I have practiced criminal defense since 2001. I have represented clients in every court in Snohomish, King and Pierce counties. I have also represented clients in Thurston, Kitsap, Kittitas and Whatcom counties. I have represented hundreds of private clients and thousands of appointed cases. With each of these cases, in each of these courts, I’ve built a reputation with the prosecutors and judges. Not all judges rule the same way on various legal issues. An experienced attorney knows more than just the law and the court rules. An experienced attorney has a rapport with prosecutors and judges. They use their experience to get the best results for their clients.
When I meet potential clients, I always ask what it is that they want. Not all clients want the same thing. Realistically, not all defendants can get their case dismissed. Some want to avoid conviction or jail, while others want to protect their license. Some want to protect their job, while others seek to resolve the matter as quickly (or slowly) as possible. With every potential client, I describe their options before they hire me. Although there are no guaranteed outcomes, and sometimes new options present themselves as the process plays out, the objective is always the same: to inform the client and give them what they want.
If you are charged with a crime in a district, municipal or superior court, your case will likely take at least three to six months to resolve. Some last as long as eight to twelve months. Defendants are required to attend an arraignment hearing and then a series of pre-trial hearings. Most hearings are spread out once a month. If the defendant is placed on probation, the case will remain open (usually) one to five years. A defendant can be summoned to attend a review hearing at any time while on probation.
If you are charged with a crime, there is a digital record of it availabe to the public. Whether you are convicted or not, the public can access the information from the court’s docket, which is a crude log kept by each court on each case. Companies that perform background checks obtain this information and sometimes misinterpret it. Unless the defendant moves the court to vacate, expunge or seal the record, it is available for anyone to see.
Some attorneys work for a contingency-fee agreement, while most work for an hourly-rate. Criminal defense attorneys generally prefer flat-fee agreements. A flat-fee agreement is an estimation of the work needed to achieve an agreed goal. This estimate takes into consideration the client’s criminal history, alleged crime and location of the court. It may also take into consideration whether the defendant is in custody at the time. My flat-fees generally include the work needed to resolve an open case. They do not include the cost of trial. Very few cases actually go to trial. Clients should not pay for trial before it is determined that a trial cannot be avoided. All agreements are made in writing and a copy is given to the client.