For those of you who don’t know, eleven new laws took effect in Washington state on January 1, 2014. Most of the new laws are technical changes that won’t affect the everyday lives of Washington residents.
One new law on the list changes the name of the crime of riot to criminal mischief, making it easier to charge people who participate in mischievous activity. A similar change was made in the law concerning retail theft, changing the description of one category of crime from retail theft with extenuating circumstances to retail theft with special circumstances. This change was made because “special circumstances” is defined to mean a particular aggravating circumstance, where “extenuating circumstances” has no definition in our Washington laws.
Another new law clarifies confidentiality rules for county coroners and medical examiners. It says these public servants are not prevented from publicly discussing findings concerning any death within their jurisdiction, including cases where law enforcement or corrections officers may be involved.
Confidentiality rules for tenant-screening companies also were clarified. A new law says those service providers may not disclose a tenant’s, applicant’s or household member’s status as a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking or say whether that person previously terminated a rental agreement as a victim of those crimes.
It is a new year with new laws. Make sure you are boned up on the same; we are all ‘presumed’ to know the laws of this state, and ignorance of the law is not a defense if one is charged with a crime. If you or a loved one is cited with a crime in Washington State, it is imperative that you seek the assistance of a qualified and reputable Seattle criminal defense attorney. The Seattle criminal attorneys that make up the criminal defense team of SQ Attorneys are highly qualified and reputable Seattle criminal defense lawyers that are dedicated to providing top notch, aggressive representation for those cited for unlawful offenses all across Western Washington and the Greater Puget Sound region. The team creates success by working with law enforcement and the prosecuting attorney’s office to ensure that all facts and circumstances related to the allegations are considered in creating the fairest, most equitable and just resolution possible in light of all the surrounding circumstances of the given case.