Comprehensive Criminal Defense in Washington State
The Law Offices of Steve Karimi is a Seattle law firm strictly devoted to criminal defense. We offer personal attention, professional service and experienced, aggressive representation to clients charged with a full range of traffic violations and criminal offenses such as DUI, drug crimes, theft and other property crimes.
As a former prosecutor and experienced criminal defense attorney, Steve Karimi understands how the system works and will put that knowledge to work for you. He will fight to protect your rights and your freedom against overzealous police and prosecutors in any felony, misdemeanor or juvenile offense, such as:
- Domestic violence
- Felony assault
- Malicious mischief
- Speeding and other traffic infractions
- Reckless driving and road rage cases
To receive immediate assistance regarding a traffic violation or any misdemeanor or felony charge, please contact us 24 hours a day for a free consultation. Our rates are extremely reasonable, and if it is difficult or impossible for you to meet us at our Seattle offices, we can arrange an appointment at another location.
Infractions, Misdemeanors and Felonies
Offenses such as speeding tickets and other traffic violations are infractions punishable by a fine usually not exceeding $500.00 plus penalty assessments (court costs). No time in jail can be imposed for an infraction. In some situations, what might seem like a traffic violation (speeding, reckless driving) may result in the filing of misdemeanor criminal charges. Misdemeanors like drunk driving, possession of small amounts of marijuana and petty theft are serious offenses and can be punishable by time in the county jail for up to one year and a fine up to $5,000.00.
Felonies such as robbery, grand theft and the sale of drugs are much more serious offenses and can be punishable with significantly higher fines and imprisonment in the state prison for a period of years and capital offenses (e.g. murder) can even be punishable with death.
Many sentencing issues—such as restitution to the victim of a crime, alcohol and drug programs and sex or drug offender lifetime registration with the local police agency—can apply to both felonies and misdemeanors.
Understanding the Consequences of Conviction on a Misdemeanor Charge
A criminal defense attorney can help you understand the potential collateral consequences of a misdemeanor conviction. Some individuals with professional certifications and licenses can lose their livelihood depending upon the nature of a conviction. The sentencing scheme for most misdemeanors is typically found with the definition of the specified crime. Many misdemeanors provide for a minimum punishment. For example, a conviction for a multiple offender DUI requires jail time or equivalent jail alternative work programs and/or community service, alcohol programs and fines.
If the crime is defined in the law as a misdemeanor, but fails to mention a specific punishment, then the maximum jail time is ninety days; though, often an attorney can convince a judge to not order any jail time, especially for some "first offense" misdemeanors. Frequently, it is appropriate for a criminal defense attorney to negotiate a "plea-bargain" or reduction of an offense or compromise on the proposed punishment so as to avoid more serious consequences. Some crimes (such as theft) are known as "wobblers" and can be punished as felonies or misdemeanors.
In some cases, your criminal defense lawyer can have your case dismissed (e.g. shoplifting, assault/battery, trespassing etc.). A "civil compromise" of a misdemeanor may be possible. These sections permit a defendant to have a criminal proceeding permanently stayed or dismissed provided the victim of the crime appears before the judge (in person or by declaration) and acknowledges he has received satisfaction for the "injury" and the court agrees to the compromise.
Diversion in Drug and Alcohol-Related Cases
Some offenses (e.g. under the influence of drugs etc.) may be eligible for "deferred sentence" or "diversion." These provisions permit someone, who has pled guilty or no contest to a drug charge, to complete a drug awareness program and have the underlying criminal case dismissed after a period of time. However, if the defendant fails to successfully complete the program, the court can impose a jail sentence.
If someone is convicted of a misdemeanor the court can either grant or deny probation. If probation is granted, it generally lasts for up to 2 years. However, for the offense of DUI probation may last up to 5 years. The court, in its discretion, could even order that any custody time be served in a home detention (house arrest or electronic-monitoring) program. And if the court imposes a fine, it will often provide for an alternative sentence consisting of community service hours in lieu of a fine.
Clearing a Conviction from Your Criminal Record
Lastly, a criminal defense attorney for a defendant may even petition a court to vacate and dismiss a charge from a defendant's criminal history. In such a case, the defendant must have successfully completed the terms and conditions of the sentence, and that the case has been closed for three years. The defendant must also establish that he or she is living an honest life and is free of any other subsequent arrest or sentence.
Vigorous Defense for Felony Charges
Felonies are the most serious offenses and require an experienced criminal defense attorney to vigorously protect your rights and represent your interests in the Washington State court system. Washington state law provides three possible terms of imprisonment for felonies: Class C felonies, Class B felonies, and Class A felonies (C to A with A being the most severe).
Felony sentences are largely determined by a scoring system. An offender's score is calculated based on the defendant's past criminal history and is used to tabulate a defendant's sentencing range. While a judge is not bound to follow a prosecutor's recommendation, it is assumed the standard sentence range is an appropriate sentence, unless a jury makes a finding there are exceptional reasons to sentence a defendant outside the standard range. It is imperative to have an experienced lawyer help navigate through this legal maze.
Unless specifically precluded by a statute (depending on the type of crime), a judge can sentence a convicted felon to a grant of probation. Among other things, the court may require the defendant, as a term and condition of probation, to serve local jail time, pay fines, complete community service and pay restitution.
If a defendant is sentenced on a felony he or she may be sent to state prison or to a drug rehabilitation center if the offender is addicted to drugs. An arrest and conviction can have extremely serious consequences. That's why it is important to choose a criminal defense attorney with a proven record of handling these issues in Washington State.
"Let My Extensive Experience as a Former Prosecutor Work For You."
At the Seattle Law Offices of Steve Karimi, your initial consultation will be free and completely confidential. Our fees are extremely reasonable. Call our offices at 206-621-8777 or our 24-hour help line at 206-660-6200 for immediate assistance. You can also e-mail us now for answers to your important questions or to schedule an appointment.