Seattle Criminal Defense Attorney

Ph# (206) 459-1310

Posts made in April, 2011

By on Apr 18, 2011 in Court, Criminal, Noah Weil, Procedure | 0 comments

People can go to jail for one of three reasons: Because they had an outstanding warrant, because they were previously arrested, or because they were sentenced to a jail term. Today’s post is about the first two. I’ll be talking about the process in Seattle Municipal Court (SMC), because that’s probably the court I’ve appeared in the most. So let’s start with arrest, because that’s the most common scenario. In SMC, court rules require that someone arrested be arraigned within 48 hours of the beginning of detention. What is arraignment? There is almost never a reason to plead on your first appearance. The offer from the prosecution usually doesn’t go away, so if you want to plead later on you’re more than welcome to. And as I’ve said, a conviction is actually a big deal. A lot of jobs are cut off if you have a conviction, especially for something like Assault or Theft. And sometimes clients are on probation on other matters; a new conviction is always a violation of their probation. This can be a trap actually, sometimes the offer for the new conviction is really good, but at the probation review hearing, the prosecutor asks for months and months in custody as a sanction. Common crimes that plead are Driving While License Suspended in the Third Degree, Trespassing, sometimes Theft. But the fact is it’s rare for these circumstances to exist. Crimes like Domestic Violence Assault, DUI, and for people who don’t have any criminal histories, I will never recommend they plead on the first appearance. Arraignment is the process of being charged with a crime. Contrary to popular opinion, and often contrary to the words of the police themselves, in Washington the police do not have the power to charge you with a crime. They can arrest you on suspicion of committing a crime, but the actual charging process rests with the local prosecutor. It is that prosecutor that decides what (if anything) the defendant is charged with. And because due processm granted by the 14th Amendment, requires notice of what you’re charged with, the procedure is somewhat formal. During arraignment, the defendant is told their charges and asked to enter a plea. The options are of...

Read More

By on Apr 7, 2011 in Communication, Noah Weil, Sentencing/Penalties, Uncategorized | 0 comments

I wrote earlier my end game as attorney is to win your case, which generally means get your charges dismissed. I spoke of remaining silent and giving up the “chance” (tiny as it is) in talking your way out of a police interaction, in order to reduce the chances of conviction later. While I stand by that advice, for fairness sake I have to note that even being charged has consequences. One I wrote about earlier, the DOL Hearing. There are others. For one, it’s a public record. It won’t say you are convicted, because you’re not, but it will be listed as an open, unresolved charge. Employers and potential employers are permitted to search for these records and make decisions based on them. Of course you have bail and pretrial release conditions to deal with. Those are a topic for another time, but you can expect restrictions. Whether that means paying a bondsman, staying out of certain parts of town, or mere abstinence, the court is happy to remind you that your case needs attention. And there are other things too, like taking time off work to go to hearings, costs associated with pre-trial investigation, and just the stress of the unknown. I am comfortable explaining these issues to clients charged with crimes, so they know what to expect in the process. But while I was doing some research on another matter, I stumbled on yet another collateral consequence. You can read the entire FAQ here, but I’ll highlight the egregious portion: “Superior Court, the Prosecutor’s Office validates for victims and witnesses they subpoena. …Defendants’…parking will not be validated.” They don’t kid around over there. If you’re accused of a crime you’re facing months or years in jail, thousands of dollars in fines, and unvalidated parking. Sometimes the system feels a little...

Read More
The facts and circumstances of your case may differ from the matters in which results and testimonials have been provided. Every case is different, and each client’s case must be evaluated and handled on its own merits.