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3 Tips When First Meeting With Your Attorney

The following is from Daniel Blue, an investigator for the Law Offices of Feldman and Lee. This is not legal advice. You should always speak with an attorney about legal matters.

This may be the first time you have been charged with a crime, or maybe you have been through this process before. This article is to help you make the most of the time you spend with your attorney when you meet for the first time. The goal is to make your first meeting, meaningful for you, informative to your attorney, speed up the process of fighting your charges, help your attorney investigate, and prepare a defense for you.

Tip #1. Bring everything you think is important

This is probably the easiest step and the most important. If you have documents that you think are important, bring them. Let the attorney explain to you if they are relevant or not. It is better to have the documents or evidence with you, and have the attorney tell you later it doesn’t matter than to speculate. This will give you peace of mind that you discussed everything with your attorney. Here is a list of information you should consider brining with you:

  • Names of witnesses and their contact information
  • Written account of your recollection of events
  • Court paperwork and police paperwork you were given
  • Release of information for agencies and doctors you have been working with

It is likely that your attorney will need to investigate more about your case. Brining all of the documentation and information that you have will save the attorney time.

Tip #2. Be prepared to meet with your attorney alone

Yes, your friends and family are important supports in your life. They can serve to remind you of details, and help you keep track of what is going to happen. However, be prepared to meet with your attorney alone. If just for the first meeting. That is because everything you say between you and your attorney is confidential and protected. If your friends or family are there they could become a witness against you.

If you feel that you might forget something, or you need moral support. Discuss them with your supports before and write them down. You can take this paper with you into your first meeting.

If you are still hesitant or need that moral support. You can also have them wait in the waiting room until after you and your attorney have talked confidentially. After that your friends or family can be there to follow up and support you.

Tip #3. Think about what your goals are.

Having your goals well defined before you meet with your attorney can be helpful. Granted everyone wants to have their case dismissed. However, you should consider what is most important to you. Some questions you can ask yourself:

  • Is your time more important to you than having to appear at court many times?
  • Are you only willing to accept a dismissal or you open to other resolutions/outcomes?

Your attorney will be able to advise you on what you can expect, and help you reach your goals. Your attorney and you can also help problem solve the best way to reach your goals.

Being charged with a crime is a stressful life event for anyone. Meeting with your attorney is an essential step for any criminal defense so much that it is your constitutional right. If you take time to think about these three easy tips you can reduce the stress of your first meeting, and have a much better experience.


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Driving While Elf

I came across this unusual case out of Louisiana while reading Jonathon Turley, Esq.’s blog. Instantly, Will Ferrell’s “ELF” came to mind.  In his post, Turley quipped, “Presumably, his counsel will argue that the BAL level is for humans not elves who have a greater tolerance for alcohol used to warm them in the cold North Pole winters. Besides, you try working in a non-union shop 364 days a year for a guy who does not even charge for toys and talks to animals.”  Here in Washington, I think elves are held to the same standards as everyone else. Whether you’ve been naughty or nice this year, make sure to check out some suggestions for holiday cocktails. Also, if you’ve been charged with “Driving While Elf” or any other offense, make sure to  check out the  arraignment FAQ and Miranda warnings posts.



10 Holiday Drinks to Try this Season

The holidays are a festive time, which means there is a lot of heavy drinking.  Seriously, why do you think Santa is so merry? Santa has had a few– it isn’t just the milk and cookies.  Here are 10 fun cocktails to try courtesy of BuzzFeed, I’ve also used this site to calculate the alcohol percentage in each. It is important to make sure that you drink responsibly and knowing your limits is important to ensuring a safe and happy holiday season. Many police stations have additional patrols during holiday time.Remember, the per se limit in Washington is .08.  But criminal charges can be imposed even if your blood alcohol content is less than that.     Have a safe and happy holiday season!

1. Eggnog   (0.5)


This drink constitutes .5 a U.S. Standard drink.

1 large grade AA egg, separated
2 tsp superfine sugar
1 oz heavy cream
1/2 tsp pure almond extract
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 oz Mount Gay rum
dashes of grated cinnamon and nutmeg for garnish

1. Separate the egg into two bowls.
2. Beat the yolk until stiff.
3. Beat the white with 1 tsp. sugar until peaks form.
4. Slowly fold the white and yolk together.
5. Separately, beat the cream with the almond, vanilla, and 1 tsp. sugar in a bowl until stiff.
6. fold in the cream with the egg mixture.
7. Add Mt. Gay and stir gently.
8. Refrigerate overnight, or serve immediately over ice in a punch glass or martini glass.
9. Garnish with grated nutmeg and cinnamon.

2. Candy Cane (1.4)

Candy Cane

3/4 oz SKYY Berry vodka
3/4 oz Peppermint Schnapps
3/4 oz white Crème de Cacao
1/4 oz grenadine
1 candy cane
half and half
soda water

1. Pour the vodka, Peppermint Schnapps, white Creme de Cacao and grenadine into a cocktail shaker with ice.
2. Shake well.
3. Pour into a cocktail glass rimmed with crushed peppermint candy.
4. Fill with half and half.
5. Top with a splash of soda water.
6. Garnish with a candy cane and serve.

3. Berry Christmas Sangria

Berry Christmas Sangria

9 oz VeeV Açaí Spirit
9 oz red wine
9 oz strawberry pureé or pomegranate juice
9 oz cranberry juice
fresh fruit for garnish

1. Build in an ice-filled pitcher and stir well.
2. Garnish with fresh fruit, serve.

4. Angel’s Delight (1.4)

Angel's Delight

1 oz cream
3/4 oz triple sec
3/4 oz gin
2-3 dashes grenadine

1. Pour the ingredients into a shaker with ice.
2. Shake well.
3. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

5. English Christmas Punch

English Christmas Punch

750 mL bottle dark rum
750 mL bottle dry red wine
3 cups strong tea
1 lb superfine sugar
1 one large orange, for juice
1 lemon, for juice

1. Heat, but do not allow to boil, the wine, tea, lemon and orange juices in a saucepan or chafing dish.
2. Pour the heated mix into a heat proof punch bowl.
3. Place as much sugar as possible into a large ladle and any excess sugar into the punch bowl.
4. Saturate the sugar in the ladle with rum.
5. Ignite the rum and sugar in the ladle and pour it while still aflame into the punch.
6. Stir well and extinguish the flames.
7. Pour the remainder of the rum into the punch.
8. Stir well.

6. Celebration (1.4)


1 oz Cognac
1 oz Cointreau
1 oz lemon juice
1.5 oz rum
1 (each) orange peel

1. Shake over ice.
2. Pour into a cocktail glass.
3. Garnish with orange peel, and serve.

7. Holiday Hopper (1.2)

Holiday Hopper

1 oz Midori melon liqueur
1/2 oz green creme de menthe
1/2 oz white creme de cacao
2 oz half and half
mint leaves for garnish
raspberry for garnish

1. Pour the ingredients into cocktail shaker filled with ice.
2. Shake well.
3. Strain into a cocktail glass.
4. Garnish with a mint leaves and a raspberry.

8. The North Pole (0.5)

The North Pole

1 dollop whipped cream
1 (each) white egg
1 gin
0.5 oz. lemon juice
0.5 oz. maraschino liqueur

1. Pour all ingredients (except whipped cream) into a cocktail shaker with ice.
2. Strain into a cocktail glass.
3. Top with whipped cream and serve.

9. The Grinch (1.1)

The Grinch

2 oz Midori
1/2 oz lemon juice
1 tsp simple syrup
1 maraschino cherry for garnish

1. Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice.
2. Shake well.
3. Strain into a punch or cocktail glass.
4. Garnish with a maraschino cherry, serve.

10. Mistletoe Martini (1.0)

Mistletoe Martini

2 oz vodka
2 oz orange juice
3 oz cranberry tea, chilled
3/4 oz lemon juice
3 tsp sugar

1. Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice.
2. Shake well.
3. Strain into two chilled cocktail glasses.


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Arraignment FAQ

When charged with a crime, whether at the time the crime allegedly happened or later, you must make a first appearance in court.  This appearance is an arraignment.  Some of you have not gone yet and are nervous.  Others went and may have some questions about the process.  I attempt below to answer some of the most common questions I am asked before, during, and after arraignment.

Q: What is an arraignment?

A: The city/county/state has charged you with a crime.  The purpose of your arraignment is to advise you of the charge, the maximum penalties for that charge, and record your plea of either guilty or not guilty.  Assuming you plead not guilty, the court will determine whether to release you or require you to post a bond/bail before being released (usually from custody).  The judge will also likely set conditions you need to follow, such as no new criminal law violations, or prohibit contact with a certain person or place.

Q: I have not had enough time to get an attorney yet, will one be there with me?

A: Yes.  The Constitution affords you an attorney at each stage of the criminal proceeding.  Even if you have not hired an attorney prior to arraignment, a public defender will be there to assist you at the first hearing.

Q: The judge only read a snippet from the police report and found probable cause, does that mean I am guilty?

A: No.  The probable cause standard is low.  The judge only needs to find this low standard to order you held in jail and/or set conditions of release.  The judge is not commenting on the strength of your case, your defenses, and/or the witnesses, etc.  The judge is simply stating that they are 50.1% convinced you committed the crime(s) charged.

Q: But I am innocent, why am I here?

A: The prosecutor is charging you with a crime.  In MOST cases, the prosecutor has the burden of proving you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  In many courts, the cops directly give you a citation and court date.  The prosecutor has not had a chance to review the allegations before the first hearing.  Since it is up to the prosecutor to prove the charges against you they need time to further investigate the case before deciding whether to dismiss the case or move forward.

Q: Why not just plead guilty at this first appearance and get it over with?

A: BAD idea.  Even assuming you are “caught red-handed”, pleading guilty is not the best option for a whole lot of reasons: you may have a great legal, factual, or technical defense;  the prosecutor’s evidence might not hold up to your attorney’s scrutiny; witnesses/victims may not want to be involved or change their story later (or have a fuzzy memory); you may be eligible for a diversion program/deferred sentence/stipulated order of continuance/misdemeanor compromise.

Q: The victim/witness is with me in court today and denies what happened/what the cops claim the victim/witness saw.  Shouldn’t this case be over?

A: Maybe it should be, but the prosecutor is likely going to do further followup to make sure what the victim/witness is saying in court is more trustworthy then what they allegedly told a police officer at the time of the incident.

Q: The judge prohibited me from contacting my spouse/girlfriend/boyfriend/mom/dad etc.  Why can I not have contact with them?

A: In certain cases, the court will temporarily prohibit contact between a and a victim.  Usually this happens in cases of domestic violence.  The court does this most of the time out of an abundance of caution to allow for a “cooling off” period.  This order may prevent you from returning to your residence.  This order can make it very difficult to see your children.  While the court typically puts this order on for a two year period at arraignment, it can be removed later by the alleged victim or by agreement between you/your attorney and the prosecutor.

If you have an arraignment scheduled, or just recently got arraigned, you need to get an attorney right away.  Contact Feldman & Lee (425.771.3600) to get an experienced attorney today!

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Firearm Rights Restoration

The court is required to take away your Constitutional right to own or possess firearms when you are convicted of certain offenses.  Typically these offenses carry a “domestic violence” designation under RCW 10.99, but they do not absolutely need to (being found guilty of any felony, whether an act of domestic violence or not, requires a loss of firearms).  The court will usually go over an ineligibility to possess firearms form that you will sign.  It states in layman’s terms that you cannot use or possess firearms or any other dangerous weapon until the court taking your right away, or the superior court where you reside, actually restores your ability to legally use or posses again.

You cannot even begin to think about getting your rights restored until all charges/probation against you are closed.  Even after that happens, you usually have to wait years before you can apply to get your rights restored.  Below is how long you must wait, and why you need an attorney to help you.

How Long You Must Wait [RCW 9.41.040]

“4(i) Under RCW 9.41.047; and/or

(ii)(A) If the conviction or finding of not guilty by reason of insanity was for a felony offense, after five or more consecutive years in the community without being convicted or found not guilty by reason of insanity or currently charged with any felony, gross misdemeanor, or misdemeanor crimes, if the individual has no prior felony convictions that prohibit the possession of a firearm counted as part of the offender score under RCW 9.94A.525; or

(B) If the conviction or finding of not guilty by reason of insanity was for a nonfelony offense, after three or more consecutive years in the community without being convicted or found not guilty by reason of insanity or currently charged with any felony, gross misdemeanor, or misdemeanor crimes, if the individual has no prior felony convictions that prohibit the possession of a firearm counted as part of the offender score under RCW 9.94A.525 and the individual has completed all conditions of the sentence.

Getting Help

Once the above terms have been satisfied, you now need to go into the proper court and actually get this done.  Each court has different forms, different calendars, and in general different requirements for getting your rights restored.  Having an attorney can help you make sure you promptly submit the right forms to the right court.  Hiring an attorney who knows what they are doing will cut down on the time you need to spend.

Call us today (425.771.3600) to help you get your firearms rights restored!

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Miranda Warnings

Back in 1966, the US Supreme Court held that before a criminal suspect could be interviewed by the police, they must be read their “Miranda warnings.” If you watch enough Law & Order you probably have the warnings memorized: “You have the right to remain silent, anything you say can and will be used against you at trial.  You have he right to an attorney, if you cannot afford one, one will be provided for you at no expense.”  The court’s reasoning was (and still is) simple: a person should be free from police coercion (in the form of questioning) without an attorney present.  Once one is informed of their right to an attorney, one can still choose to make a statement.  However, you are doing so at their own risk.

People sometimes ask: what happens if the police officer never read me my Miranda rights?  Well, assuming you could get the police officer to admit that they did not read you your rights (likely difficult without an audio recording), any statements you made after the time they SHOULD HAVE read you your rights will not be admissible at trial against you.

The court considers custodial interrogation to begin when the police should have read you your rights.  Custodial means that you were not free to leave.  So in any instance where an officer has handcuffed you, put you in the back of their patrol car, and starts asking you questions, that is pretty easy.  Even in the above situation, if you start talking and are not responding directly to the officer’s questions, those statements can still be used against you.

One thing to remember about the police is that one of their functions is to assist the prosecution in getting criminal convictions.  They are typically not there “to get both sides of the story”, or to listen to your defense and then make a decision about your guilt or innocence.  Whenever you are speaking to the police for any reason, realize that they may not have your best interest in mind.

In a scenario where an officer pulls you over in your vehicle, the officer does not need to read you your Miranda rights once they come up to your window and ask you for proof of license/insurance/registration.  An officer is allowed to investigate alleged crimes, and interview people during that process.  The catch is that in most situations, you can refuse to tell the officer anything.  The officer can still arrest you based on whatever other evidence they have, but usually NOT making a statement is the best thing you can do for your case, even if that means spending the night in jail.

The safest way to avoid the Miranda issue is to simply request a lawyer once the police start questioning you.  Once you ask for a lawyer, all interrogation must cease right away.  Also refuse to write down any statements or make any statements out loud.  It is likely the police have already decided that you are going to jail, and nothing you tell them is going to change that.