Frequently Asked Criminal Defense Questions

What should I do if I am stopped by the police?

The best way to handle being stopped by the police is to keep your hands visible and be as polite as possible. Engaging in rude behavior to a police officer will not help your case should be you be arrested. You do not have to offer any information to the police officer except your personal identification such as your name and address. Also, you do not have to answer any questions – merely tell the officer that you would like to have an attorney present if he or she persists on this line. Be as courteous as possible in relaying this. You can ask why you have been stopped and if you are under arrest. If you are not under arrest, you can ask if you are free to leave. Remember that anything you say or do can be used against you as evidence later so say as little as possible and remain calm.

What happens if I am arrested?

If you are under arrest, you must be advised of your constitutional rights. These rights are commonly referred to as "Miranda rights." You must be told by the police that you have the right to remain silent and that anything you say can be used against you in a court of law. You also have the right to an attorney who can be present when you are questioned or when asked to sign any statement for the police. If you cannot afford an attorney of your own choosing, the court will assign you one.

What is an arraignment?

An arraignment occurs right after you are arrested. This is a court appearance where you will go before a judge who will inform you of the charge(s) filed against you. You will enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. The judge will then set bail or other conditions for your release and a date for your next court appearance.

What is the difference between a misdemeanor and felony in Washington?

Misdemeanors are less serious offenses than felonies. Washington State has two types of misdemeanors: gross misdemeanors and simple misdemeanors. A gross misdemeanor carries penalties of up to a year in jail and / or a fine of up to $5,000. A simple misdemeanor carries penalties of up to 90 days in jail and / or a fine of up to $1,000. An example of a simple misdemeanor is a simple assault charge. Driving under the influence of alcohol and / or drugs is a gross misdemeanor.

Felonies are offenses which are punishable by more than a year in jail or prison. Washington State has three types of felonies, Class A, Class B, and Class C with Class A being the most serious.

How you are punished for any misdemeanor or felony conviction will depend on the nature of the offense and other factors as well, such as if you have any previous convictions.

Talk to an Edmonds Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are facing any type of misdemeanor or felony charge, get experienced legal help immediately. Contact John F. Segelbaum, Attorney at Law for a free case consultation. The sooner you contact my office, the sooner we can develop an effective defense strategy aimed at helping you achieve the best possible results.

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