They gave me a ticket to appear in court, I do not want a criminal record! Help!!
I agree with the other two lawyers--get a lawyer! Also, their information about theft is very informative.
Do not talk to the police anymore. Do not talk to anyone except your lawyer about details of your case. If you've posted anything about the incident on Facebook or on other social media, clean it up.
Your first court date will be for an arraignment. Simply put, that is the name of a hearing where you're charged with a crime and enter a plea. Be sure to plead "not guilty". You'll then be given a new court date (along with other court-imposed obligations--such as no contact with the store you're accused of stealing from).
If you don't retain a lawyer before your first court appearance, you can use the public defender who will be on standby, but at the end of the case (unless you outright win), the court will tack on about $200 for consulting with them. You can probably plead not guilty on your own. If you are going to use a public defender for your whole case, then it won't cost extra to use one at the arraignment.
If you retain a lawyer before your arraignment, and if you are charged in Bellingham Municipal Court or Whatcom County District Court (misdemeanor), you probably will not need to go to the arraignment at all. Your lawyer will tell you. If you're charged in Superior Court (felony), you must appear for sure.
I practice in Bellingham. Feel free to contact me.See question
This individual was convicted of a sex related crime requiring 15+ years sentencing. When is the earliest he can petition for early release?
I agree with the other two lawyers who have answered--more information is needed. However, there is no "petition for early release" in Washington. For State Court felonies, the judge sentences the convicted person, and then the Department of Corrections determines "early release" based on many factors, such as criminal history, the nature of the offense, and whether the prison system is too crowded. Another consideration with sex-related felonies in Washington, is whether the State will seek a civil commitment to protect the community after the offender's sentence is complete. With more facts, a defense attorney can better answer your question.See question
I got a DUI in WA state. I did my 2 days in jails and was sentenced to probation. I went to the probation office, filled out paperwork and they told me to be back the next day to finish the remainder of my initial in-processing for probation. I...
Today, find a person you trust with your child, and who would be available for childcare on short notice. Together, develop an emergency plan in case you are arrested. Be sure your child's life isn't knocked out of balance if yours is.
If you're going to turn yourself into jail, it's smarter to do it on a Tuesday or a Wednesday. Why? If you do it on a Friday, you'll be in custody all weekend before you see a judge. If you turn yourself in on a Monday, the jail and courts are busy with everyone who got arrested over the weekend. If your DUI conviction was in a small town where court only happens a few times per month, then turn yourself into jail the day before--but make sure you give the jail enough time to make arrangements to bring you to court. Every jurisdiction is a little different, so be sure to find out.
Get a lawyer who can explain the consequences of "running from the law".
Starting now, do what you were supposed to do at the beginning--an evaluation, victims impact pannel, and at least attend alcohol and drug information school (ADIS). If you can't afford any of that, remember that 12-step meetings are free. Go to an AA or NA meetings every day--and have a slip signed to prove you went (some people at the meeting may be able to tell you how to go about doing this).
A lawyer will posture you for the most favorable result. Call the lawyer who represented you in the first place.
RARE, BUT MAYBE: You never said that you had a warrant for your arrest. You probably do. But if by some good fortune you never got a warrant, then you might have a chance to avoid trouble. You never know--if you don't have a warrant, and enough time passed, you might be worrying about nothing. It's very unlikely, but you never know.See question
can your points go back to zero at some point
Yes. Your sentencing points can go back to zero.
In the State of Washington, felony sentencing points will drop ("wash") after 10-years of pure law abiding behavior.
Is this simple answer entirely true?
No. The Washington Sentencing Reform Act (SRA) is full of technicalities, exceptions, and is constantly changing.
So, if you are changing your plea, or even thinking about committing a new crime, consult with a lawyer who is familiar with the SRA, so you have advanced notice of the consequences.
Excellent question.See question
I have a new court date set in federal way I have a job at the airport the port of seattle want to rest me on these what can I do I'm going to lose my job
Without knowing more about what parts of the Courts' orders you didn't comply with, it's hard to be specific. Call the Courts and ask to schedule a warrant quash date. If the court will not do that, and tell you to turn yourself into the jail, then be sure to turn yourself in on a Tuesday or a Wednesday. The worse time to turn yourself in is on a Friday before a 3-day holiday. You will sit in jail for a long time, it will be crowded, and then the judges, prosecutors, probation officers, and public defenders will all be slammed with 3-nights worth of arrested people in the courtroom.
You know what parts of the court orders you didn't comply with. It is best for you to comply with as much as you can and be sure that the Court has proof. I don't know what you were supposed to do (such as evaluations, treatment, AA meetings, community service, pay fines, maintain law-abiding behavior, etc.) but DO AS MUCH as you can and GET PROOF before you see the judge.
If it looks like you will have to go to jail before you see the judge, then make sure you have a reliable person on the outside to keep copies of any proof of compliance. Make sure that person doesn't have warrants, or they might be arrested. If you bring proof documents to jail, it'll get checked into property and you wont be able to show the court. The reliable person on the outside should bring the papers to court when you get there and will be able to give any paperwork to the Court. Proof of employment will also go a long way. If you are permitted to quash without going to jail, then make sure that you dress neatly and try to bring supportive people with you--like family. Also be prepared to go into custody that day--you probably wont, but you never know. So, don't bring a baby, or don't have contraband on you.
Good luck.See question
I was stopped for speeding at three in the morning a few nights ago (35 in a 25). I was arrested for suspicion of DUI and taken to the WSP station and blew a .033. I am 21 in 16 days (May 10th), so I was above the legal limit of .02. This is my fi...
Read all of your paperwork and get a lawyer. Don't let the deadline pass before you do something about requesting a hearing from DOL, but it's best to talk to your lawyer first.
Shop for a lawyer wisely. Talk to several.
Finally, relax. There is nothing you can do to make this go away this second.
Hire wisely.See question
I had a Public Defender that seemed like he was doing more for the other side than me. I only had him for a week but in that week i was put in jail two times i asked the court to appoint me a new public Defender i showed cause and they did.give me...
There are various protocols for asking for a new public defender--it depends on the jurisdiction. You were successful 6-months ago, and you probably will be successful this time. Here are some things for you to think about:
UNDERSTANDING YOUR RIGHT TO A PUBLIC DEFENDER: You have a Constitutional right to a lawyer in a criminal case. If you are charged with a crime, and if you can't afford to hire a lawyer, then you get one at the expense of the taxpayers. However, you don't get a lawyer of YOUR CHOICE at the expense of the taxpayers. Unless there is an actual conflict of interest (discussed below), I don't see a slam-dunk legal argument.
GOOD CAUSE: When you got a new public defender 6-months ago, what reason did the Judge give? Did she actually find "good cause"? If so, does the "good cause" still exist, or is it stale? Here is an example of "good cause" growing stale: Let's say that 6-months ago, your lawyer was in a really long trial and didn't have time to work on your case. But now (hypothetically), his trial is over, and he has time for you. In this hypothetical, the "good cause" did exist, but it doesn't anymore.
If the same "good cause" exists now, then you can argue that if it was good enough 6-months ago, then it's good enough now. Without knowing more, it's impossible to discern what the Court ought to do. Also, remember that what one lawyer thinks that a judge "ought" to do, doesn't necessarily mean that it'll happen--that is why there are appellate courts.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST: When do you have a legal right to a different lawyer? While there are always exceptions, It would NOT be OK for the Judge to give you the same lawyer if he has an actual "conflict of interest" with you as a client. There are lots of ways a conflict of interest can exist--in Washington, you would need to look at the lawyers' Rules of Professional Conduct (RPCs). Here's an example: If you had a co-defendant in your current case (or a victim) that your lawyer represented in the past, and the lawyer was going to rip him apart on the witness stand with information he obtained during the prior representation, there is an actual conflict of interest. There are always exceptions, but basically, once a lawyer is loyal to a client, the lawyer can never turn on him.
*******A PERSONALITY CONFLICT WITH YOUR LAWYER DOESN'T COUNT AS AN ACTUAL CONFLICT OF INTEREST. If there were an actual conflict, then it probably would have been detected 6-months ago, and the lawyer wouldn't have been yours in the first place.
UNWISE OPTION: You can always fire your lawyer--but I wouldn't advise representing yourself.
STRATEGY: Consequently, you should remember that "you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar." Just like before, ask for a new public defender.
Who do you ask? As the 1st attorney to write a response said, it depends on whether you have an actual public defender's office where you are, or whether the court just picks various private lawyers who are on a list. If your lawyer came from a public defender's office, or if the public defender's office picked the private lawyer, then it's smarter to first ask the public defender's director for a different lawyer. If the court picked your lawyer from a list, there is nobody to ask except the Court. If there is a director to ask, then it's smarter to ask them first. If they say no, then ask the judge. It's just logical to go in that order.
ANOTHER IDEA? Ask your public defender help you get a different lawyer. Most likely, your public defender wants the best for you. You won't hurt his feelings, and he probably doesn't want a client who doesn't like him anyway.
Good luck. Unfortunately, there isn't a clear answer to your question. The best advice? Ask nicely.
I missed a court date, but the very next day i went in front of the judge and got it taken care. Now the prosecutor says if I dont take the plea bargain he's offering, he's going to charge me with bail jumping. I know if i go to trail for the case...
It really doesn't seem fair, but your public defender is being realistic. It is a common prosecution tactic to threaten to add a bail jump charge if you don't plead. They are busy, they want one less case to worry about, and they want to win.
That being said, there are some defenses to a bail jump charge.
Look for a technical defense. Is there an error in the Court's Scheduling Order? For example, did the Court write the wrong date on your Notice? Or, is the date handwritten and sloppy (for example, does the "7" look like a "1")?
If you don't have a technical defense (like the Court giving you the wrong date), then your excuse for missing court has to be a big one. For example, if you were in a coma on the day you missed, or if your house was floating down the street in a flood on the day you missed court--then you have a defense.
Finally, if you are charged with a bail jump, make sure that it's charged correctly. For example, if your original charge was a class B felony, then the bail jump should be one step lower--a class C felony. The last time I checked, I'm pretty sure that if you missed court for a Class C felony, then then bail jump should only be a gross misdemeanor. If you find yourself in that boat, you should at least ask the question.
Bail Jump charges are a drag. Once I had a client with a winnable underlying charge, but he missed court too much. He insisted on a jury trial--he won his drug case(s), but lost both of the bail jump charges. Ouch!