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Post-Conviction Relief v. Appeal

Posted Friday, August 11, 2017 by Andrew Charles Huff

There are two usual ways to challenge the results of a criminal proceeding: They are appealing to a higher court or initiating a motion for post-conviction relief by the trial court.

An appellate court will only review questions of law. This means you can only use an appeal to argue the trial judge made a legal mistake that resulted in your convictions.Post-conviction relief, on the other hand, can address factual issues that led to your conviction or guilty plea. These may include the appearance of new evidence which was not available during the trial. In some cases, new DNA evidence may surface or a witness may change his or her story.

Ineffective assistance

Ineffective assistance of counsel can also serve as grounds for post-conviction relief. Generally, lawyers have fairly wide latitude in coming up with an appropriate strategy. Usually, a court will not find ineffective assistance simply because you felt your lawyer should have handled matter differently.However, failing to provide material information might fall into this category. For instance, when a defendant considers taking a plea, he or she needs to know the full extent of the ensuing consequences. Among other issues, an attorney must advise the client about potential immigration consequences of pleading guilty. Neglecting to do so can serve as grounds for a claim of ineffective assistance.


Prosecutorial misconduct may also give rise to a motion for post-conviction relief. Sometimes, after the trial or plea process concludes, defendants learn that prosecutors hid information or misrepresented evidence.

A complex area of law

Post-conviction relief can be an intricate process. Even simply getting the court to accept the motion and reopen the case may involve arguing complex legal issues. There are also strict time and procedural requirements, so you need an attorney who is highly experienced in this particular area.

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DUI Probation: High Court Says Random UA’s Okay

Posted Friday, August 11, 2017 by Andrew Charles Huff

Can a court order a person on probation for a DUI submit to a urinalysis tests without violating their privacy interests under our state constitution? This was the question recently facing our State Supreme Court in State v. Olsen.

In this case, the trial Court ordered Ms Olsen not to consume alcohol, marijuana, or nonprescribed drugs and submit to “random urine analysis screens … to ensure compliance with conditions regarding the consumption of alcohol and controlled substances.”

Washington courts have generally held that for ordinary citizens, suspicion less urinalysis testing constitutes a disturbance of their private affairs that, absent authority of law, violates article I, section 7 of the State Constitution. The Supreme Court has consistently held that this nonconsensual removal of bodily fluids implicates privacy interests.

However, State Courts have also upheld blood or urine tests of prisoners, probationers, and parolees without explicitly conducting an analysis under article I, section 7. The Court has held that probationers do not enjoy constitutional privacy protection to the same degree as other citizens and simply have a reduced expectation of privacy. The court reasoned that the random testing in this case is narrowly tailored to monitor compliance with a validly imposed probation condition. Thus, the judgment and sentence constitutes sufficient “authority of law” to require random U.A.’s.

In this case, because the urinalysis was to ensure compliance with a probation condition requiring abstinence, it did not violate the State Constitution and therefore random UAs, under certain circumstances, are a constitutionally permissible form of close scrutiny of DUI probationers.

State v. Olsen, No. 93315-4

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Will My License be Suspended for a DUI?

Posted Friday, July 21, 2017 by Andrew Charles Huff

If you are arrested for Driving Under the Influence, your license is not revoked right away and you may continue to drive as long as it was valid prior to your arrest. At the current time, you must request a hearing with the Department of Licensing within 20 days from the date of arrest. If your blood is drawn instead, this 20-day period applies from the date the DOL notifies you of a potential suspension based upon your blood draw results. This hearing with the DOL is a telephonic administrative hearing allowing you to challenge any suspension. The DOL will provide the exhibits, which are primarily the police reports and the time/date of the hearing and hearing officer assigned to the case

This hearing, while civil and unrelated to the criminal charge, is also handled by me as part of my legal representation.

You need to act quickly if you find yourself in this situation. Call my office right away if you or anyone you know has been arrested for a DUI in Washington state.

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Walk Quickly…Look Around Quickly…Basis for Stop?

Posted Thursday, July 20, 2017 by Andrew Charles Huff

Can a police officer stop and question a person who walks out of a house known for drug activity, walks quickly to a car while looking around? That was the basis for a Richland Police Officer to stop and eventually arrest a man suspected of purchasing drugs.

However, the State Supreme Court placed the brakes on that move and held these observations of the suspect along with knowledge of drug dealing in the area was NOT sufficient to conduct a “stop and frisk” of the man that eventually led to his arrest.The Supreme Court found that an officer must have “reasonable suspicion of criminal activity based on specific and articulable facts known to the officer at the time of the stop.” In this case involving Mr. Wesley Weyand, the Court held that his late night visit to a known drug area along with his glances up and down the street while walking to his car was insufficient to trigger a stop by police. Evidence suppressed.

State of Washington v. Wesley James Weyand

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Affidavit in DUI Case Fails to Evidence of Driving

Posted Thursday, July 20, 2017 by Andrew Charles Huff

A recent appellate court decision just held that an officer’s affidavit seeking a blood draw in a DUI case was insufficient to show probable cause and therefore suppressed the results. The basis? The Court found the affidavit failed to establish the driver of the car was…well, actually driving.

The Petitioner Anthony Youngs argued to the Court of Appeals-Division One that the officer’s affidavit seeking a warrant for a blood draw stated that he “was involved in a one car rollover collision. He was then transported to Evergreen Hospital.” But the Court decided this mere statement to be insufficient to show whether or not Youngs was actually driving the car. The Court explained that this statement was merely a “summation of facts known to the officer” and fails to specify important details, such as evidence of actual driving by Mr. Youngs. Therefore, blood draw evidence suppressed.

State of Washington v. Anthony Young

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