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Alexander Floyd Ransom
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Alexander Ransom’s Answers

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  • I'm being charged w/ display weapon (accused of flashing it, not aiming it at anyone) .My motion to dismiss was denied.

    I am representing myself. I have not hired an attorney because I can't afford one (considering public defender), I Filed a motion to dismiss which was denied. Today I received discovery (even though last appearance, the judge told the prosecutor t...

    Alexander’s Answer

    RCW 9.41.270 is Washington's "Unlawful Display of a Weapon" statute. It's your typical "brandishing" type of offense. The charge is a gross misdemeanor punishable up to 1 year in jail and a $5,000 fine. You also risk losing your concealed weapons permit for 1-2 years if the weapon involved was a firearm.

    Under the statute, "It shall be unlawful for any person to carry, exhibit, display, or draw any firearm, dagger, sword, knife or other cutting or stabbing instrument, club, or any other weapon apparently capable of producing bodily harm, in a manner, under circumstances, and at a time and place that either manifests an intent to intimidate another or that warrants alarm for the safety of other persons."

    Fortunately, there are defenses - they're even written into the statute itself! They defenses state that the charges shall not apply or affect any person (the defendant) if:

    (a) the act was committed by a person while in his or her place of abode or fixed place of business;
    (b) Any person who by virtue of his or her office or public employment is vested by law with a duty to preserve public safety, maintain public order, or to make arrests for offenses, while in the performance of such duty;
    (c) Any person acting for the purpose of protecting himself or herself against the use of presently threatened unlawful force by another, or for the purpose of protecting another against the use of such unlawful force by a third person;
    (d) Any person making or assisting in making a lawful arrest for the commission of a felony; or
    (e) Any person engaged in military activities sponsored by the federal or state governments.

    Do your circumstances merit a defense? In other words, why did you "flash" your weapon? Were you in your home? Did you intend to protect yourself, your property or other people from getting injured or damaged by the aggressor? These circumstances - and more - may form the basis of an effective defense (by the way, say no more on the internet about your case/charges).

    My colleagues are correct in saying, "Hire an attorney!" A competent and effective attorney can help dismiss these charges. There are many ways to obtain dismissals, especially if you have no prior criminal history. Consider persuading the Prosecutor to enter a Deferred Prosecution if they will not dismiss the statute outright. A Deferred Prosecution is an agreement you would enter to ultimately get the case dismissed. Typically, offenders must exhibit law-abiding behavior for a period of 1-2 years, complete some type of class if drugs, alcohol or anger management issues were involved and agree to pay any restitution (property damage) to the victim.

    Also, a competent attorney can review the case and the evidence. Are there witnesses? Is the victim credible? Does the victim want to testify? Do they have impeachable prior criminal convictions? What do you personally know about the person who you "flashed" your weapon to? All of these issues go to credibility, evidence and self-defense.

    If the facts support a defense, then a competent attorney could argue a Knapstad motion to dismiss. Sometimes, judges dismiss cases by reviewing the facts contained in the police reports. Consequently, the judge decides whether the Prosecutor can prove the different elements of the criminal charges. A Knapstad Motion is pretrial procedure seeking dismissal for lack of proof on the elements. You might get lucky.

    For more information on Knapstad motions, please read my Legal Guide titled, "DISMISSING CASES THROUGH KNAPSTAD MOTIONS." For more information on how self-defense applies, please read my Legal Guide titled "SELF-DEFENSE." For more information on Deferred Prosecutions, please read the attached Deferred Prosecution statute.

    Good luck!

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  • Is it possible to get a DUI ticket reduced to a lesser charge when I blew .079?

    I was pulled over speeding, officer had me complete field tests that I passed, asked me to breathe and I declined. I felt trapped as though the officer was trying to find a reason to take me in. I was arrested and agreed to blow at the station whe...

    Alexander’s Answer

    Yes, it's possible to get the charges reduced.

    In all likelihood, your DUI would be reduced to Negligent Driving first Degree under RCW 46.61.5249. This crime is a simple misdemeanor punishable up to 90 days jail and a $1,000.00 fine. In comparison, DUI is a gross misdemeanor punishable up to 1 year jail and a $5,000.00 fine.

    A person is guilty of Negligent Driving in the First Degree if he or she operates a motor vehicle in a manner that is both negligent and endangers or is likely to endanger any person or property, and exhibits the effects of having consumed liquor or marijuana or any drug or exhibits the effects of having inhaled or ingested any chemical, whether or not a legal substance, for its intoxicating or hallucinatory effects.

    I attached the statute for your review.

    In all likelihood, the Prosecutor would amend the charges to Negligent Driving if you sought trial on the DUI. I've had this happen before. Negligent Driving is a lower and easier standard for the Prosecutor to prove. You might consider resolving the case and working toward a Negligent Driving amendment. While your case is pending, consider obtaining an alcohol evaluation and following the recommended treatment plan. This shows the Prosecutor you are taking accountability.

    If you want to review the recent caselaw regarding vehicle pullovers, suppression of evidence, DUI Investigations, BAC tests, and DUI defenses then please read my Legal Guides titled, "DRUG DUI'S: THE BASIC ISSUES," and "ALCOHOL DUI'S: THE BASIC ISSUES." Good luck!

    Good luck!

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  • Can you get charged with dui for prescription medication?

    I have chronic pain from an auto accident and take medication sometimes so I can work and not be on welfare!

    Alexander’s Answer

    I agree with my colleagues: under the DUI statute RCW 46.61.502, it is unlawful to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

    The harder issue is whether the Prosecutor can prove the charges.

    Here, if you are driving while under the influence of prescription medications (PX) drugs), the officer must prove that you were, in fact under the influence of the PX Drugs. Since you don't smell of intoxicants, and since portable breath tests and/or blood/alcohol test won't indicate alcohol consumption, the officer must prove you were intoxicated by either (1) having you submit to a blood test or (2) saying that you were exhibiting the effects of having consumed an intoxicating drug.

    This type of analysis takes special training. Typically, only Drug-Recognition Experts (DRE) can deduce with any authority whether you were under the influence of PX drugs. However, this argument assumes your driving was mostly legal (no serving, accidents, drifting, etc).

    There are also issues regarding search warrants for blood. Today, Washington caselaw favors suppressing evidence of a search warrant for blood if the arresting officer did not state with particularity the reasons for the stop/pullover. The officer must also describe what behaviors they observed which led them to believe you were under the influence.

    My advice? Don't drive under the influence of prescription drugs. these types of DUI cases - often called "Drug DUI" cases - are very difficult to fight. This is especially true if the arresting officer lawfully obtained a warrant for your blood, and the ToX Law indicates high levels and/or a dangerous combination of PX drugs in your blood.

    For more information, please read my Legal Guide titled, "DRUG DUI'S: THE BASIC ISSUES." Good luck!

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  • Does it hurt my husbands defence if i take help from victims assistance?

    He was charged with assult in the 2nd dv i believe he is not guily because he is a mental health patient and had been out of his meds for 2 months.Now with that being said when he got arrested i lost half my income my place to live not to mention ...

    Alexander’s Answer

    There are many defenses to Domestic Violence charges. Who witnessed the incident? Was it intentional? Are the witnesses credible? Is there a 911 Call? Are there injuries? If so, were the injuries photographed by the victim and/or police? Were the parties consuming alcohol and/or drugs? Was the defendant undergoing severe mental health issues during the incident? Who started the conflict? Why did it start? Why did it escalate? Was the combat mutual? Was the issue about discipline of child, and not assault? The answers to these questions could form the basis for an appropriate defense. Accidents, false accusations, lack of intent, self-defense & defense of others, diminished capacity, voluntary intoxication, alibi, insanity, lack of probable cause, mistake of fact, necessity, and a parent's right to discipline a child are some of the defenses to domestic violence charges. A competent defense attorney will review the evidence in search of the appropriate defense.

    Please read my Legal Guide titled, "DEFENDING AGAINST DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CHARGES." Good luck!

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  • Was arrested for a felony DUI, drugs were found, why are they not charging me with the drug possession with intent yet?

    I was pulled over and charged with a felony DUI, it is my second, the first being vehicular assault about 8 years ago. While I was being arrest they searched my car and found two ounces of meth and a scale. I have two cases now, one for the DUI a...

    Alexander’s Answer

    The Prosecutor is probably waiting for the WA Tox Lab to determine whether the contraband was, in fact, meth. It takes about 4-6 weeks for the ToX Lab to return results. The prosecutor will make their decision based on what the substance actually is.

    In addition - and although it's a longshot - perhaps the reason why Prosecutor is not charging for drugs is because the investigation, search, seizure and detainment of your person/vehicle was actually unlawful. A competent defense attorney can possibly suppress the evidence and get charges dismissed. Many legal issues surround cases like yours. Can officers search a motorist for drugs after contacting them for mere traffic infractions? Is the search unlawfully pretextual? How intrusive was the search under the circumstances? What constitutes a search? What constitutes consent to a search? Was the possession of the contraband actual or constructive? If there is no consent to the search, do exigent circumstances exist to justify the search? Can a police officer search motorists and passengers if the officer sees/smells evidence of drugs? Can officers obtain warrants to search vehicles incident to arresting the motorist?

    For more information on these topics, please read my legal Guide titled, "SEARCH AND SEIZURE: BASIC ISSUES REGARDING THEIR SEARCH FOR WEAPONS, DRUGS AND OTHER CONTRABAND." Good luck!

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  • Feedback on assault 4 being raised to assault 3 after two courtdates. Possible?

    I am dealing with an assault 4 in Seattle. The public defender says he received a disc with pictures of the victim. It has been already stated that the victim has a laceration but the public defender is saying that they could possibly raise it to ...

    Alexander’s Answer

    Yes, the Prosecutor can amend the charges if sufficient probable cause supports the amendment. In fact, Prosecutors often threaten to amend upward if defendants do not plead guilty to pending charges.

    Consider hiring a private attorney. How strong is the Prosecutor's evidence? Are there independent witnesses? Surveillance videos? 911 calls? Did you respond in self-defense? For more information on self-defense, please read my Legal Guide titled, "SELF DEFENSE." The guide provides additional information on lateral defenses which may help you.

    Additionally, consider whether you want to testify given your criminal history. Generally speaking, prior crimes of dishonesty and felony convictions within the past 10 years are admissible under Evidence Rule 609. I've attached a link to this court rule.

    Also, consider attacking the credibility of the victim should the case go to trial. In most criminal trials, Jury instruction #1 gives jurors a complete "laundry list" of factors they may consider in questioning the credibility of witnesses. I've attached a link to the Washington Pattern Jury Instructions, too.

    Finally, consider obtaining the victim's criminal history. Similar to you, their credibility may be impeached if they have priors. if the Prosecutor is slow to provide the information, consider arguing a Motion to Compel. For more information on these pretrial motions, please read my Legal Guide titled, "MAKE THE PROSECUTOR COOPERATE! ARGUING MOTIONS TO COMPEL PRETRIAL DISCOVERY."

    Good luck!

    Good luck!

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  • How much time in jail is my cousin looking at for these charges

    POSS STOLEN VEHICLE , FORGERY, POSS STOLEN VEHICLE , RESIDENT BURG

    Alexander’s Answer

    My colleagues are correct. It's impossible to answer your question without knowing their prior criminal history. Making matters more complicated is the fact that your cousin could be looking at upward sentencing enhancements depending on the time/place of the incidents; as well as consecutive sentencing as opposed to concurrent sentencing; also depending on your cousin's prior history and egregiousness of the crimes.

    I've attached the WA Sentencing Guidelines Manual for your review. Perhaps you can attempt to calculate your cousin's offender score.

    Under RCW 9A.56.068, Possession of a Motor Vehicle is a Class B non-violent felony exposing your cousin to a maximum 10 years in Prison and a $20,000 fine. The sentencing grid is on page 410 of the manual.

    Under RCW 9A.60.020, Forgery is a Class C non-violent felony exposing your cousin to 5 years prison and a$10,000 fine. The sentencing grid is on page 328 of the manual.

    Under RCW 9A.52.025, Residential Burglary is a Class B felony exposing your cousin to a maximum 10 years in Prison and a $20,000 fine. The sentencing grid is on page 426-27 of the manual.

    I've also attached a link to RCW 9.94A.525. This statute assists in determining offender scores.

    Calculating offender scores is extremely tricky. I highly recommend seeking a lawyer's assistance for an accurate calculation. Good luck!

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  • Can I request for a judge to dismiss a case based on an erroneous charge?

    I'm being charged with "threatening to cause bodily injury immediately or in the future" RCW 9a.46.020. I want to request dismissal based on the language of the law - "knowingly" implies full awareness and consciousness - I was not, I was under th...

    Alexander’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    You can argue a Knapstad motion or a Probable Cause to dismiss. For more information, please read my Legal Guide titled, "Dismissing Cases Through Knapstad Motions."

    I question, however, whether a judge would dismiss the charges in your case. Judges are hesitant to dismiss charges through Knapstad motions or Probable Cause motions if the question of law turns on them speculating about a defendant's state of mind under the circumstances. Knapstad motions require all parties to stipulate to the "truth" of the police reports. And when it comes to determining whether probabale cause exists to support the charges, the judge may simply decide that threats were made and that police were contacted. Beyond that, a judge probably won't give you the benefit of the doubt on guessing that you did not intend to follow through on the threats. Judges aren't mind readers. They're far more comfortable deciding questions of law, not fact. Consequently, a judge would probably deny the motions to dismiss and politely advise you to exercise your rights to a jury trial.

    Perhaps the Prosecutor would reduce or dismiss the charges if you hired a competent attorney to effectively negotiate the matter or threaten a jury trial. Good attorneys routinely assemble effective merit packages on behalf of their clients. Also, consider taking a drug/alcohol evaluation and completing any recommended treatment. Perhaps your efforts would convince the Prosecutor to dismiss or reduce the charges.

    If these efforts fail, then consider conducting a jury trial. I've received acquittals on every Felony Harassment charge I took to trial. This is because Harassment charges are often difficult to prove. Among other things, the Prosecutor must prove that your words or conduct placed the person threatened in reasonable fear that the threat will be carried out. But what does that mean in a realistic sense? People threaten each other every day and have no intention of following through on the threats. Also, you have the defenses of Voluntary Intoxication and Diminished Capacity working in your favor. I've attached informational links explaining those defenses.

    Good luck!

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  • I'm being charged with obstruction of justice. Were my rights violated and can I sue or seek dispensation?

    I was recently stopped by an police officer in Puyallup, WA while riding my bicycle down the side walk. A bicycle cop in a squad car and bicycle uniform stopped me. He demanded to see my ID and I refused stating that he needed to be accusing me of...

    Alexander’s Answer

    Hire an attorney to argue a Knapstad motion to dismiss.

    Under RCW 9A.76.020, in order to prevail on Obstructing charges, the Prosecutor must prove that you willfully hindered, delayed, or obstructed the law enforcement officer in the discharge of his or her official powers or duties. I attached a link to the Obstructing statute.

    However, in State v. Knapstad, 107 Wash.2d 346 (1986), the Supreme Court created a procedure similar to summary judgment in a civil case, under which a criminal defendant can, by way of pre-trial motion, challenge the sufficiency of the prosecution's evidence.

    In essence, if the prosecution cannot show by competent affidavit that it has a prima facie case of guilt on all elements, the court must dismiss the charge. In evaluating sufficiency of evidence, the court looks at the undisputed material facts already in the court record from the finding of probable cause, and ascertains whether as a matter of law, the prosecution has established a prima facie showing of guilt.

    In your case, the law might be on your side.

    Under State v. Williams, Washington courts require explicit conduct by the accused to justify an obstruction charge. Speech alone rarely meets the explicit conduct requirement due to legislative and judicial concern for criminalizing free speech. Also, under State v. Bessette, a person cannot be convicted of obstructing for exercising a constitutional right. I've attached links to these cases.

    The acts you described appear to be nothing more than exercising your constitutional right to free speech and to be free from unlawful seizures. It's highly questionable whether your acts constituted a willful hindrance or delay.

    For more information, please read my Legal Guide titled "Dismissing Cases Through Knapstad Motions." And consider hiring a competent attorney who has positive relations with the Prosecutor and Judge. Good luck!

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  • Is it a crime to threaten someone with a knife?

    My 19 year old daughter was threatened with a knife on snap chat. A screen shot, picture, was captured by a friend and sent to my daughter. The picture shows the harasser holding a very large hunting knife with the caption "AB you will die" AB ar...

    Alexander’s Answer

    The applicable charge is Felony Harassment. This crime is a Class C Felony exposing the defendant to 5 years prison and a $10,000 fine. I've attached a link to the statute.

    A person is guilty of harassment if: (1) Without lawful authority, the person knowingly threatens:
    (a) To cause bodily injury immediately or in the future to the person threatened or to any other person; or (b) To cause physical damage to the property of a person other than the actor; or (c) To subject the person threatened or any other person to physical confinement or restraint; or (d) Maliciously to do any other act which is intended to substantially harm the person threatened or another with respect to his or her physical or mental health or safety; and (2) The person by words or conduct places the person threatened in reasonable fear that the threat will be carried out. "Words or conduct" includes, in addition to any other form of communication or conduct, the sending of an electronic communication.

    Here, the photograph described establishes enough probable cause to charge the perpetrator with Felony Harassment. The true legal question is whether your a reasonable person in your daughter's shoes would believe the threats are real/valid.

    My colleagues offer good advice. Consider getting an anti-harassment order ASAP. Good luck!

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