Displaying items by tag: Criminal Defense

Should I Just Use a Public Defender?

 Hiring a private defense attorney can be pretty costly. Most folks don’t have thousands of dollars to do that nor were planning to be in trouble. It’s understandable that a person would prefer to test their luck with the assigned Pubic Defender. Unfortunately, most people don’t consider the collateral issues that will come up due to being criminally charged. You are likely to save money in the long run when you prevent those problems.

 

For example, when someone who was arrested for DUI on Friday and bailed out, the Monday Arraignment may not go as you anticipate. On a fairly regular occurrence, the jail will either release the person with no bail or set bail at $5000 (when there should have been a no bail hold). The person arrested pays the $500 (10% of bail to a bailbonds company) and heads home. The defendant doesn’t realize that, since it was a second DUI or perhaps someone was injured, the prosecutor is going to ask to have you taken back into custody and increase bail. That comes as quite a shock.

 

If you call us on Saturday morning, we can have you doing proactive steps that will greatly reduce your chance of being taken back into custody. We need to make sure you take certain steps that can convince the Judge that you are not a risk to the community and will return for all future court dates.

 

In addition to saving you money by reducing or eliminating bail, we help our clients stay out of jail, which helps them stay employed. Whenever possible, we also try to avoid having our clients attend court. In some cases, we can have the Arraignment waived and we also try to have our clients attend court via zoom so they don’t miss more work or have to put children in daycare.

 

In assault cases, we do everything possible with the accused and the alleged victim to reduce the time of the No Contact Order (if appropriate and requested). In these cases, the accused is usually having to maintain and pay for a separate residence. The parent left at home has to maintain the entire household and take care of the children without any help. This can get very costly where additional rents and child care are now required. Getting that NCO lifted as soon as possible saves money. That is not something a public defender would assist with nor is appropriate since it does not pertain to your defense.

 

What is the problem with trying a PD then hiring a private lawyer later?

 

This is probably the biggest mistake you can make. The vast majority of “posturing” in a criminal matter happens at the outset of the case. In fact, whenever possible, we want on the case the moment the Summons arrives and BEFORE the Arraignment. We can help the client get a lot of proactive steps taken that will greatly help with getting a dismissal or negotiating the case favorably. If you were arrested and there is no Summons, we still want to be on the case prior to Arraignment. Even 12 hours can help us change the trajectory of how the client is perceived—especially for setting bail or release conditions.

 

What are some of the benefits to hiring a criminal defense lawyer early?

 

•  Reduce or prevent bail
•  Argue against expensive or burdensome release conditions
•  Discuss your case prior to Arraignment rather than weeks after with a PD
•  Make sure your DOL hearing request gets filed
•  Get advice on handling your DOL hearing (PDs do not handle these)
•  Get advice on how to get licensed even if you are suspended
•  Get the client into evaluations or other tasks that will improve their odds
•  Put client in touch with advisors regarding professional licenses, clearances, etc.
•  Negotiate to have case dismissed or charges reduced prior to Arraignment
•  If pre-Arraignment, negotiate resolution and have only one hearing
•  Work with alleged victim to take steps to facilitate removal of NCO, if desired
•  Assist managing concerns of employer to avoid termination
•  Manage any outstanding issues such as warrants or other charges
•  Prepare response/defense on a MTR on another case
•  Managing compliance reports
•  Avoiding bench warrants
•  Notifying client if a MTR is filed or is likely to be filed
•  Managing MTR if a new charge is filed (entering a denial)
•  Answering the phone 7 days a week to answer questions about paperwork
•  Advising in the future on employment or other issues that come up

 

The list goes on. The primary benefits will depend on your charge, the facts, and what concerns you have regarding the future. If you are serving in the military, you will have other unique issues that are best served by private counsel particularly because you are always on the move. Having local counsel who is monitoring your case and can locate you or your command to give updates on court dates is invaluable to active duty. Avoid those warrants!

 

Why don’t Public Defenders do the same things

 

Public defense tax money is supposed to be used for those people who are deemed indigent and qualify based on a criminal charge. Many of the “benefits” listed above are issues that arise due to complications from being criminally charged but they are not directly related to the actual defense of your case. For example, your license suspension is triggered by your arrest but it is a civil matter. PD does not handle civil issues. Many of the other issues listed above pertain to counsel or advice rather than defense. A private defense attorney is really counseling you through this process while advocating for your defense.

 

See the difference in action

 

If you still aren’t sure about how this works, we encourage you to sit in on criminal calendars in Kitsap County. You will regularly see public defense clients miss court dates.

 

When their public defender is asked about the client’s presence or lack thereof, the attorney typically responds with “I have no knowledge of my client’s whereabouts” or “I haven’t had contact with this client” or “I don’t have a phone number for this client.” Then, the prosecutor requests a warrant for $2500 or $5000, which is usually granted.

 

The truth is, the public defender has no time nor any obligation to track down the client in advance to notify them of the hearing. In 99% of cases, a notice of court date was mailed to the client and that suffices as notice. However, many people do not update their accurate mailing address (the court uses what you have on file with DOL) so the client never gets notice. Unfortunately, you are deemed to have been given adequate notice. Basically, a lack of notice based on moving or not updating your address is your fault.

 

You will never see this with our clients. We require clients to provide multiple methods of contact and keep us updated of changes. When we are notified of a court date, we notify our clients and provide them a zoom link for court. Our clients do not miss court due to these issues. Consequently, our clients do not get bench warrants and ruin their chance for a favorable resolution to their case.

 

Being informed of pending court dates may seem trivial but it can make or break a case. Prosecutors and judges do not trust people who fail to show up to court and typically punish you for that misstep.

 

I’ve never hired a criminal lawyer so how do I know if I am paying too much?

 

First, criminal defense attorneys charge on a flat fee and are barred by law from charging a contingency fee. They do not bill hourly against a retainer like a family law attorneys or other types of civil attorneys. If you have a felony or potentially very time-intensive case, an attorney may charge you a flat fee but ask that you also be prepared to pay additional money later on an hourly basis. This is not typical for misdemeanor cases.

 

While the flat fee covers nearly everything for the case, there are typically additional fees if the case goes to trial. The Fee Agreement will list that as a “trial fee” and indicates the cost by day. So, if your trial is a two day trial, you can multiply the trial fee by the days your attorney anticipates your trial will take. Most misdemeanor cases are usually one or two day trials. However, don’t worry too much about that additional fee because the vast majority of DUI cases do not go to trial (in most counties, over 90% resolve prior to trial).

 

What does it cost to hire private defense for a DUI or other misdemeanor?

 

There is a range on this because larger firms tend to have much higher overhead. Additionally, firms in larger cities will have more costly leases and other overhead related to running a business in a more populated area. Be prepared to pay more if the attorney you hire is located in a larger city or runs extensive advertising campaigns.

 

For example, you can pay as much as $15,000 for a DUI in Seattle or Kirkland and that will likely not include trial fees. If you hire an attorney who works out of Tacoma, you might expect to pay over $6000 for a first time DUI and we have heard firms charging as much as $7500. In Kitsap, some attorneys are charging as much as $5000 or $6000 for a first time DUI particularly where they have satellite offices outside of Kitsap.

 

We are able to charge less than most firms because we have relatively low overhead and do not spend money on fancy advertising (notice, you won’t find our faces on a billboard or in a radio jingle…those cost tens of thousands of dollars every month). We appreciate that most of our clients come to us by referrals or past client reviews so we pass that savings on to our local community. So, if you have no criminal history and your case is a first time DUI without special allegations (i.e. no accident, no obstruction or eluding) or a Hit & Run unattended, the fee is typically around $3000 depending on your facts.

  

If you are facing a criminal charge in Kitsap County or surrounding cities, please give our office a call for help. We answer 7 days a week. (360) 792-1000.

 

For More Information On Hiring Private Defense, Watch Our Video Below! (Three Part Series) ↓

 

 

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While the word “trial” is in this procedure, it is quite a simple and quick process. There are no witnesses, opening statements, closings, or even a jury. It is a hearing that occurs after the defendant has been Arraigned (see Arraignment in our blog). If your attorney is going to request a future date for a pre-trial, your attorney will discuss with you the need to sign a Speedy Trial Waiver.

 

In most counties and cities in Washington, the pre-trial hearing is set approximately one month following the Arraignment. There can be one or many pre-trial hearings depending on the nature of the case and how negotiations are proceeding between the prosecutor and defense attorney.

 

What happens at a pre-trial?

 

During your pre-trial hearing, a case is either resolved, continued, set for motions, or set for trial. If you are pleading guilty, entering a diversion contract, or entering a deferred prosecution (or some other alternative resolution), you are “resolving” the case.

 

If your defense attorney is still working on your case by way of negotiation or gathering information, she will request a continuance and another pre-trial date will be set a month or so out.

 

If the prosecutor and defense attorney are in dispute as to whether certain evidence should be admitted or have some issue that requires a legal argument, the defense attorney will request a date to argue Motions.

 

If the prosecutor and defense attorney are no longer working toward an alternative resolution, dismissal, or other negotiation, the defense attorney will request a date be set for trial. Once that happens, the case is set for trial and the attorneys must be prepared to go to trial on that date. 

 

If you have a case in Kitsap County or surrounding cities and have yet to be Arraigned or are facing your first Pre-Trial, give our office a call to learn how we can help. 360-792-1000.

 

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This blog is written for those of you who did not know about Washington’s mandatory arrest rule and, now, very much regret calling law enforcement on your partner. Most likely, your life is a mess right now. Your partner’s life is pretty bad, too. Perhaps you have children and now just one of you is in charge of everything—kids, pets, school projects, paying the bills, fixing cars, and the list goes on. The other partner misses those kids, has to find alternative housing or live in their car, and likely has some pretty significant financial consequences due to that call to law enforcement. Life is really bad. But, guess what? If you are the person who was not arrested and you’re trying to coordinate everything via texts and third party messages, you are making a bad situation worse. In fact, you are going to make it much worse for your partner and yourself. So, stop. 

Why the increase in Assault charges?

 

We have had a record number of assault cases over the last two years. There is no doubt that a lockdown did not help otherwise happy couples get more bonded. It drove everyone crazy. We have had couples in happy 40+ year marriages to madly in love newlyweds—all caught up in dumb spats that resulted in an arrest. To understand why, you should read our blog on Washington’s mandatory arrest law but also know that just about anything in an argument can amount to an assault—including pouring a coke or glass of wine on someone’s head. Trust us, the prosecutor will charge you with a crime and one that impacts your livelihood, travel, family, gun rights, and so much more. So really take that to heart before you call the police to “settle the disagreement.” Community policing, where officers come to simmer down hot heads and ask if someone has another place to stay, does not exist anymore. So, really think about that before you call. 

Why the behavior of the alleged victim matters

 

Even if you do not believe you are “victim” in the situation where your partner or family member is arrested, law enforcement and the courts do. For this reason, the victim can cause additional problems for your partner or loved one if she attempts to communicate. The term “communicate” covers a very broad methods of communication and includes using others to convey messages.

 

Basically, the person accused of assault can not say or do anything that would purport to translate to a message to the alleged victim. Even using the “like” button on Facebook on the victim’s post is a communication. Asking others to tell the victim “I’m sorry” is a communication. But, the most common problem we see is that the victim wants to reach out to the defendant to make sure everything is okay after being arrested. The defendant cannot reply so the victim starts texting and calling more. Then, the victim has other people reach out. Eventually, the defendant responds just to allay the victim’s concerns. This will get the defendant in much worse trouble because he has now violated a court order.

 

So, if you care about the person who was arrested, do not attempt to reach this person until the No Contact Order has been rescinded! This may take months but you are only causing more stress and trouble if you force the defendant to respond to you through incessant texts, calls, or threats. 

This blog does not apply to those who face fear, control, violence, or physical harm

 

If you are in a violent, controlling, or dangerous relationship, you are the person the mandatory arrest law was written for and you need it. This blog is not about you. If you need help, that call to 911 is your lifeline and you should take it. You should also seek help from YWCA to get a safety plan so you know how to safely leave and have a place to go. 

For those who do not consider themselves a victim, you have no control to “drop charges”

 

As stated before, we are seeing a massive increase in assault charges and the scenarios are fairly similar—couples who have cohabitated for years or even decades without any trouble. They were simply ill-informed on what role law enforcement plays in resolving family disputes. And, unfortunately, by the time we are involved, the “victim” in our case hates the police and is furious that law enforcement took over absolute control of their life. The person called 911 without realizing that law enforcement has almost no discretion and someone is likely going to jail. So, understand the control is in your hands until you dial 911. Don’t do it casually. Don’t do spitefully. Don’t do it without the knowledge that you can not “unring” that call. The victim does not “drop charges” nor have control over the No Contact Order. You are in the system and it is a long road to travel for everyone—including the person labeled “victim.” 

The difference between a public defender and private attorney

 

For those with a public defender, you are probably looking at minimum of 4 months apart but probably more like 6 months of a No Contact Order (lots of time to potentially violate it and get charged with another more serious crime). The reason it takes longer is simply the time it takes to be assigned a PD, set the appointment with your lawyer, and actually speak with your lawyer regarding facts and strategy. Often, three months will pass and the defendant won’t even have a list of tasks from the lawyer that might help get the No Contact Order rescinded. That’s where those with a PD get derailed—you will be discussing plea offers or possibly going to trial for weeks or months, which will be quite tempting since you think it will “wrap up the case.” Unfortunately, the defendant completely misses the point that the No Contact Order will still be in place for months and the government still has control over your family’s lives.

 

So, if you have a family and want to return to them, you need a different strategy. You are not simply fighting the underlying charge but you have a major battle with the No Contact Order, which becomes the real risk to your well-being as well as your family. Therefore, Assault 4 with the domestic violence tag is one of those criminal charges where it is imperative you seek experienced private counsel.

 

A private defense lawyer can’t work magic and make it all go away instantly but those cases have very critical timelines that can impact how long you will be away from your partner and children. Private defense attorneys will have strategies that address all aspects of the case and, while the attorney cannot convey messages between the defendant and victim, she can usually explain the criminal process so the victim understands why the defendant cannot reply to phone calls or text messages. 

Be proactive and do the tasks assigned by your attorney

 

If you hire private counsel, you should have a “to do” list of tasks within the first week of representation. Make that list your number one priority. You will likely need a DV assessment and those agencies are booked months out. But, that No Contact Order won’t be lifted without it so get busy calling!

 

We had a client find an appointment within a week but it was 200 miles away. You do what you have to do! It was a terrible agency that assesses whether you are likely to re-offend and also provides treatment. Not surprisingly, the agencies with dual functions often recommend lots of costly treatment. Unfortunately, it’s one of the hoops you have to jump through. This is the reason we tell clients to get scheduled in multiple places and on cancelation lists—to get into an agency that has a good reputation at the first chance possible. 

The role the victim plays in the No Contact Order

 

Navigating assault charges where the defendant and victim do not agree with the police narrative, do not have a history of control or violence, have a long history of a healthy relationship, and have no interest in being separated, are going to have a tough time with this process. On occasion, the “victim” makes it much worse by repeatedly contacting the defendant because she needs help with the kids or cars. Do not do this.

 

You are playing with fire if you push the issue of communication during a No Contact Order. An additional criminal charge will make the process much longer, more costly, and create a greater likelihood that the two of you are not getting back together. So, while you may not have intended to have your partner arrested, you must respect the process and the court’s rulings. Do not tempt your partner into replying to your texts. Realize you are on your own for at least a month or more. Find help for the kids or the pets and sit tight while the attorney tries to put the No Contact Order behind you. 

Call a local defense attorney

 

Wherever you are located, get a local experienced defense attorney to help. The cost of hiring private counsel will be a savings compared to dragging out the cost of a No Contact Order on your family. Do not seek counsel outside your state or local area because it means nothing for your case. For example, the mandatory arrest rule in Washington State does not apply in other states. You must call a lawyer in your area to get proper counsel and you need to do that as early as possible in your case.

 

If you have a criminal defense matter in western Washington and would like representation, please contact our office at (360) 792-1000. We assist with criminal charges in Thurston, Pierce, Jefferson, and Kitsap counties. If we can’t help you, we may have a referral option for you. We do not handle any matters outside of Washington state and do not have referral options for out of state. If your issue is not in Washington, you should search for a criminal defense attorney in your geographical location.

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September 23, 2021

Jail Alternatives

Most people who are charged with a crime are especially nervous about the prospect of spending time inside a jail. That trepidation is understandable and it is often followed with questions about options for serving jail time in an “ankle bracelet,” “home arrest,” or electronic home monitoring (EHM).

 

Is EHM Always An Option?

 

Unfortunately, there is not a clear answer as to whether you will be allowed to serve jail time at home. First, there are certain crimes that require mandatory jail time. On occasion, those days can be converted to electronic home monitoring but many jurisdictions will not allow that. Second, not every jurisdiction has EHM provided free by through the court. In some circumstances, you can find an EHM provider who is in a nearby city to be approved by the prosecutor and judge. Third, some courts will allow a portion of the sentence to be served at home but there may be a mandatory day or two based on the statute under which you were charged and convicted.

 

Cost Of EHM

 

An important note to remember is that since EHM is not always free, it is important to discuss with your attorney the risk of attempting to do EHM but being unsuccessful due to lack of funds. The days you are required to “serve” are not forgiven or wiped clean because you can’t afford to serve them at home. In Kitsap County, the court no longer offers free EHM so the defendant must go find an out of county provider and pay for it out of pocket. For longer EHM sentences, this may be too costly.

 

Required EHM

 

The cost of EHM is important because for some crimes, such a first time DUI, the defendant could “serve” her sentence and never go to jail. However, she would be “serving” 15 days at home. That is because, for DUIs specifically, 1 day in jail converts to 15 days of electronic home monitoring. On a second DUI, the defendant can not avoid serving jail time because it is required by the statute. If the person blows .15 or under, she must serve 30 days in jail and then 60 days through EHM. If the person blows .15 or higher or refuses the breathalyzer, the defendant will have to serve 45 days in custody followed by 90 days of EHM.

 

Exceptions To Serving EHM

 

One exception to serving the 60 or 90 days of EHM following a DUI, is if the defendant qualifies under the statute for a “reverse” conversion. While some folks will do anything to stay out of jail, others need to avoid EHM for various reasons. The statute lists the permitted reasons but if, for example, you are homeless or live out of state, you can request at sentencing that the judge convert your 60 days (on 2nd DUI with blow under .15) to an extra 4 days in jail (60 EHM days divided by 15 = 4 days of in-custody). So, you would serve 34 days in-custody and have no EHM. Again, this type of conversion is very fact specific.

 

Call A Lawyer

 

If you are concerned about how much jail time you might face should you be convicted or plea to a certain crime, call our experienced lawyers. There is no reason to guess or search randomly on the internet. Every state and even local jurisdictions have different options for resolving cases so it’s possible you won’t be facing the DUI sentencing and subsequent jail alternatives.

 

Call and get peace of mind.

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If an individual is sentenced to jail in Kitsap County, the Court will direct them to the Kitsap County Jail. There is no formal information provided to these individuals, so this page is provided as a tool to help make entry into the jail less confusing. 

What You Need To Know

Here is the information that we have collected over the years that will make this difficult process slightly easier:

1. Bring your "Commitment." That is the document provided by the court that tells the jail what your sentence is. Think of it as your admission ticket. 

2. Bring State issues photo ID, such as a driver's license. 

3. Bring what ever prescriptions that will be needed for the duration of your sentence. 

4. Bring cash. The cash that you bring will be put in trust, and it can be used to purchase things at the commissary. You can't put money on your books in advance, that is why it is important to bring case on they day you check in.  If you have cash left over, it will be provided back to you in the form of a check. 

What Not To Do

1. Do not bring anything with you, other than what is listed above. Books are provided once inside. 

2. Do not show up intoxicated on any substance. 

3. Do not park near the jail. There is no long term parking and this will lead to your car being towed. 

How To Get There

The jail is located at 614 Division Street, Port Orchard WA 98366. 

While the address is on Division Street, you actually access the Jail from Cline Avenue. Here is a photo from Cline Ave. 

 

Jail check in 1

Walk diagonally through this parking lot which is located on Cline Ave. Head toward this entry to the jail:

Jail check in 2

Hours of Operation

The jail will only accept a person during certain hours. They accept people Monday through Friday, from 8:00 AM to 3:45 PM. If you arrive outside of those hours, they will most likely turn you away. Being turned away could be a terrible event if you are turning yourself in on the last day allowable. 

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Assault charges are very serious criminal cases. One of the biggest challenges is fighting the No Contact Order once a person is arrested for Assault 4 with the special allegation of domestic violence. The cost to the person accused, as well as the entire family, can be overwhelming.

 

If you are arrested for assault against a family member, friend, or roommate, you will be required to stay away from the victim—even if the victim lives in your home or apartment. The prosecutor and judge do not care whether you have no other place to stay. Any attempt to return to the home or have contact with the victim will likely result in an additional criminal charge.

 

Often, assault charges that involve family members are misunderstandings. Arguments might get out of hand and someone throws something, slaps another, or shoves a family member. All of those behaviors can be considered assault. Once the police arrive, if an assault has occurred, law enforcement must arrest the alleged perpetrator.

 

Washington law requires a mandatory arrest in most domestic situations where an assault or threat of assault has taken place. This arrest will lead to criminal charges. Once arraigned on the Assault charge, a No Contact Order will be put in place and the alleged person is not allowed to return to the home or location where the victim lives. However, in rare circumstances, this can be avoided if you have legal counsel involved early in the process. It is unusual but you should always contact an experienced criminal defense as soon as law enforcement is involved and, ideally, before the arrest has been made.

 

In retrospect, many people wish that they had never called the police. But once the call is made, and an arrest has been made, there is no going back. Get an attorney on board early on so that you, and your loved one, have the ability to advocate for your selves. Many "victims" in these cases feel like they are actually being victimized by the prosecuting attorney and the court. If you are interested on more info about Assault charges, and why you need an attorney prior to your arraignment, click the box below:

 

Why You Need An Attorney Prior to Arraignment

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Rights At Your Arraignment

 

If you have been charged with a crime by any governmental authority, you have the following rights at your arraignment:


1. You are presumed innocent of any charge unless the charge is proven beyond a reasonable doubt.


2. You have the right to a speedy trial. If you are held in jail before trial you must be brought to trial within 60 days after the date of your arraignment. If you are not in jail or if you are released from jail before trial, you must be brought to trial within 90 days after the date of your arraignment. If you are released from jail before trial you must be brought to trial within 90 days after the date of your arraignment.


3. You have a constitutional right to a jury trial unless you specifically give up that right by signing a jury trial waiver.


4. You have the right to see, hear and question all witnesses who testify against you.


5. You have the right to call witnesses on your behalf. You may have the Court subpoena witnesses to appear and testify at no prior expense to you.


6. You have the right to testify on your own behalf. You also have the right to remain silent and not give testimony or present any evidence in your defense. Your silence cannot be used against you.


7. You have the right to be represented by an attorney of your own choosing at arraignment and at all hearings. If after you are screened, it is determined that you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you. If you do not have an attorney at arraignment, you do not waive your right to an attorney at any later hearing.


8. If you feel you cannot have a fair trial because of the bias or prejudice of a particular judge, you have the right to ask for a different judge within 10 days of actual notice of assignment to that judge. You are entitled to only one change of judge.


9. If you plead guilty, you give up or waive all of the rights listed above except the right of representation by an attorney.


10. You have the right to appeal any judgment entered by this Court. To begin the appeal you must file a written Notice of Appeal in this Court within 30 days of the judgment.


11. If you are not a United States citizen, a guilty finding to an offense punishable as a crime under state law may be grounds for deportation, exclusion from admission to the United States, or denial of naturalization pursuant to the laws of the United States.


12. If you are not a United States citizen, you have the right to speak to someone from the Consulate of the nation where you are a citizen before being arraigned on any criminal offense.


13. If you are not a United States citizen, and are being held in jail, you have the right to request the prosecuting attorney notify the Consulate from the nation where you are a citizen that you are in jail.

Don't assume you can handle a criminal case on your own

 

Don’t go to Court alone and unprepared. While you may have all these magnificent rights, you need an attorney on your side that knows how to use them. Give our office a call.

Do you have more question about what happens at your arraignment? If yes, click on the box below.

 

What Happens Before And During An Arraignment?

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Struggling To Determine What To Do After You Were Arrested Or Received A Summons?

 

All counties have different local rules and procedures. It is important to understand, particularly in the age of zoom court, whether you know what to expect at your first or next hearing.

Some counties are doing administrative bookings (arrest you, finger print, and release on PR) and not holding people in jail depending on the nature of the criminal charge. If this happens to you, it is important that you determine two things:

 

1.  The date of your next court appearance. The date may be provided to you at the time of your booking or it may be mailed to you in the forms of a Summons. If the court and/or Department of Licensing does not have an accurate mailing address for you, it is likely that you will miss this court date and have a warrant issued for your arrest. If you are without a mailing address, you need to check regularly with the Clerk of Court and/or Washington State Court website to determine when you are required to make your next appearance. Be aware that not all hearings are included on the Washington State Courts website.

 

2.  Do you have a Department of Licensing hearing to request? Many criminal charges will trigger an administrative licensing suspension. You have 7 days to request a DOL hearing if you have been charged with DUI or certain other criminal driving offenses. Even if your court date has not been set or it has been set for many months in the future, your DOL timelines is triggered as soon as you are arrested. You have no recourse if you miss this timeline and you may become suspended regardless of whether you have even had your first criminal hearing.

 

Different Counties, Different Procedures

 

Also, be aware that certain counties, such as Thurston County, there are very different protocols than in the neighboring county of Pierce. You may not have a Summons mailed to you and it may be up to you or your attorney to reach out to the Prosecutor to get your matter placed on the criminal calendar. If you cannot reach your public defender, it is up to you to determine your status. In the end, you are the person subject to penalties such as a warrant.

 

Unable to Reach Your Attorney?

 

If you have been unable to reach your public defender or are struggling to resolve your criminal case, Witt Law Group offers free consultations to determine if we can assist with your matter. We handle criminal defense cases in Kitsap County, Pierce County, and Thurston County. We also handle cases in the local municipalities such as Gig Harbor, Tacoma, Port Orchard, Poulsbo, Silverdale and Bremerton. We have helped thousands of clients with DUI, Assault, and many other criminal charges. Do not do it on your own. Call or text today. 360-792-1000.

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In nearly all Assault cases, a No Contact Order will be put in place at your Arraignment. This can pose a serious challenge where the defendant and victim live together. Once you are Arraigned, you will not be allowed to return to a residence that you share with the victim or have any contact with the victim. If you have children together, this creates additional challenges. Regardless of what you feel is “critical” to communicate about, ANY communication will be considered a violation of your No Contact Order. Violations are charged as gross misdemeanors and each and every communication is charged as an individual charge, punishable by 364 days in jail.

What Is Considered A Communication?

Any form of communication that makes its way to the victim is a “contact.” If you text, call, write, or drive by the victim, you are clearly making “contact” with this person. However, if you happen to mention to a friend, “sure would be nice if she knew that I’m thinking of her” and your friend conveys this, that is also a contact. You may not relay messages through other people, including your lawyer. Do not try it. You will receive a new criminal charge and make it nearly impossible to negotiate an alternative resolution on your underlying Assault charge.

What If I Have Not Been Arraigned Yet?

If you haven’t been arraigned, the No Contact Order may not be in place. However, it is important to research whether a temporary or permanent Protection Order has been filed and in effect. It is also possible that, if you were arrested and bailed out, the jail may have initiated a temporary No Contact Order that would carry over to the date of your Arraignment. Violation of any of these Orders can also result in additional criminal charges. When in doubt, contact a lawyer immediately to determine what has been filed against you.

If you and the alleged victim live together and you have received a Summons for an Assault charge, there may be steps you can take that might reduce your chance of a No Contact Order being put in place at your Arraignment. It is very challenging and time is of the essence. You will need an experienced criminal defense attorney to advise you.

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The Kitsap County Prosecuting Attorney in many cases asks the Court to ORDER a defendant be "administratively booked." In response to the Prosecution's request, the Judges always order it. So what is administrative booking? 

Administrative Booking Defined

 

Administrative booking in Kitsap County is the process of formally entering a person into a vast database. This allows their arrest and / or charge to be viewed by other courts, law enforcement agencies, etc. The Prosecution believes this to be highly important in DUI cases, and views the administrative booking as the most viable way to make the DUI history known to other law enforcement entities. In essence, they verify your personal information, photograph you and fingerprint you. 

The Steps Required

 

•  The Court must order the person to be administratively booked. If the Jail doesn't see a Court Order requiring booking, they won't do it. So you must bring a copy of the court order or your conditions of release including that condition.

•  Bring a photo ID. Without photo identification, the jail won't book you. 

•  Go to: 614 Division Street, Port Orchard Washington 98366 during business hours. 

Is There A Way To Dodge Booking?

 

Often times, no. This can be an issue if you are out of state and attempting to resolve your pending case. In the new era of Covid, nearly all court functions can be accomplished over ZOOM. Do you really want to fly back to Washington only to be administratively booked? It can be a massive inconvenience for people in this situation. There are ways to work around this requirement, but each case is different. For example, maybe the jail in your local county will do a "courtesy" booking for the Kitsap case. We have spoken with many jails in Washington and elsewhere. Some say yes, some say no. 

 

 

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