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When may someone act in self-defense?

There are times when a person in Spokane who is being threatened with harm needs to act in self-defense. While state law varies, in general self-defense can be defined as the lawful use of physical force that counteracts a violent act at a sufficient level in order to keep from being harmed. This general definition does raise some questions, however.

First of all, in order to claim self-defense the threat against a person must be imminent. This means that the person must be put in an immediate fear of being physically injured or killed. The threat can be spoken, but it still must be cause someone to believe there will be an imminent physical injury or fatality. Also, self-defense is only lawful for as long as the threat is present. It the threat ends, self-defense cannot be used.

Spokane man faces charges in alleged cold cases

While some criminal cases are resolved relatively quickly, sometimes a case remains unsolved for a long time. These cold cases are not always forgotten about, however. Police will continue to investigate them for years in order to try to apprehend the alleged perpetrator of these crimes.

A Spokane man is facing numerous criminal charges including murder, burglary, rape and kidnapping following incidents that occurred decades ago. The two incidents had been considered cold cases. One took place in 1986 and involved an alleged murder of a contractor. The other took place in 1999 and involved the alleged rape of a woman.

What constitutes an unreasonable search and seizure?

Residents of Washington State and any other state in the country are lucky to live in a free nation that protects its citizens from government overreach. For example, the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects people against unreasonable searches and seizures. While the notion of what type of search is reasonable is rather slippery in the eyes of the law, in general the key is whether the individual had a legitimate right to expect privacy in the place being searched. There is a two-prong test that is used when determining whether such a right to expect privacy exists.

First, there must be an actual expectation of privacy. To meet this element, the accused must demonstrate that there was a true expectation of privacy, not merely that they "might" or "often" have an expectation of privacy in that particular place. Second, the accused's expectation of privacy must be reasonable to society as a whole -- that is, it is objective. In the end, though, it is often not cut-and-dried as to when and where a person has an expectation to privacy.

Felonies: Three strikes and you're out

Sometimes a person in Washington is convicted of a felony more than once. However, such convictions can majorly impact a person's life. The federal Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 instituted what is known as the "Three Strikes" rule. Under this rule, if a person has a federal conviction relating to a serious violent felony and has two or more prior federal or state convictions in which one or more is a serious violent felony, then he or she must be sentenced to life in prison.

Serious violent felonies include a number of different types of crimes. While people may automatically understand that crimes such as murder, manslaughter or sex crimes are violent felonies, other crimes that are considered serious violent felonies under the three strikes law include kidnapping, robbery and any other crime carrying a penalty of at least 10 years and which involves the use or significant risk of force.

Are gun rights absolute under federal law?

Gun ownership is very important for many people in Washington. Many people use a firearm for recreational purposes, such as hunting. Others may own a weapon for personal protection, with the hope that they never need use it. However, Washington residents should be aware that certain categories of people are banned per law from possessing a firearm if certain elements are met.

Two elements that must be met to ban a person from possessing a firearm are that the person actually possesses or has received a firearm or ammunition, and is that the firearm or ammunition passed over state line at any time. In addition, the person must fall under one of the following categories.

Spokane man charged after allegedly trying to collect money owed

It is not unusual for a person in Spokane to loan money to another person or to sell something to someone, who promises to pay them for the item at a later date. However, this situation can become problematic if the money isn't paid back. Sometimes, those who are simply trying to collect what is owed to them are accused of breaking the law while doing so.

A Spokane man is facing numerous criminal charges involving an alleged incident that took place back in October. A woman claims that on October 25, she was woken up by a man she described as large, who was using a bandana to conceal his face and who had a Batman shirt on. The man was allegedly holding a firearm in each hand. According to the woman, he had one of the three other people she lived with by his side.

How does Washington law define theft?

Sometimes misunderstandings occur between people in Spokane, especially when it comes to property. However, these misunderstandings become serious when they lead to accusations of theft. For example, a person may have lent something to someone else, and then forgot he or she did so, believing the item had been stolen. Or sometimes a person misplaces something, but instead of thinking it is lost, accuses someone of stealing it. However, just when does a situation fall under the realm of "theft" for which a person can be criminally charged?

There are several acts that constitute theft under Washington law. One act of theft is when a person wrongfully takes or controls a piece of property that belong to someone else, with the intention of depriving that person of the property. Another act of theft is if a person deceives someone else for the purpose of taking a piece of property belonging to someone else, with the intention of depriving that person of the property. Finally, a third act of theft is if a person takes something that belongs to someone else that that was lost or was delivered somewhere else, with the intention of depriving that person of the property.

We fight for our clients accused of domestic violence

When family members or those in a romantic relationship fight, usually it is just angry words hurled between the parties. Many times, ultimately, the parties to the argument are able to settle the matter between themselves and move on with their lives together. Unfortunately, sometimes when family members or romantic partners in Spokane fight, it can lead to allegations of domestic violence, which could have very serious consequences to the alleged abuser.

If a person is charged with domestic violence, they may be forced to leave their home and give up any weapons they may have. Moreover, they may carry the stigma that comes with being labeled an abuser, which could have a detrimental effect on their personal reputation.

Marijuana and weapons reportedly seized in Moses Lake

Law enforcement in Spokane and across the United States remain committed to apprehending and prosecuting those they believe committed drug crimes. Those who are arrested on drug charges can face serious penalties, including prison time.

A recent reported drug bust in Moses Lake netted authorities almost 100 alleged marijuana plants. Grant County's Interagency Narcotics Enforcement Team (INET) also seized 50 pounds of alleged processed marijuana, 10 firearms and a silencer. The man who was at the home was charged with manufacturing marijuana and possession of marijuana with intent to deliver. The man told investigators that he was considering becoming a licensed marijuana grower.

Woman arrested in connection with alleged burglary

Criminal charges can rise out of unexpected situations. Sometimes, a person is in the wrong place at the wrong time, and ends up as a suspect in an apparently unrelated incident.

Recently a woman was arrested after trying to sell gold to a local scrap yard. The woman went to the scrap yard with hammered gold coins. While trying to sell them, the manager of the scrap yard realized she was using a fake ID. He also recognized the coins from a recent burglary that was posted on a local watchdog site. The employees and manager stalled the woman while they called police. The woman and a man she was with took off running, but employees were able to capture the woman. The man got away and Spokane police are searching for him. The woman is being held in the Spokane County jail.