Criminal Defense against Misdemeanor Charges
Seattle, Washington Criminal Defense Lawyer
The state of Washington classifies criminal offenses as either a misdemeanor or a felony, although some crimes could be charged in either category, depending on the circumstances. For example, DUI is generally a misdemeanor but if you have been convicted of four DUIs in the past, you will face a felony DUI charge now.
A felony is a more serious offense, punishable by heavy fines and jail or prison time. But a misdemeanor offense can be serious and the punishments for a misdemeanor crime can be disruptive to your work and home life, resulting in county jail imprisonment for up to one year and fines up to $5,000.
If you've been charged with a misdemeanor crime in Washington state, an experienced criminal defense lawyer can help protect your freedom and your record. Call the Seattle law office of criminal defense lawyer Steve Karimi at 206-660-6200, or email us to schedule a free initial consultation.
"Let My Extensive Experience as a Former Prosecutor Work For You."
When you understand the potential consequences of a misdemeanor conviction, you'll understand how important it is to work with an experienced attorney who knows the local courts and local juries. The consequences of a misdemeanor conviction can include months of jail time and, for people whose jobs require professional certification and licensure, the loss of their license and job.
Defense lawyer Steve Karimi, named by Washington Law & Politics Magazine as a "rising star" in criminal defense after years as a prosecutor, can help you understand the charges against you and the defense options that can minimize damage to your life.
Felony Offenses in Washington State
Defense lawyer Steve Karimi represents people in any state criminal court in Washington facing a wide range of misdemeanor criminal charges, including:
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Vehicular assault (a felony offense charged in car accidents with injuries when the driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs)
- Underage drinking and many other juvenile offenses
- Theft crimes
- Domestic violence, domestic assault, stalking, harassment
- Drug possession for small amounts
- Traffic offenses, such as reckless driving, negligent driving, speeding
The sentencing for misdemeanors is typically specified for each crime. If the law fails to mention a specific punishment, then the maximum jail time is ninety days (though, a criminal defense lawyer can often convince a judge to not order jail time, especially for a first offense). Many misdemeanors specify a minimum punishment. For example, a conviction for a multiple offender DUI requires jail time or equivalent alternative work program, and/or community service, alcohol treatment programs, and fines.
The judge may order that custody time be served in jail or in at-home detention (house arrest or electronic-monitoring), at the judge's discretion. If the court imposes a fine, it will often provide an alternative sentence consisting of community service hours.
Traffic violations (such as speeding tickets) are called "infractions" and are punishable by a fine usually not exceeding $500 plus penalty assessments (court costs). No time in jail can be imposed for an infraction.
Diversion Programs: Some offenses (such as driving under the influence of drugs) may be eligible for "deferred sentence" or "diversion." This allows 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.
Probation: The judge can either grant or deny probation. If probation is granted, it generally lasts for to two (2) years. However, probation for a DUI may last up to 5 years.
Civil Compromise: In some cases, defense attorney Steve Karimi has been able to have cases dismissed (for crimes such as shoplifting, simple assault, or trespassing) by negotiating a "civil compromise" with the victim. In these cases, the criminal case is permanently stayed or dismissed provided the victim appears before the judge (in person or in writing) and states that he or she has received satisfaction for the "injury" and the court agrees to the compromise.
Expunging a Criminal Charge: If you have successfully completed the terms of your sentence / probation and your case has been closed for three (3) years, your attorney can petition the court to remove the misdemeanor conviction from your criminal record. Mr. Karimi will work with you to gather evidence that you have been living an honest life and have been free of any other subsequent arrest or sentence.
Learn more about expunging a criminal conviction.
Contact an Experienced Misdemeanor Defense Lawyer
Seattle defense lawyer Steve Karimi has handled a wide range of misdemeanor and felony offenses. Call 206-660-6200, or email our Seattle law office.
Representing people charged with felonies and misdemeanors in King County, Washington state, including Seattle, Bellevue, Everett and Snohomish.