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Seattle Criminal Law Blog

Phishing explained

Both state and federal governments have passed laws that make computer fraud a crime. Seattle residents are probably familiar with terms like phishing and identity theft. Phishing is often the first step in a scheme to commit identify theft, though it could be done for other reasons. Phishing is an attempt to gain private information through email by assuming a false identity. There are different types of phishing.

In keeping with the term's origin as a respelling of "fishing", the two main types of phishing are called spear phishing and whaling. Spear phishing targets specific individuals or organizations, while whaling targets executive officers or others in the upper tiers of an organization.

Elements required for charge of tampering with physical evidence

Tampering with evidence is a criminal act in most jurisdictions across the country. In the state of Washington, tampering with physical evidence is made illegal by statute. The elements of the offense are similar in many jurisdictions. In most states, generally speaking, the prosecution must prove intent, knowledge, evidence and an awareness of a pending or potential investigation to secure a conviction for evidence tampering.

The state of mind of the accused is of primary importance for an evidence tampering charge. Prosecutors must demonstrate that evidence was interfered with on purpose as accidental interference is not sufficient. The element of knowledge is satisfied if the accused is shown to have acted knowingly with an awareness that their actions are likely to bring about the destruction of evidence or otherwise alter evidence.

The legality of drug charges

Washington residents might like to know more about controlled substances and their legality. Controlled substances can negatively influence people's welfare and health, so local and federal governments regulate if and when these substancescan be used.

It is not always illegal to have a controlled substance. It depends on the type of substance and whether a person is allowed to possess the substance. Many controlled substances can be obtained through pharmacies and other dispensaries when used for medical reasons. However, it can be illegal to have one of these substances without a prescription.

Marijuana use and DUIs: Not an easy charge to prove

While Washington does now allow for recreational marijuana usage, there are limits to even that. Did you know that you can still face a DUI if you smoke marijuana before you drive a vehicle? Yes, you can, and it's an interesting problem for police, since it's nearly impossible to prove impairment is a result of recent use.

When you smoke marijuana, the chemicals from it move into your blood stream. As a result, your blood test results will come up with information including the THC levels from when you last smoked. THC can stay in a person's system up to seven days, although it's typically less if someone isn't a frequent user.

2 charged after deputy finds drugs in rental vehicle

Two individuals were taken into custody for possession of narcotics after a Washington deputy found drugs sitting in plain view in a rented vehicle. The drug bust occurred at a 24-hour Safeway in Poulsbo at around 2 a.m. on Sept. 24.

The deputy said that he was attempting to grab a bite to eat from the Safeway when the store manager alerted him to a vehicle that was sitting parked at the store's garage. Inside, there were two individuals who had allegedly ingested heroin. The deputy also said that there was an open safe full of narcotics in plain view. The two individuals were identified as a 31-year-old man and a 25-year old man from Kitsap County.

Factors in getting a felony charge expunged

If a Washington resident is convicted of a felony, they may lose their right to own a firearm in the future. However, there are ways to get certain felony charges expunged. As a general rule, it may be easier to get a charge expunged if it is a state as opposed to a federal charge.

Those who are hoping to get a felony expunged may improve their odds by showing a commitment to helping the community. Getting a felony expunged may also be easier for those who were charged with a nonviolent offense or one that could have also been classified as a misdemeanor. Finally, obtaining a letter of recommendation from a police officer or judge may be in a person's best interest.

Washington man allegedly drove drunk and assaulted father

A 30-year-old man in Gig Harbor kept sheriff's deputies busy on Aug. 30. In one day, the Pierce County Sheriff's Department arrested him twice. His day began with a traffic stop after a deputy observed him driving away from a squatter home on 115th Street in the Key Peninsula. The deputy reported that the man smelled of intoxicants and asked him to get out of the truck.

According to the police report, the man's shorts slid off when he exited the vehicle. After the deputy located an empty liquor bottle in the man's pocket, the man allegedly admitted to consuming four or five shots. The deputy arrested him for DUI, and tests at the police headquarters indicated that he had a high blood alcohol percentage of 0.276.

Man found sleeping in vehicle charged with cocaine possession

Seattle authorities charged a man with possession of cocaine on Aug. 22. The arrest occurred after the police found the man sleeping behind the wheel of a car.

The vehicle was parked on Harvard Avenue near the Eastlake neighborhood in Seattle at about 6:30 a.m. When the police asked the 29-year-old man for his driver's license, he attempted to pull out his wallet. With the wallet came a small bag of what was determined to be cocaine. After the police spotted the first bag, they took the man into custody and conducted a search. They reportedly found several additional bags.

Substance abuse treatment is a good alternative to prison

When a person is accused and convicted of drug crimes, one of the main penalties used in the U.S. court system is time in prison. Many people believe that there are better alternatives to placing those who abuse or use drugs into prison. Instead, these individuals may benefit from substance abuse counseling and alternative solutions.

If your child is in the juvenile system because of drug abuse, you likely just want to see him or her get well and understand the risks of drug abuse. As a parent, it's hard to see your child go down that road of drug abuse and addiction.

Understanding the Controlled Substances Act

Washington residents might be charged with a variety of drug offenses if they are caught in possession of certain controlled substances. The state's drug laws are modeled on the federal categories that are outlined in the Controlled Substances Act. State drug laws must comply with the federal law's mandates but may be narrower in their focus.

The federal Controlled Substances Act was signed into law by Richard Nixon in 1970. It established five categories of controlled substances from Schedule 1 to Schedule 5. Drugs in Schedule 1 of the CSA are considered to have high potentials for addiction and abuse with no medical benefits. This category includes such drugs as LSD, heroin, methamphetamine, ecstasy and marijuana. While marijuana has been legalized in Washington and several other states for medical and recreational use, it is still included in Schedule 1 of the CSA despite studies demonstrating that it does offer some medical benefits.

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