Lynnwood Felony Defense Lawyer

Understand the Difference Between Felonies & Misdemeanors

Maximum Penalties

If you or a loved one has been arrested for a felony your life is about to change. Felonies are defined as any crime that carries a maximum penalty of over one year jail (oftentimes 5, 10, or 20 years in jail maximum). Misdemeanors, on the other hand, carry a maximum penalty of just one year in jail.

Felonies Can Only Be Charged by the Prosecutor

Most misdemeanors can be directly charged by a police officer. In other words, for misdemeanors, an officer can write the suspect a citation that actually charges a crime (like DUI or Theft) and then the matter is automatically prosecuted in court. For felonies, however, a police officer does not have the power to actually charge a felony his or herself.

In Washington State a police officer can only arrest a suspect on suspicion of a felony, or on probable cause. If an officer arrests a suspect on probable cause to believe a felony has been committed, the officer is required to file a probable cause statement with the court and the prosecutor. The prosecutor then has three court days to file a charge, or the suspect must be released. If no charge is filed within three court days (as is often the case), the prosecutor then has up to 3 years for most felonies to decide whether or not to file charges. This means that for many felony arrests, there may still be time for the defense to provide information that could keep the arrested person from being charged with a felony.

For this reason, if you are your loved one has been arrested on suspicion of a felony, it is imperative that you contact a Washington State Felony Defense Attorney immediately.

What to Do If Your Loved One Has Been Arrested on Suspicion of a Felony

If your loved one has been arrested and is currently in jail on suspicion of a felony, you have several issues to be addressed:

To Bail or Not to Bail

If your loved one is in jail on suspicion of a felony, there are usually two hearings. A first appearance, where bail is set, and a second appearance where the court sees if the prosecutor has filed charges within the required three court days. If no charge is filed within three court days the suspect must be released. The problem is deciding whether to bail your loved one out between the first and second appearances. This is a problem, because in many cases your loved one will be released in three court days without the need for bail as, oftentimes, the prosecutor does not make a decision to charge that quickly. While no one wants to see their loved one in jail, there are many factors to consider in deciding whether posting bail is a good idea including whether the situation is under control at home, whether the suspect a flight risk, and whether there will still be funds to hire competent counsel if resources are used posting bail.

To Contact the Prosecutor or Not

Oftentimes, information can be provided to the prosecuting attorney than can affect their decision of whether or not to file a felony charge. The prosecutor has many options available to them when deciding what to do with a potential felony case. The prosecutor can decline to file any charge based upon lack of evidence. The prosecutor can offer the suspect Diversion - a program available in Snohomish and other counties where the suspect can do counseling and other programs to keep the felony off of their record. The prosecutor can charge a misdemeanor or expedite an offer down to a misdemeanor based upon the facts or the suspect's clean record. In drug cases in Snohomish County, the prosecutor can refer to the suspect to Drug Court in certain cases where the suspect does drug treatment in lieu of classic prosecution.

In any case, a Washington State Felony Defense Attorney at the Law Office of Lance R. Fryrear can discuss the above issues for you and help you make the right decision at this crucial time.

Remember, if you are arrested for a felony you will be investigated aggressively due to the serious nature of the charges. Certain crimes require mandatory minimum sentences and penalties can be increased if the crime was committed with the use of a firearm or other deadly weapon. For non-violent felonies, first time offenders may be eligible for special sentencing considerations.

If convicted of a felony crime, your life could be devastated, affecting your family and future. Don't let this happen to you; call my firm at the Law Office of Lance R. Fryrear today.

Experienced Former City of Lynnwood Prosecutor

Felonies are the most serious type of crime, particularly those of a violent nature; you need to contact a Lynnwood criminal defense attorney with knowledge, skills and experience to assist you in getting the most successful outcome possible. Charged for a crime in Lynnwood, WA? I spent 7 years as a prosecutor in Snohomish County, and have now been a criminal defense lawyer for over 17 years, so I have firsthand experience handling felony charges. I have the know-how to utilize the proper resources to best help you through this experience.

You need someone to tell you what to do and what not to do. In our free initial consultation I will evaluate your case and we will discuss the best options to improve your chances in court. If you have a legal defense, I will find it. I will also provide you with a copy of my free report, "10 Things Every Person Charged With A Crime Must Know".

If, unfortunately, sentencing is involved, my office will also assist you with follow-ups after your court appearances to help you with scheduled court requirements. Being in compliance with these court orders will help ensure that you don't end up there again in the future. This is not a service that most other firms provide.

Have you been arrested for a felony? Contact a criminal defense lawyer for a free initial consultation today.