For more than two decades, the legal experts at Vindicate Law have been defending the rights of the accused in the Tacoma, Lakewood and Seattle Washington areas.
If you’ve been accused of an order of protection violation, assault and battery, domestic violence, molestation, sexual misconduct, child abuse, rape, or murder, the rest of your life hangs in the balance. You need a defense team that will be prepared and persuasive, and who will relentlessly pursue justice for you, which is why Vindicate Law encourages you to hire an experienced appellate attorney.
If you face any of these charges, it’s vital to learn as much as you can, even before you select your legal team. Our criminal defense resources offer some answers to questions you may have:
What is a misdemeanor?
If you are charged with a felony, the typical punishment incarceration in county jail. In the state of Washington, the maximum sentence is a 364-day sentence for gross misdemeanors (which can also come with a fine of up to $5,000), and misdemeanors are punishable by a jail sentence of up to 90 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. Depending on the exact circumstances of the charge, some of the crimes we defend, such as domestic violence, can be classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony.
What is a felony?
Felonies are more serious than misdemeanors. Classifications vary from state to state, but in Washington, felonies are put in three classes:
Class A felonies
These are the most serious, and are punishable by lengthy prison sentences (including life sentences) and fines as high as $50,000.
Class B felonies
These can come with penalties of up to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $20,000.
Class C felonies
These are the least serious felonies, but still come with heavy consequences: up to 5 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000.
How soon must a case go to trial?
Many charges come with a statute of limitations: the time limit within which the case must go to trial, which varies depending on the crime. For example, murder has no limit, while rape varies based on circumstances such as when the rape was first reported and the age of the victim.
It’s important that you know the statute of limitations on your charge so that you know how much time you have to work with your defense attorney to prepare the best defense possible.
What are the steps preceding the trial?
After arrest, being taken into custody, and bail being set, the next steps are:
At your first court appearance, you’ll hear the charges against you and enter your plea: guilty, not guilty or the Alford plea (an alternative to “no contest” available in most states, the Alford plea allows you to maintain your innocence but concede that, based on the evidence against you, a guilty verdict is likely. This may allow you to enter a plea bargain for a reduced sentence).
By pleading guilty to a lesser offense (an option that may be offered to you by the prosecutor), you can avoid trial.
A judge reviews the case to see whether the case warrants a full trial.
Attorneys may argue that the case should be dropped or that certain aspects of a trial (such as misleading evidence or biased witnesses) should not be permitted.
The next step is your trial. You should select your legal team well before the case gets this far. Don’t rely on these criminal defense resources alone; get more information and a professional defense by contacting Vindicate Law for a free case evaluation, online or at (888) 212-4824.