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Briteney Ann Mercer

Briteney Mercer’s Answers

4 total

  • Do i need a defense attorney

    Me and a couple friends were driving home after a few drinks, we got stuck in a snow bank, the driver got scared and took off. Minutes later the cops came up asked us who was driving we told them his first name but refused to tell him the last nam...

    Briteney’s Answer

    Anytime that you are charged with a crime, you need an attorney. It need not be someone you hire as you may qualify for a public defender. But, there is no circumstance that I can think of where you're not better served by having the advice of counsel. Even if you appear in court and the prosecutor offers for you to pay a "simple fine and be done with it", you may end up with a criminal conviction that will follow you for years and make it difficult for you to get jobs or housing. Most attorneys do a free consultation and I recommend that you meet with someone in person as soon as possible. If you cannot afford an attorney, you need to let the court know this at your first court appearance and ask what the process is for getting a public defender. Good luck.

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  • I need help finding a good criminal defense attorney

    i need someone help defend my son

    Briteney’s Answer

    You ask a very good question. It's hard to know where to start when everyone looks the same on paper. Starting with avvo.com is a good idea, because it allows you to read what other lawyers and clients think about the attorney you're considering. You should take this to heart. However, there is simply no substitute for meeting an attorney face to face before making any decisions. You need to get an idea about the kind of person you'll be dealing with, because ultimately, you're putting your liberty in their hands. I like to have clients come in for an initial consultation so that they can tell me about their case and so that we can get an idea if we'll be a good fit for each other. Most attorneys will offer a free initial consulation, so take them up on this. You'll get information about the charge your facing and what they can do to help you. Make a list of questions for the attorney, and don't be shy about asking hard questions. What percentage of their practice is criminal defense? How much experience they have with cases like yours? Do they have support staff? Will they be the only one handling your case? At the end of the meeting, you should have a good idea if you've met the right attorney for your case. Good luck.

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  • What is the difference between a domestic violence city assault and a domestic violence 4th degree assault in WA state?

    My friend was choked by her son's dad, with a witness. The police arrested him and charged him with Domestic Violence City Assault. I am told that is a lesser offense than a Domestic Violence 4th Degree Assault. Wondering if that is true?

    Briteney’s Answer

    Domestic Violence (DV) in and of itself is not a crime in Washington. However, under the Revised Code of Washington 26.50.010, any crime can be considered a crime of "domestic violence" if it is between "family or household members" or individuals in a "dating relationship". The statues discusses in detail these classifications, but clearly if the defendant is the father of the victim's child, it would constitute a crime of DV. In Washington, "choking" a victim can easily be a second degree assault, which is a felony and is much more serious than a fourth degree assault. However, if the defendant was only charged with fourth degree assault he is facing a gross misdemeanor offense, with a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $5000 fine. Additionally adding the DV designation to this offense would make the defendant ineligible to possess firearms. Dropping the DV desination here would not make it a lesser offense. Forth degree assault with or without the DV designation is still a gross misdemeanor. However, without the DV designation, the defendant would not be automatically ineligble to possess firearms (though even without the designation, that could still be a condition of a sentence if he enters a plea or is convicted).

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  • What can be done about false accusations?

    what legal steps can be taken when a warrant has been taken, from false accusations. the warrant was for a felony, the person accused of the crime was not even in the state, at the time of the alleged crime?

    Briteney’s Answer

    This is a classic example of the importance of having a good criminal defense attorney, and also an excellent example of why you need to be in contact with an attorney in your area immediately. Most importantly, do not contact the police/detectives yourself to try to explain why the accusations are false. Although you may have a rock solid alibi, you need to understand that the police are not trying to help you - they are gathering evidence in a criminal investigation. Regardless of the strength of their case, at this point they seem to have you as the focus of their attention. Speaking to a criminal defense attorney is totally confidential. After you do this, the attorney will contact the appropriate parties and fight to clear you as a suspect in this investigation. If charges are filed, an attorney can keep you informed and most importantly, protected. Even if you're totally innocent, trying to tackle this process without a lawyer could have dire consequences. It's well worth your time to speak with an attorney as soon as possible.

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