was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm in the
first degree. He moved to exclude the prior conviction
underlying this charge, because the predicate court did not
notify him of the firearm prohibition. The trial court
granted the motion and dismissed the charge. We reverse and
State charged Joaquin Garcia with unlawful possession of a
firearm in the first degree, among other offenses. To satisfy
the prior conviction element of this crime, the charge was
premised on Garcia's 1994 conviction for rape of a child
in the first degree.
moved to exclude his 1994 conviction as a predicate offense.
He argued that the State could not prove that the 1994
conviction was constitutionally valid. And, he argued that he
had an affirmative defense to the first degree unlawful
possession of a firearm charge, because the predicate court
failed to notify him of the firearm prohibition.
parties submitted evidence concerning Garcia's 1994
conviction. After oral argument on the motion, the court
concluded as a matter of law that Garcia did not receive the
required notice of his ineligibility to possess firearms at
the time of the 1994 conviction. As a result, the court
excluded the 1994 conviction. Because that conviction was
Garcia's only prior offense that could support the charge
of unlawful possession of a firearm in the first degree, the
court dismissed that charge.
State argues that the trial court erred by excluding
Garcia's 1994 conviction and dismissing the first degree
unlawful possession of a firearm charge. It contends that the
trial court erred in deciding this issue in the context of a
CrR 8.3(c) motion. And, it asserts that the trial court
erroneously applied a per se rule instead of examining
whether Garcia had actual knowledge of the firearm
CrR 8.3(c) Motion
State contends that the trial court erred in determining this
issue as a matter of law. It contends that the trial court
should have treated Garcia's challenge to the underlying
conviction as an affirmative defense, a question for the
a defendant may move to dismiss a criminal charge if there
are no material disputed facts and the undisputed facts do
not establish a prima facie case of the charged
crime. CrR 8.3(c); State v. Knapstad,
107 Wn.2d 346, 352-53, 729 P.2d 48 (1986). The defendant
initiates such a motion by filing a sworn affidavit.
Knapstad, 107 Wn.2d at 356. The State can defeat the
motion by filing an affidavit that denies the defendant's
alleged material facts, id. If the State does not
dispute the facts or allege other material facts, the court
must determine whether the facts relied upon by the State
establish a prima facie case of guilt as a matter of law.
id. at 356-57.
appeal, this court reviews de novo the trial court's
decision to dismiss on a Knapstad motion, viewing
the facts and inferences in the light most favorable to the
State. State v. Newcomb, 160 Wn.App. 184, 188-89,
246 P.3d 1286 (2011). We will affirm the trial court's
dismissal of a charge based on a Knapstad motion if
no rational finder of fact could have found the essential
elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. State v.
O'Meara, 143 Wn.App. 638, 641, 180 P.3d 196 (2008).
case involves a charge of first degree unlawful possession of
a firearm. The elements of this offense are: (1) the
defendant knowingly owned a firearm or knowingly had a
firearm in his or her possession or control, (2) the
defendant was previously convicted, adjudicated guilty as a
juvenile, or found not guilty by reason of insanity of a
serious offense, and (3) the ownership or possession or
control occurred in the state of ...