Friday, September 25, 2015

If the facts of the crime charged don't meet the elements of the crime, should the charge be dismissed?

Many times I see people charged with crimes ranging from Theft to, of course, DUI and the facts alleged in the police report simply don't add up to the elements of the crime charged. Take for example a recent case I had wherein a client was charged with Hit and Run of an Attended Vehicle (RCW 46.52.020) in addition to DUI.  The victim stated to police the individual who struck her acknowledged he hit her vehicle and invited her to follow him to his business, which was just a few feet away from the accident, to exchange information.  Moments later, the police went inside the business location and arrested the individual for DUI and Hit and Run.  We filed motions to suppress based upon the ruling in State v. Knapstad and the court granted the dismissal of the Hit and Run (click here to see press write-up).  Our preliminary motions filed assisted this client in having one of the charges dismissed.  
When the facts don't add up to the charge, it is essential your attorney is skilled and knowledgeable enough to know what to file and when.  Here it saved this client a further license suspension and potential for jail.
The ruling in State v. Knapstad essentially stands for the proposition that even assuming the facts in the police report are true, it doesn't establish a case under the charged crime.  So in the example above, Hit and Run, the individual did not knowingly strike someone and leave the scene without leaving information, quite the contrary, as the judge concluded, he invited her into his business just a few feet away after acknowledging the accident.

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About the author:

In his 10 plus years of practice, Seattle DUI Attorney, Nate Webb, has been repeatedly named Super Lawyer Rising Star by Washington Law and Politics Magazine and a Top Attorney in the State of Washington by Seattle Metropolitan Magazine.  He has garnered numerous Not Guilty Verdicts and dismissals for clients charged with criminal offenses.