Seattle Criminal Defense Attorney

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Collateral Damage

By on Apr 7, 2011 | 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 lopsided.

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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.