Legal news and analysis from the largest criminal defense firm in Southwest Washington, Jeffrey D. Barrar, P.S.

Staying the Course

On June 8 a client of mine was found not guilty of DUI and reckless endangerment. The Clark County District Court jury deliberated for 45 minutes before concluding that the prosecution did not meet its burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

This case was contentious for a number of reasons.

The officer who charged the case indicated that he witnessed my client’s vehicle pulling into a parking space late at night. The business that owned the parking space was closed. The officer was concerned about what the vehicle was doing there and decided to investigate. Upon contacting the driver of the vehicle, the officer was concerned that she may have been drinking and conducted a DUI investigation. The officer’s partner noticed her toddler in the back of the vehicle in his car seat. After my client was arrested for DUI, she refused to take a breath test.

When I first met with my client, she laid out her side of the story. She is a single mother and full-time student. The day of the incident was her birthday. She and her son had gone to a small gathering of friends to celebrate her birthday. Other children were present and her intention was to stay the night. When she arrived at the house, there was no parking available. She was asked by the host to park in the lot across the street. After eating, and drinking a few beers, an argument arose between her hosts, and she did not feel comfortable staying the night. She knew that she was not OK to drive, but a sober person at the party told her that she would drive her, her son and her car home. My client returned to the vehicle, put her son in his car seat and was standing outside of the car when the police arrived. The arresting officer was short with my client and did not listen to her explanation.

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Different paths to a great result

Sometimes, a great result can be attained for a client that does not result from either a trial or motion victory, but in hard work, alternative measures and vigorous lobbying of the prosecutor. 

I recently had a case fit that scenario. I had a client who was charged with driving while suspended in the first degree.  Given his driving history, my client was facing a MINIMUM (which means the judge could not impose a shorter sentence) of 180 days (six months) of confinement.  Despite his history, my client had turned his life around to become a very productive and valuable asset to the community, having his own business and even having sole custody of his daughter.  Needless to say, a trip to the Clark County Jail for six months would have a devastating impact on his life and family. 

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Jury sees through false allegations

I represented a mother accused of committing fourth-degree assault against her adult daughter. Facing false allegations from her daughter was painful enough, but the crime also carried a maximum penalty of 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine.

Fortunately, on January 15 a Clark County District Court jury saw through the false allegations and found my client not guilty.

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Walk Slowly And Carry A Big Stick

One of my clients was found not guilty of disorderly conduct and unlawful display of a weapon by a Clark County District Court jury on March 4, following a one-day trial.

He was arrested by a Vancouver police officer for harassment, but the charges were amended by the Vancouver City Attorney's office during the course of the case.

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Winning before the jury is seated

As anyone who has reported to jury duty knows, the selection process is tedious. But it’s important. One of our attorneys, Nate Pliska, showed in a January 23 trial why putting in the time during jury selection can pay off at the end of the day, when the jury begins deliberations.

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Predictably unpredictable

On April 1, a Clark County District Court jury found one of our clients not-guilty of theft in the third degree.

As with any case that makes it all the way to trial, there was a lot of behind-the-scenes work the jury would never even hear about. Prior to trial, a drug possession charge was dismissed once an assistant Vancouver city attorney was provided with certified medical documents proving our client had a prescription for the drugs that police found in her purse when she was arrested for theft. The client did plead guilty to a charge of bail jump the morning of trial, before the jury was selected, because she had skipped an earlier mandatory court appearance.

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Jeffrey D. Barrar, P.S.: Vancouver Defenders Jeffrey D. Barrar, P.S.
Vancouver Defenders