Getting arrested is, in and of itself, a very stressful experience. The fear and stress associated with the situation can be enhanced even further if you have no clue what is going on or what might happen to you. When knowledge is sometimes half of the battle, hiring an experienced Seattle criminal defense attorney who can help explain your options and give advice on what your next steps should be may ease your burden and give you a good chance at a favorable outcome.
First Steps after an Arrest in the State of Washington
After you are arrested, you will be taken to the jail in the county in which the crime took place and booked in, which includes getting your fingerprints and photograph taken. At the earliest possible opportunity, make clear that you would like to speak to an attorney. Anything that you might have on you will be taken from you but will get a receipt to get those items back. In some circumstances, you may be booked and then released, but in others, you may spend time in jail. Whether you are released or not, you will soon go to your arraignment.
Your arraignment will be your first time in court appearing in front of a judge. At the arraignment, you will formally told of the charges the State has filed against you and then be allowed to plead guilty or not guilty. You may be appointed a public defender, but this is only true for those who meet strict economic qualifications. In most cases, you want to hire a defense attorney who has the time and resources that can be devoted to your case and not overwhelmed like most public defenders. Bail will also be set at your arraignment unless the judge determines that this option is not available to you.
Pre-Trial Steps in a Washington State Criminal Case
At any point prior to trial, your attorney may be able to negotiate a plea deal with the prosecutor who is assigned to your case. Typically, plea deals require you to plead guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for a more lenient sentence. Your attorney may be able to advise you on whether any offered deals are fair or negotiate with the prosecutor for a better one.
Before your trial and aside from possible plea deals that work to your benefit, there may also be a variety of hearings and motions. Your attorney might write motions to prevent certain evidence from being used by the prosecution if it was obtained illegally or write replies to motions that were written by the prosecution. The lawyers will also engage in the process of discovery, whish is essentially disclosing things like witnesses they intend to call, written testimony they intend to call, or expert reports or statements to the other side.
If your case makes it to trial, then it is highly recommended that you seek the advice of an attorney to make sure you know what you are doing. At a trial, the prosecution and defense will have a chance to put on whatever evidence and witnesses they may have as well as make their best arguments to the jury. As a defendant, a trial might be the best way to fight your charges. Prosecutors need to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, which is a very high hurdle to overcome.
Contact Steve Karimi Law Office Today
Steve Karimi has experience as both a former King County prosecutor and current criminal defense attorney and is willing and ready to put that experience to work for you today. For a free consultation with Steve Karimi Law Office, call 206-621-8777 today.