Criminal Defense Overview
Many people don’t know what to expect when being confronted with criminal charges. It is important to remember that you don’t need to go through this situation alone. At Emerald City Law Group, our Seattle criminal defense lawyers not only know what you are up against, but attorneys in King County have the courtroom skills and in-depth knowledge to find the best path forward. Start defending yourself right away and call 206-973-0407 to discuss your situation in a free and confidential consultation.
If you are being investigated for or charged with a crime, protecting yourself, your rights, and your future should be your top priorities. It is essential that you consult an experienced and passionate Seattle criminal defense lawyer. With the consequences of a conviction including long periods behind bars, crippling fines, and a permanent mark against your criminal record, almost no aspect of your life will go unaffected.
Types of Crimes We Handle
If you are arrested for a crime in Washington, you will suddenly find yourself in a complex and harsh criminal justice system.
You will likely face intensive interrogations and members of law enforcement claiming to be on your side. However, their only real goal is obtaining a conviction and their focus is aimed at you.
Criminal defense is a highly-concentrated area of law and it will take an aggressive and experienced advocate to protect your best interests. At Emerald City Law Group our team of highly-skilled Seattle criminal defense attorneys have a record of success defending people throughout King County and its surround areas from relatively minor misdemeanors to felony level crimes, including:
- Unlicensed Fishing & Hunting
- Assault with a Deadly Weapon
- Drug Crimes
- Methamphetamine Crimes
- Prescription Drug Possession
- Heroin Crimes
- Marijuana Crimes
- Drug Trafficking
- Drug Paraphernalia
- Vehicular Homicide
- Vehicular Assault
- Trafficking in Stolen Property
- Federal Crimes
Whether you’re charged with what may seem like a trivial matter or arrested for a federal crime, our Seattle criminal defense attorneys at Emerald City Law Group are prepared to handle your case. From every motion filed on your behalf to fighting in court, we will tenaciously advocate for you and offer the ongoing support you need so you can be confident your charges will reach the best possible resolution.
Looking for help? Fill out our contact form for a free consultation.
Criminal Penalties in Washington
The Revised Code of Washington (RCW) divides criminal charges into two classifications: misdemeanors and felonies.
Misdemeanors in Washington are often regarded as minor crimes and depending on the details will either be labeled as simple or gross. Some examples of simple misdemeanors include disorderly conduct, negligent driving, and driving with a suspended license. These carry possible penalties of up to 90 days in jail and fines of up to $1,000; although, most result in lower penalties that involve some combination of time in custody, probation, community service, and/or diversion classes.
A gross misdemeanor is a more serious offense such as DUI, shoplifting, fourth-degree assault, trespassing, minor in possession of alcohol, and malicious mischief in the third degree. The possible penalties for gross misdemeanors are increased to up to 364 days in jail and fines of up to $5,000. These penalties are also often contingent on the nature of the crime, any aggravating factors, and the offender’s prior criminal history.
Felony offenses in Washington describe much more serious and sometimes grievous offenses such as certain drug crimes, high value thefts, rape, and murder. Depending on the specific incident and any other relevant factors, a felony and its corresponding penalties will be further divided based on severity:
- Class A Felonies – Up to life in prison and up to $50,000 in fines
- Class B Felonies – Up to 10 years in prison and up to $20,000 in fines
- Class C Felonies – Up to 5 Years in prison and up to $10, 000 in fines
These classifications give the maximum penalties under state law, but realistically, if you are convicted of a felony your actual sentence will largely be governed by the Washington State sentencing guidelines. These guidelines along with any other relevant details like your previous criminal history, psychological evaluations, and any other mitigating factors will be considered by a judge prior to sentencing.
Collateral Consequences of a Criminal Conviction
While not every crime is created equal, the stigma attached to a criminal conviction can be devastating and have a long-lasting effect on your life. Aside from spending time in custody or paying expensive fines, a conviction can impact your present and future employment prospects, your ability to get certain loans, and several other negative consequences, including:
- Losing your gun rights
- Negative effects on your immigration status
- Losing or inability to obtain a professional license
- Losing scholarships/financial aid opportunities
- Inability to rent or purchase affordable housing
- Negative effects to child custody/visitation agreements
- Inability to travel out of the country
These collateral effects put anyone with a criminal record at a serious disadvantage. That makes it vital for anyone charged with a crime to make preserving their record a top priority by reviewing every possible option with a knowledgeable Seattle criminal defense attorney.
Defending Against Criminal Charges
The prosecution needs to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt and until you’re convicted, you are presumed innocent. We are dedicated to this ideal and by working with our Seattle criminal defense attorneys, you can develop the best possible strategy. You may be facing a bleak outcome, but an experienced lawyer can help you achieve reduced charges, minimized penalties, or a dismissal.
Washington’s justice system is intimidating, and typically too much for one person to handle. The process if full of technicalities like pre-trial discovery and courtroom procedures, but with the effective representation, you can make sure your rights are protected. If your charge can be dismissed, reduced, or if an alternate penalty is an option, our Seattle criminal defense team will know how to achieve it.
At Emerald City Law Group, our Seattle criminal defense attorneys will begin immediate work and we’ll represent you until your case is resolved. We will start crafting your defense by getting to know you and hearing your side of the story. Next, we will scrutinize every detail of your case. From witness statements, lab results, and police reports, we will evaluate the facts and find any weaknesses. If the police failed to advise you of your rights or your home was searched without a valid warrant, any evidence they collected against you can be excluded. Additionally, if your charges are based on unreliable witness testimony, we will interview all the relevant parties to either find proof of your innocence or any mitigating factors that may apply, like you were the victim of mistaken identity or acting in self-defense.
Why You Need a Seattle Criminal Defense Attorney
There is probably nothing scarier than being in handcuffs and sitting in the back of a squad car; alone and thinking about all the ways that a criminal charge can ruin your life. Your family’s security, your reputation, and even your freedom will suddenly be at risk. With such dramatic and lasting consequences to a criminal conviction in Washington, if you ever find yourself charged with a crime it is imperative to speak with a skilled and experienced defense lawyer who will work hard to protect you.
At Emerald City Law Group, our experienced Seattle criminal defense attorneys have seen first-hand how decent people get caught up in a system they weren’t prepared for and are dedicated to offering the best possible legal representation to anyone facing criminal charges. No matter the case, you can rely on our Seattle lawyers to maintain open communication at every stage and aggressive advocacy in what can be a difficult time in your life.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime in or around Seattle and King County, Washington, we are here to help. Don’t hesitate to call one of our Seattle criminal defense lawyers from Emerald City Law Group at 206-973-0407, so we can discuss your specific case in a free initial consultation.