Sunday, October 25, 2015

How Can I Erase A Criminal Conviction From My Record?



Have you been convicted of a crime and are hoping to get it cleared off your record? That process is known as an “expungement.” Expungement is a court-ordered processing which the legal record of an arrest or a criminal conviction is "sealed," or erased in the eyes of the law. When a conviction is expunged, the process may also be referred to as "setting aside a criminal conviction." The availability of expungement, and the procedure for getting an arrest or conviction expunged, will vary according to the state or county in which the arrest or conviction occurred. 

An expungement ordinarily means that an arrest or conviction is "sealed," or erased from a person's criminal record for most purposes. After the expungement process is complete, an arrest or a criminal conviction ordinarily does not need to be disclosed by the person who was arrested or convicted. For example, when filling out an application for a job or apartment, an applicant whose arrest or conviction has been expunged does not need to disclose that arrest or conviction.
In most cases, no record of an expunged arrest or conviction will appear if a potential employer, educational institution, or other company conducts a public records inspection or background search of an individual's criminal record.

An expunged arrest or conviction is not necessarily completely erased, in the literal sense of the word. An expungement will ordinarily be an accessible part of a person's criminal record, viewable by certain government agencies, including law enforcement and the criminal courts. This limited accessibility is sometimes referred to as a criminal record being "under seal." In some legal proceedings, such as during sentencing for any crimes committed after an expungement, or in immigration / deportation proceedings, an expunged conviction that is "under seal" may still be considered as proof of a prior conviction.

If you or a loved one is in a bind as a result of a criminal charge, immediately contact a Seattle Criminal Attorney. A Criminal lawyer is not going to judge you, and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Seattle Criminal Lawyer to help can – at a minimum – reduce penalties, and can help direct people on how to best deal with their criminal charge, and many times even get them dismissed. So it should go without saying that someone cited for a misdemeanor or felony should hire a qualified Seattle Criminal Lawyer as soon as possible. Criminal charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with a crime in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle Criminal Lawyer.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Can I Get A Lawyer??



So you have been charged with a crime and now you are in need of an attorney? A criminal defendant's right to an attorney is found in the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which requires the "assistance of counsel" for the accused in all criminal prosecutions. This means that a defendant has a constitutional right to be represented by an attorney during every aspect of a criminal proceeding from the arraignment and through an appeals process. It also means that if the defendant cannot afford an attorney, in almost all instances the government will appoint one to handle the case, at no cost to the defendant.

The defense attorney's role is of paramount importance in almost every criminal case. While specific duties of an attorney vary depending on the nature of the charges and the case, key responsibilities of any criminal defense lawyer include advising the defendant of his or her rights and explaining what to expect at different stages of the criminal process; ensuring that the defendant's constitutional rights are not violated through law enforcement conduct, or in court proceedings and negotiating a plea bargain with the government, on the defendant's behalf. Lastly, a defense attorney is responsible for investigating facts and the evidence presented as well as cross-examining witnesses, objecting to evidence and questions presented by the prosecution and presenting any legal defenses that may be apparent. 

Courts have interpreted the Sixth Amendment right to counsel as guaranteeing the "effective assistance of counsel" to criminal defendants. It doesn't matter whether the attorney is hired by the defendant or appointed by the government. However, questionable strategic choices made by an attorney and even serious lawyer errors, in some instances do not usually cause a conviction to be thrown out, unless it is clear that the attorney's incompetence affected the outcome of the case.

If you or a loved one is in a bind as a result of a criminal charge, immediately contact a Seattle Criminal Attorney. A Criminal lawyer is not going to judge you, and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Seattle Criminal Lawyer to help can – at a minimum – reduce penalties, and can help direct people on how to best deal with their criminal charge, and many times even get them dismissed. So it should go without saying that someone cited for a misdemeanor or felony should hire a qualified Seattle Criminal Lawyer as soon as possible. Criminal charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with a crime in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle Criminal Lawyer.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Help! Can a Bonding Company Bail Me Out??



Many defendants lack the financial means to post their own bail. To secure release, they may contract a commercial bond agent to act as surety for the bond. The agent posts bail after collecting a nonrefundable fee typically 10 percent in Washington, from the defendant or family or friends. Assuming the defendant does not have money to give the agent as security, an agent will obtain other collateral, such as jewelry, securities, or electronics. In return, the bail bond agent agrees to pay the remaining amount to the court if the defendant fails to appear.

There are approximately 14,000 bond agents in the U.S. Most states require a bond agent to be licensed. However, the license typically is not specifically for bonding purpose, but for property and casualty insurance. To obtain the license, the applicant must meet certain educational requirements. This allows a potential bail bondsman to be appointed by an insurance company to write bail bonds.
The defendant pays the agent for writing the bond. In turn, the agent pays the insurance company a premium. The bail agent is responsible for bond payment in the event a defendant fails to appear and cannot be located. Typically, bail bondsmen have arrangements with local courts, under which they agree to post a blanket bond. The bond frees the bondsman from having to deposit cash or property with the court every time a new client is taken on. Should any of a bondsman's clients fail to appear at trial, the court will be paid with the bond.

To ensure a defendant's appearance in court, a bail bond agent may require a defendant to check in by telephone or in person, or may require the defendant to be monitored in some other way. In extreme cases, a bail bonds 

person may place a guard on the defendant. A bail bondsman is not obligated to post bail if the agent concludes a defendant is not likely to fulfill the obligations of the bond.
Some states have outlawed the practice of posting bond for profit. In those jurisdictions, a defendant may be allowed to satisfy the requirements of the bond by posting 10 percent of the bail amount with the court. Some other jurisdictions, such as Maine and Nebraska, allow commercial bail on a limited basis.

If you or a loved one is in a bind as a result of a criminal charge, immediately contact a Seattle Criminal Attorney. A Criminal lawyer is not going to judge you, and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Seattle Criminal Lawyer to help can – at a minimum – reduce penalties, and can help direct people on how to best deal with their criminal charge, and many times even get them dismissed. So it should go without saying that someone cited for a misdemeanor or felony should hire a qualified Seattle Criminal Lawyer as soon as possible. Criminal charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with a crime in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle Criminal Lawyer.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Were My Rights Violated By The Arresting Officer?




Did you get arrested recently? Are you feeling as if your rights have been violated? The fact of the matter is, when the police arrest someone, they take away that person's fundamental right to freedom. As a result there are several procedures the police must follow before they can make a legal arrest so that your rights remain protected. So what are those standard requirements that the police must comply with prior to an arrest?

In many states and police departments there are extra procedures which must be followed. These procedures are designed to protect police officers' physical safety and sometimes they are designed to help the police officer document the arrest, and help the officer avoid making a legal mistake which could ruin the prosecution's case in a criminal trial. These extra procedures differ from one police department to the next, but generally there are standard requirements an officer must follow prior to conducting a lawful arrest.

There are only a very limited number of circumstances in which an officer may make an arrest. The first is when an officer has personally observed a crime such as a Driving Under the Influence charge. The second is when the officer has probable cause to believe that the person arrested committed a crime. Probable cause is defined as a reasonable suspicion that the individual arrest may have engaged in unlawful conduct. The final circumstance is when an officer has an arrest warrant issued by a judge.
An officer cannot arrest someone just because he/she feels like it or has a hunch that someone might be a criminal. Police officers have to be able to justify their arrest usually by showing some tangible evidence that led them to probable cause.

The rules regarding what an officer must do while making an arrest vary by jurisdiction. Generally, an arrest happens when the person being arrested reasonably believes that she is not free to leave. The officer need not use handcuffs, or place the arrestee in a patrol car, although police often use these tactics to protect themselves. They also do not have to read Miranda Rights at the time of arrest. However, the police must read a suspect his Miranda Rights before an interrogation, so many police departments recommend that Miranda Rights be read at the time of arrest. This way, they can start questioning right away, and also, any information volunteered by a suspect can be used against them. Finally, although the police will almost always tell an arrestee why they are under arrest, they may not necessarily have any legal obligation to do so. This depends on both the jurisdiction and the circumstances of the arrest.

One universal rule police officers must follow is that they are not allowed to use excessive force or treat the arrestee cruelly. Generally, police officers are only allowed to use the minimum amount of force necessary to protect themselves and bring the suspect into police custody. This is why people are advised to never resist an arrest or argue with police. The more a suspect struggles, the more force is required for the police to do their job. If the arrestee thinks the arrest is unjustified or incorrect, she can always challenge it later with the help of an attorney, and if warranted, bring a civil rights case.

If you or a loved one is in a bind as a result of a criminal charge, immediately contact a Seattle Criminal Attorney. A Criminal lawyer is not going to judge you, and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Seattle Criminal Lawyer to help can – at a minimum – reduce penalties, and can help direct people on how to best deal with their criminal charge, and many times even get them dismissed. So it should go without saying that someone cited for a misdemeanor or felony should hire a qualified Seattle Criminal Lawyer as soon as possible. Criminal charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with a crime in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle Criminal Lawyer.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

I'm Not Going To Jail! But I'm On Probation?



You have just pled guilty to a criminal charge and the Judge has suspended all of the jail time but has placed you on active probation. Congratulations! You are not going to jail but are you wondering what probation is?

Probation is the suspension of a jail sentence that allows a person convicted of a crime a chance to remain in the community, instead of going to jail. Probation requires that you follow certain court-ordered rules and conditions under the supervision of a probation officer. Typical conditions may include performing community service, meeting with your probation officer, refraining from using illegal drugs or excessive alcohol, avoiding certain people and places, and appearing in court during requested times. More likely than not, you may be ordered to perform some sort of evaluation (i.e. alcohol drug evaluation, domestic violence etc.) and follow the treatment program recommended by the State certified evaluator. Now you may be wondering, how long is this probation going to last?
The amount of time you are on probation depends on the offense and laws of your state. Typically, probation lasts anywhere from one to five years on misdemeanor cases, but can last longer and even up to life depending on the type of conviction, such as drug or sex felony offenses.

The conditions imposed while on probation relate to the type of criminal offense. For example, a judge may require you to submit to periodic drug testing or attend a drug rehabilitation program for a drug-related offense. Similarly, a judge may require that you avoid specific people or group members for a gang-related or battery type of offense. Most understand what is required of them while on probation because the Court typically makes it very clear what conditions the defendant must follow. Moreover, the assigned probation officer usually will review all of the conditions once the defendant is placed on probation. The defendant would also receive all of the conditions of probation in writing. The majority are able to get through probation successfully but what happens if you violate the conditions of probation?

Probation violation occurs when you break any of the rules or conditions set forth in the probation order at any time during the probation period. When a potential violation is discovered, your probation officer has the discretion to simply give you a warning, or require you to attend a probation violation hearing. If a judge determines that you violated your probation, you may face additional probation terms, heavy fines, a revoked probation, jail time, or more.

A revoked probation does not automatically mean you will be sent to jail. A judge has a variety of options available during sentencing. For instance, upon a revoked probation, a judge may add an extra length to the probation, impose additional fines, or require you get additional counseling or attend other treatment programs. Even so, a judge may order you to serve a brief period of time in jail, or require you to serve the time allotted on your original sentence, depending on the circumstances. Upon a probation violation, you may request a bail hearing in felony cases to allow you to remain free for a brief period of time before having to serve time in jail or before a judge makes his final determination.

If you or a loved one is in a bind as a result of a criminal charge, immediately contact a Seattle Criminal Attorney. A Criminal lawyer is not going to judge you, and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Seattle Criminal Lawyer to help can – at a minimum – reduce penalties, and can help direct people on how to best deal with their criminal charge, and many times even get them dismissed. So it should go without saying that someone cited for a misdemeanor or felony should hire a qualified Seattle Criminal Lawyer as soon as possible. Criminal charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with a crime in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle Criminal Lawyer.