HAVE YOU BEEN CHARGED WITH A FELONY?
Criminal offenses range in their severity and some carry much harsher penalties than others. Whereas a misdemeanor offense may not result in any jail time, a felony is the most serious type of criminal offense and the consequences for a conviction can include many years spent in prison. In order for a prosecutor to charge a person with a felony, they must usually obtain an indictment from a grand jury. While regular (or petit) jury trials are often held in public, grand jury proceedings are not, and all involved in such proceedings are sworn to secrecy. This protects those who are under investigation but haven't been charged.
Most crimes are not reported and most reported crimes do not end in arrest. When a felony crime is reported, however, statistics show that 94% of those charged plead guilty. One of the only ways to get an offender to plead guilty is to drop some or most of the crimes that the defendant is originally charged with, and 41% of felony convictions end up in state prison. Additionally, among persons convicted for a felony in state courts nationwide, an estimated 27% received a probation sentence with no jail or prison time. Life sentences made up less than 1% of the 1.1 million sentences for felony sentences during 2006.
TYPES OF FELONY OFFENSES
Felony offenses are the most serious crimes that one can commit in the United States, and many of these offenses are straight felonies. This means that they can only be charged and sentenced as a felony. Other felony crimes are described as wobblers, which means that the prosecution may elect to file as either a misdemeanor or felony based on the facts of the case and your criminal history. The list of felony offenses in our nation is long; but some common examples include:
- Grand theft
- Probation violations
- Assault on a law enforcement officer
- Weapons offenses
- White collar crimes (such as embezzlement and forgery)
- Sexual battery
- Child abuse
If you have been charged with a felony, it is in your best interest to consult with a Seattle criminal defense attorney right away, as you may face steep penalties if convicted.
FIGHTING FELONY CHARGES IN SEATTLE
Baker, Lewis, Schwisow & Laws, PLLC is a skilled, aggressive criminal defense law firm that puts the best interests of our clients first. Our attorney team possesses vast trial experience, and we utilize that experience in assisting each and every client we represent. We work hard in pursuing case outcomes that are beneficial to our clients and will provide you with in-depth legal representation in which you are fully informed and updated as to the details and progress of your case. With the help of an experienced attorney, you will have a strong chance of reaching a resolution in your felony case that sees you avoid jail time, and may even involve your full exoneration.
Even if you are convicted of a felony, you may still be able to expunge your criminal record if certain factors are present. First, you must make sure the allotted time for your crime has passed in order to seek an expungement. For a felony conviction, this time period will start to run on the date when a Certificate of Discharge is filed with the court. Secondly, you must make sure that your conviction can be expunged. Washington law prohibits certain crimes from qualifying for expungement. Class A felonies, violent crimes, and sex crimes will not be eligible for expungement in Washington, and you will not qualify if you have been convicted of another misdemeanor or felony after the date of the crime you are trying to get expunged.
Lastly, an expungement in Washington requires a judge to sign a court order. Our firm can help you start the process by filing a motion to vacate conviction with the court on your behalf, and we can help you obtain copies of the docket, judgment, and sentence from the court clerk before you start. Above all, we want to help you fight your felony charges so that you can avoid conviction in the first place. Contact our firm today to schedule a consultation.
Take the right step after being charged! Call 206.209.0608