the case has closed. If you have a felony conviction, then the time begins on the date that the Certificate of Discharge has been filed with the court.

Can the Conviction be Expunged?

There are certain conviction types that are not able to be expunged. Some of the convictions that can be expunged in the state of Washington include:

  • Sex crimes
  • Violent crimes
  • Class A felonies

For a misdemeanor charge, the ones that cannot be expunged are DUI convictions. You also need to make sure that you haven’t been convicted of another felony or misdemeanor after the crime that you are trying to have expunged.

Special Rules for Expunging Misdemeanor Convictions

If you are trying to expunge a misdemeanor charge, you cannot have had any other type of conviction expunged in the past. For example, if you have had a felony conviction expunged in the past, you won’t be able to have a new misdemeanor charge expunged.

Scheduling Your Hearing

In the state of Washington, the majority of courts will require a hearing to expunge any criminal conviction. If you have an attorney representing you, you don’t have to worry about going to the hearing. If successful, the judge will sign an order to have the conviction expunged and the charge taken off of your criminal record.

The last step is for the clerk of the court to process the order. Once done, a certified copy of the judge’s order will be sent to the Washington State Patrol. This will erase your conviction from the public database. At this point, you no longer have to worry about the charges you faced in the past.

Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana in WA

According to the DUI statute in Washington, drivers are prohibited to getting behind the wheel while under the influence of any drug or intoxicating liquor. Even though alcohol related DUIs are the most common types of charges seen, there are many people who are arrested and then charged with driving while under the influence of prescription medications, over the counter medications, methamphetamine, cocaine and even marijuana, after it was used along with alcohol.

According to RCW 46.61.502 it is illegal for a person to be in control of a vehicle while under the influence of any type of drug alone, or in combination with alcohol consumption. Even though marijuana DUIs aren’t as common as alcohol related ones, they need to be taken just as seriously. If a person is facing this charge, they should contact a defense attorney right away for assistance.

Determining if a Driver is Under the Influence of Marijuana
Anyone suspected of driving while under the influence of marijuana, or any drug for that matter, is going to be investigated differently than someone suspected of driving with a blood alcohol content that is over 0.8 percent.

Initially, an officer with additional training in drug recognition, who is called a DRE – drug recognition expert – is likely to be called to the scene. After this officer makes a decision regarding drug use and the driver, and it is determined they are under the influence, they will be arrested, and a blood draw will be done. If a person refuses to submit to the blood draw, then the same consequences of refusing a breath test will occur. The main effects of this refusal include administrative license suspension and the refusal being used as proof of guilt if the case goes to trial.

Hiring an Attorney
Being caught driving under the influence of marijuana or another drug is just as serious as being caught driving under the influence of alcohol. The consequences are just as real, and the penalties can be quite severe. As a result, the best thing a person accused for this crime to do is to hire a criminal defense attorney for assistance right away.

For those who are in a situation where they need legal services for a charge of driving while under the influence of marijuana, they can contact the staff at the Law Offices of Kim E. Hunter.

Domestic Violence isn’t Always What It Seems

When you hear the term “domestic violence” what do you think about? You may automatically think of a horrific crime, such as the case where a former police officer shot and killed his wife and a Good Samaritan who had stopped to provide her with help last year.

However, according to domestic violence experts, they agree that it is time to look beyond, without ignoring, the violence. The real signs of a possibility of violence usually lie with one partner’s desire to have control and power over the other person. However, this may also lead to “bogus” accusations because even if someone’s partner seems a bit controlling, it may not equate to actual cases of domestic violence.

The Need to Gain an Advantage in Family Law Cases  

One of the main reasons someone may attempt to claim they were abused by their partner is to gain an advantage in a family law case. During a divorce, or child custody case, one individual may think it will give them the ability to get what they want if they accuse their former partner of being abusive. Unfortunately, there are many cases where this accusation is considered legitimate, leaving the accused party not only unable to (in many cases) see their children, but also facing other charges and issues due to the claims.

To Garner Attention

In the day of social media, a ready and willing audience is at everyone’s beckon call – any time, day or night. However, if certain actions, photos and posts don’t garner the attention a person is seeking, then they may make up stories. This is especially the case if they were hurt or embarrassed by someone in particular. As a result, the individual may make claims of domestic abuse or violence. Since “social media is forever,”

Is There Help?

Unfortunately, people are wrongly accused of domestic abuse and violence all the time. While the situation may seem hopeless because in many cases it is a situation of one person’s word against someone else’s, there are attorneys who can help. If a person has been wrongly accused of this action, they should understand there are options and help available.

To find out more about fighting domestic abuse or violence accusations or charges, contact the Law Offices of Kim E. Hunter. Here you can find information about this situation and what options you have.

Domestic Violence Lawyer Earns Third “Super Lawyer” Title This Year

Domestic Violence Lawyer Named “Super Lawyer” for Third Consecutive Year

Covington, Washington (July 4, 2017) – Attorney Kim E. Hunter, a top-rated domestic violence lawyer serving the South King County, has once again been named “Super Lawyer” by Super Lawyers, a nationwide rating service. She has initially been dubbed a Super Lawyer in 2015 and has since been selected to Super Lawyers the following year, marking 2017 as the third year she has held the prestigious title. Prior to her being selected as a Super Lawyer, Ms. Hunter has also been named Rising Star by Super Lawyers from 2010 to 2013.Continue reading

One of the Most Trusted Criminal Defense Lawyers Was Elected to WSBA Board of Governors

Covington, Washington (July 4, 2017) – Attorney Kim E. Hunter, one of the most trusted criminal defense lawyers serving the South King County, has recently been elected to the Washington State Bar Association’s (WSBA) Board of Governors. She will be representing the 8th District and about 3000 WSBA members in parts of South and East King County. Ms. Hunter is honored to be elected by the constituency of the district to such a prestigious position.Continue reading

How to Successfully Plea Bargain a Case According to a DUI Law Firm

What You Need to Consider About Plea Bargains According to a DUI Law Firm

Each year, 1,500,000 people are arrested for drunk driving. If this has happened to you and you’re charged with a DUI, you still have the option of taking a plea deal. Prosecutors will reach out at some point, as long as you’re willing to plead to a certain offense. Although this may sound like the best option, there are some considerations you need to be aware of before agreeing on anything.Continue reading

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