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Frequently Asked Questions about Washington State's Criminal Defense Proceedings

Do I need a lawyer if I'm guilty?

Yes. You need a lawyer to help you navigate the criminal justice system. A criminal defense lawyer can spot issues with the evidence, formulate defenses, and negotiate your case on your behalf. They know which judges are harsher in sentencing. They know what steps you can take to minimize the consequences you may face. Even if you are guilty, an attorney can advocate on your behalf. They can also help ease your mind by telling you what to expect at every court appearance.

Is there ever a defense in a DUI case?

Yes. Many people think they can't win a driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol case. However, they are wrong. There are many challenges that can be successfully made in DUI cases, including (but not limited to):

  • The basis for the stop;
  • The basis for the extended detention;
  • How the roadside tests were administered;
  • How the sample was collected; and
  • The legitimacy of the test results.

Whether there is a defense in your DUI case depends on the facts in your case.

I'm charged with a Class B felony. Am I really going to prison for ten years?

It depends. Ten years is the maximum amount of time you can get for a Class B felony. It is not, however, automatically the sentence you will receive. Instead, the amount of jail or prison time you receive is based on your prior record and your culpability.

In most cases, your attorney will negotiate a plea agreement with the prosecutor. This is then presented to the judge. However, this only happens with your consent. Only you have the right to accept or reject a plea agreement. Your lawyer may have an opinion about the offer, but you are the one who will decide whether or not to take it. If you don't like the offer made by the prosecutor, you can go to trial or, in some cases, enter a plea before the judge without a plea agreement.

How long will my case take?

This is a question that also depends on a number of factors. It may be in your best interests for the case to take a long time. This is particularly true if you are charged with a drug- or alcohol-related offense. Prosecutors and judges may be more willing to consider a favorable sentence if you have a demonstrated lengthy period of sobriety.

In other cases, it may be in your best interests to demand a speedy trial. This is based on a number of factors, including whether or not you are being held in custody. However, part of what may dictate how long your court case takes is based on the court's calendar.

My girlfriend called the cops and said I hit her, but that was a lie. What can I do?

In every criminal case, you are entitled to defend yourself and even to go a trial on the charges. If your girlfriend, after making the claim, wants to make a new statement to the police in support of you, she is free to do so. However, this may not result in a dismissal. Instead, prosecutors may choose to proceed. If your girlfriend does not want to make a new statement, you can't force her to do it. We can, however, go to trial and vigorously challenge her testimony.

What's the difference between jail and prison?

Jail is where people go when they are arrested. It is also where they serve sentences of less than one year. Jails are county facilities. For sentences that include incarceration for more than one year, the time is served in a state facility, a prison.

Can I pay a higher fine and not do any jail time?

Every crime, from a low-level misdemeanor to a Class A felony, comes with the possibility of incarceration or a fine or both. Typically, prosecutors expect people to serve some jail or prison time for felony offenses. While it is hypothetically possible to avoid serving any time, this is not the norm.

Hire an attorney in Washington State to Protect Your Rights

You have rights in the criminal justice system. Hire an attorney who knows what your rights are and how to protect them. Attorney Vinny Randhawa represents people charged with misdemeanors, gross misdemeanors, and felonies. He works with people in Pierce, King, and Snohomish Counties in the Seattle, Washington area. Call (425) 228-2202 today to discuss your case.

Contact Us Today!

If you're ready to secure experienced defense for your criminal matter, call (425) 228-2202 to schedule a free case evaluation.

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