Forbes Advisor Recognizes Jennifer Horwitz as a Leading Criminal Defense Attorney in Seattle

Jennifer Horwitz Law announced today that Forbes Advisor has named founding attorney Jennifer Horwitz one of the best criminal defense attorneys in Seattle, underscoring her commitment to tenacity, guidance, and compassion in legal defense. Click the link to learn more: Forbes Advisor Recognizes Jennifer Horwitz as a Leading Criminal Defense Attorney in Seattle – Law Firm Newswire

What Will I Get Out Of A Paid One-hour Consult Re: My Protection Order Case?

Affordable and Practical Legal Advice for Your Specific Situation

It is hard to find a lawyer who is willing to handle full representation on a protection order case because these cases can be a tremendous amount of work in a very short time frame.  Experienced lawyers like Jennifer Horwitz, bill hourly on these cases and take several thousand dollars up front to place in a trust account. 

Why Would I do a Paid Consult Instead of Hiring Counsel to Represent Me?

 At Jennifer’s hourly rate, representation on these cases typically costs $10,000 or more.  Neighbor harassment cases can be even more work than other cases because neighbors who are not the parties get involved as witnesses.  Jennifer’s last neighbor anti-harassment order case was $20,000 by the time it was finished.

What Will I Get Out of a Paid One-Hour Consult?

For a fraction of the cost, you can consult with Jennifer Horwitz about your case, whether you are considering petitioning for a protection order, have filed a petition, or are responding to an order someone else filed against you.  The paid one-hour consult will take place by phone, Facetime or on whatever video platform you prefer, if you send Jennifer a link.  In your meeting with Jennifer, she will evaluate the case, give you her assessment, and help you figure out how best to present your evidence.  She will send you materials to use in preparing your evidence and can even review your materials.  

If I Need More Time, Can I Pay for Additional Consults with Jennifer Horwitz?

Some cases benefit from more than one hour of consulting, and in those cases, Jennifer can offer additional help in the form of reviewing and editing materials that you have prepared according to her instructions, helping you respond to materials the other party has filed, ghost-writing some materials for you, investigating whether the case can be settled outside of court and drafting a settlement agreement, and preparing you for your hearing.  Many cases benefit from 2-4 hours of consulting with Jennifer, which still represents a large cost savings over full representation. Jennifer will make herself available to support you in the form of additional paid one-hour time blocks to help you represent yourself very effectively.

Why Is Consulting with Jennifer Horwitz in a Protection Order Case Much More Effective than Just Dealing with the Case Myself?

Jennifer Horwitz has been handling protection order cases for approximately 25 years.  This gives her a broad perspective on which cases belong in court and merit an order and which cases don’t.  She is familiar with the various legal issues that can arise around service on the other party, jurisdiction over out-of-state parties, the interplay between a possible criminal case and a protection order case, and what evidence will be viewed as compelling and persuasive by a court and what evidence will not.  In addition, Jennifer understands how to tailor a protection order request to the specific situation at hand and will suggest adding certain provisions to a proposed order or discuss with you why certain provisions are not appropriate.  Jennifer also has an excellent track record of diverting even the most contentious cases from the Court system by negotiating an agreed written settlement agreement.  Each settlement agreement is different and its terms are dictated by what the Petitioner will need in order to agree to dismiss their petition and what the Respondent is prepared to agree to in order to resolve the case outside of court.  Written settlement agreements are powerful tools to resolve harassment and unwanted contact without relying on a court to determine whether an order should be imposed.

Does Jennifer Horwitz Consult on All Types of Protection Order Cases?

Jennifer will consult with you on any type of protection order case as long as it is not related to an ongoing divorce or child custody case.  Domestic violence protection order cases that involve a party in an ongoing divorce or child custody case will be consolidated with the family law case and will be heard in family law court.  Those cases should be handled by a family law attorney.

Jennifer consults on domestic violence protection order cases NOT connected to an ongoing divorce or child custody case, anti-harassment and anti-stalking order case, extreme risk protection order cases and sexual assault protection order cases.

What Do Clients Say About Consulting with Jennifer Horwitz? 

(From Reviews on Google Business)

  • I hired Jennifer for a consultation on my case and I’m so happy I did.  Her knowledge and expertise was not only helpful in gaining a protection order, but she also gave calmness while dealing with a stressful time in my life.  I would definitely recommend her services.
  • We consulted with Jennifer for an hour in preparation for a civil harassment protection order against our neighbor.  It was among the best $500 we’ve ever spent!  Her counsel enabled us to focus on the right elements when presenting our case in court, resulting in a ruling in our favor.  Hopefully we won’t need her services in the future, but if we do, we will call her again.
  • Jennifer provides a unique service which gives you access to legal counsel without the often significant expense of fully retaining an attorney.  I consulted with Jennifer for a protection order case and she gave me the tools and framework to be able to prepare everything myself.  She then reviewed everything I had prepared and provided invaluable feedback before I submitted everything.  Without her advice I would have been completely lost navigating the court system and she made me feel empowered and assured that my filings were accurate and thorough.
  • I’m glad I found Jennifer when I needed legal advice.  My first impression of her was that she reads fast! I sent her pages of my case documents and I wrote several confusing paragraphs of what happened with my case but she was able to capture exactly what I was trying to say in just a couple of minutes.  Immediately she was able to give me succinct advice on how to go about the case and the court system.  This helped relieve a lot of stress in dealing with the case….Jennifer is smart, efficient, polite and compassionate.  Definitely 5 stars!
  • Sharp, to the point, direct regarding chance of success, very good experience.  Gives you faith in the profession.
  • In only have superlatives for Jennifer.  She was very professional, very clear in her advice and suggestions, used our time together very efficiently and responsibly and was extremely prompt in her response to emails…she seemed genuinely interested in understanding our case, remembered details and clearly wanted to help us with what we needed help with.  I would enthusiastically recommend her to my friends and family.
  • Jennifer is a rare breed:  smart, responsive compassionate, honest, quick and cost-effective.  She helped me and a group of neighbors navigate a difficult and unfamiliar legal situation – coaching us, reviewing our work, making multiple helpful suggestions, and pointing out potential pitfalls.  Though the underlying situation we were dealing with was no fun, working with her was an absolute pleasure.  I recommend her in the highest possible terms.

Violation of Protection Orders: Legal Consequences in Washington

The legal consequences of violating an order of protection in Washington will vary depending on the facts of the situation. It is important to realize that you can get charged with a crime if you contact or respond to contact from the petitioner, even if they tell you that they have dropped the order of protection. You must follow all the terms of the order unless it gets terminated through the court.

This blog talks about violations of protection orders: legal consequences in Washington. You could get a criminal record, go to jail or prison, have to pay thousands of dollars in fines, and have to participate in electronic monitoring if found guilty of violating an order of protection. You will want to talk to a Washington criminal defense attorney as soon as possible if you think you might face accusations of violating an order of protection.

The Washington Statute on Violations of Orders of Protection

RCW 7.105.450 Enforcement and penalties – other than antiharassment protection orders and extreme risk protection orders– are the Washington statutes that apply to allegations of the violation of orders of protection. This statute says that violating an order of protection can be a gross misdemeanor or a class C felony, depending on the facts of the situation. The respondent must know about the existence of the order of protection before being found guilty of violating it.

If a law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe that a person has violated an order of protection that they knew about, the office can arrest the respondent and take them into custody. A warrant is not required for an arrest in this situation. In addition to the penalties for gross misdemeanors and class C felonies, a violation of an order of protection can be considered contempt of court, which can come with separate penalties.

When the Violation of an Order of Protection in Washington State Is a Class C Felony

The violation of an order of protection in our state can be a class C felony in these situations:

  • The violation of the protection order does not constitute first or second-degree assault; 
  • The conduct was reckless and caused “a substantial risk of death or serious physical harm to another person;” or
  • The offender has two previous convictions for violating a protection order. Those previous convictions could involve the same victim or different victims.

Class C felonies are punishable by confinement in prison for up to 5 years and fines of as much as $10,000. The violator can be required to submit to electronic monitoring. The specific acts of violation could get charged as other crimes that can carry additional penalties.

When the Violation of an Order of Protection Washington State Is a Gross Misdemeanor

When the violation of an order of protection does not meet the elements of a class C felony, it can be a gross misdemeanor. For example, the mere act of responding to a text from the person protected by the order could be a violation that is a gross misdemeanor. 

Courts in Washington State can impose penalties of jail time up to one year, a fine of up to $5,000, or both jail time and a fine. Also, the judge can order electronic monitoring. Getting convicted of violating an order of protection can have a significant negative impact on your life. You do not want to try to handle this situation on your own like a DIY project. Washington criminal defense attorney Jennifer Horwitz could help you pursue the best possible outcome in your circumstances.

Understanding Self-Defense Claims in Domestic Violence Cases

Some people take advantage of the domestic violence laws in Washington state to try to gain an unfair advantage in a divorce or paternity case. These people provoke their significant other, often with physical violence or threats of physical violence, and then call the police when the object of this strategy defends themselves.

If you get caught up in a situation like this, you will want to work with a Seattle criminal defense attorney from the beginning to protect your legal rights. Understanding self-defense claims in domestic violence cases is the first step in seeking justice and protecting yourself from an unfair result in court.

What Is Self-Defense in Domestic Violence Cases?

In a standard self-defense claim, a person has a right to protect themselves from harm or credible threat of harm. Your actions must have been reasonable and in proportion to the danger faced by the aggressor. This right of self-defense exists in domestic violence situations. If a member of your household, a former roommate or romantic partner, or someone else covered by our state’s domestic violence rules attacks you, you have a right to protect yourself from harm.

Self-defense also extends to the protection of others. Let’s say that your estranged spouse is about to punch your toddler in the face. You have the right to protect your child from harm. Your actions must be proportional to the danger faced, however. In other words, reacting excessively to the situation will not be excused by self-defense. For example, stabbing your spouse 48 times in this situation would likely be ruled as excessive and not in proportion to the level of danger.

Challenges of Using Self-Defense Claims in Domestic Violence Cases

Domestic violence often takes place behind closed doors, with few or no witnesses. It is your word against the person who accuses you of perpetrating the wrongful conduct. If your significant other is a good actor or looks vulnerable, the judge might believe their side of the story. You do not want to try to tackle this situation on your own without an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can make the most of the holes in the accuser’s testimony.

The police usually arrive after the alleged event happened, which means that the police were not eyewitnesses. If there were no visible injuries, the officer might not know what happened between the parties before the police got to the scene. 

Sometimes, the accused party will go to the extreme of injuring themselves to try to seal the fate of the innocent party. It could take expert medical or forensic testimony to prove that the wounds were self-inflicted.

Why People Falsely Accuse Others of Domestic Violence

When a relationship is over, some people want the other party “to pay,” no matter what it takes. The accuser develops a “scorched earth” mentality that they will destroy something rather than let the other party live in peace. For people with this mindset, the ends justify the means.

In other situations, a person might make a poor decision, like attacking their significant other. When they realize what they have done, they call the police and lob accusations at the person they attacked. This is an example of the idea that the best defense is a good offense. These cases are tricky, and the stakes are high. A Washington criminal defense attorney can protect your rights and fight tirelessly for a fair outcome. Reach out to Jennifer today for help with your case.

How Does the Prosecutor Decide to Drop Charges or Take a Case to Trial?

Prosecutors cannot possibly take every single case to trial. After a case gets assigned to a prosecutor, they have to decide whether to drop the charges, work out a deal with the defendant’s lawyer, or try the case. These decisions usually happen out of sight of the defendant, who might be left wondering about the reason behind the prosecutor’s choice.  Defense counsel should be communicating with the client and the prosecutor so that the client is aware of whatever the attorney knows about the prosecutor’s motivations, and the prosecutor is aware of issues the client raises that might result in the case being resolved or dismissed short of trial.

This blog will explain how a prosecutor decides to drop charges or take a case to trial. If you face criminal charges, a Seattle criminal defense attorney can protect your legal rights and work hard for the best outcome possible in your situation.

Charges Can Get Dropped When the Prosecutor Cannot Secure a Conviction

Prosecutors hate to lose. They do not have time to waste on cases they cannot win. If the investigation does not generate enough admissible evidence for the judge or jury to find the defendant guilty, the prosecutor might drop the charges. Still, the prosecutor might wait and hope that additional evidence will turn up before the trial and plan to enter into a plea deal if it does not.

The Judge Throws Out Some of the Evidence Against the Defendant

The defense attorney might file a motion to suppress evidence if the items were taken in violation of the defendant’s rights. Contrary to common beliefs, the police do not always need a search warrant to look for and seize evidence of a crime, but if a warrant was necessary and the police performed a warrantless search and seizure, the judge could refuse to let that evidence get used at the trial. 

The lack of a valid search warrant is but one example of the many circumstances that could keep evidence from ever coming in front of the jury. If the defendant’s rights were violated in other ways, evidence could be suppressed, leading to the prosecutor dropping the charges.

Examples of the violation of the defendant’s rights include the following:

  • Improper arrest. The police might not have had valid grounds to arrest the defendant. The defendant might have been interrogated improperly, coerced into a confession, refused assistance of counsel, or not advised of their Miranda rights.
  • Planted evidence. The police or investigator might have planted evidence on the defendant.
  • The prosecutor might withhold evidence that could prove the defendant’s innocence, such as an alibi witness or evidence that someone else committed the crime.

Any of these events could weaken the prosecutor’s case and motivate them to drop the charges against the defendant. You will want to work with a Washington criminal defense attorney from the beginning of your case to try to get the charges dropped before trial. Schedule a paid one-hour consult today for help with your case.

How Washington State Defines the “Primary Aggressor”

Domestic violence cases are fraught for many reasons. In addition to the emotional implications for everyone involved, there are legal issues that can make such cases challenging for the accused, the alleged victim, and even police and prosecutors. One such aspect of domestic violence cases is identifying the “primary aggressor:” the person alleged to pose the most serious threat of further violence.

Criteria for Determining the Primary Aggressor

Under Washington law, a police officer shall consider these factors in deciding which party was the primary aggressor: 

  • The extent of the injuries inflicted on both parties or serious threats that make either party fearful of physical injury
  • The history of domestic violence of each party, including whether the current actions are part of an ongoing abuse pattern
  • The intent of the law to protect alleged victims of domestic violence

This determination can sometimes be challenging to make. Nevertheless, it is critical because Washington law requires responding officers to arrest the individual they believe was the primary physical aggressor in a domestic violence situation. 

Sometimes, the probable cause for the arrest is the obvious signs of an injury one partner has suffered. At other times, probable cause is based on a story one partner tells more convincingly than the other.

The Importance of Context

The criteria for determining the primary aggressor can be problematic because they often come down to a subjective judgment in a heated moment. The responding officer must arrest someone, but the available information is often limited by the fact that domestic violence cases do not always have witnesses. As such, the officer must make a decision based on what they can glean from an “I said/you said” story. Depending on each partner’s communication skills, as well as the police officer’s own biases, the probability of making the wrong call about the identity of the primary aggressor can be high.

Mutual Combat vs. Primary Aggression

In some domestic violence cases, officers arrive to find both partners have suffered injuries or claim the other was the aggressor. This situation, known as “mutual combat,” makes identifying the primary aggressor especially tricky.

In mutual combat cases, officers must look for other evidence to determine who poses the greatest ongoing threat. They will consider factors such as who kept the altercation going and which party poses the more immediate threat to the other person. Even with mutual combat, officers must still choose one partner to arrest as the primary aggressor.

Implications for the Accused

In addition to undergoing an arrest and possibly spending time in jail, the accused will often receive a “no-contact order” at their first court appearance. This order legally prevents them from seeing or contacting the alleged victim. By necessity, the accused will need to move out of the family home. Even if the accuser later tells the court the order is unnecessary, it will remain in place pending further court hearings. This situation can cause tremendous emotional and financial stress for everyone involved.

Legal Defenses for the Primary Aggressor

If you are arrested as the primary aggressor in an alleged domestic altercation, the help of an experienced attorney is critical to your legal defense. Possible strategies may include:

  • Challenging the accuser’s credibility if they change their story or show a pattern of dishonesty
  • Presenting evidence that your partner injured you first, forcing you to act in self-defense
  • Arguing that the responding officer made a mistake in identifying you as the primary aggressor
  • Demonstrating your partner has substance abuse issues that contributed to the incident
  • Providing character witnesses who can speak to your non-aggressive nature

A strong defense depends on the specific details of your case. An experienced attorney will know how to build the most compelling argument that you were not the primary aggressor. With an effective legal strategy, you may be able to get the charges against you dropped.

Call Jennifer Horwitz Today

Domestic violence charges can upend your life. However, you should not give up hope. Whether you are a victim of domestic violence or someone has accused you of being the aggressor, a seasoned Seattle domestic violence attorney can help you understand your legal options. Contact Jennifer Horwitz today to learn more about defending yourself and your good name.

Ask the Attorney: The person who pressed charges against me now wants to drop them. What happens next?

If you are facing criminal prosecution in Seattle, hearing that the person who pressed charges against you now wants to drop them may come as an immense relief. However, the decision to do so rests not with the alleged victim but with the attorneys prosecuting the case – though the accuser’s change of heart could affect the outcome. Working with an experienced Washington criminal defense lawyer can help you protect your rights and make the most of this potential opportunity.

The Role of the Victim in Criminal Prosecutions

If someone believes they have been the victim of criminal wrongdoing, they have the right to file a complaint with law enforcement authorities. In many cases, local or state prosecutors will decide to bring charges against the person the alleged victim claims committed the criminal act. Yet sometimes, the accuser decides they no longer want to be involved in the investigation, and they inform the police that they would like to drop charges. However, at this point, the accuser does not have the power to stop the prosecution from proceeding with their case.

Prosecutorial Discretion

The decision to drop charges against someone accused of a crime rests solely with the prosecution, though a judge must approve their decision. If the accuser decides to disengage from the investigation, the prosecutor will use their discretion to weigh factors such as:

  • Whether they have sufficient evidence to secure a conviction without the cooperation of the alleged victim
  • Whether other credible witnesses have refuted the accuser’s original story
  • The strength of the physical evidence in the case
  • The emergence of new physical evidence that may exonerate the accused
  • The possibility of a plea bargain for lesser charges

Legal Implications for the Accuser

An accuser’s decision to request that the prosecution drop charges may carry certain legal consequences. Prosecutors may compel the accuser to testify or face charges of contempt of court. The accuser could also face charges of filing a false police report, obstructing justice, or perjury if their story changes substantially. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can advise the accused on whether and how the accuser’s change of heart may affect their case.  The accuser who has had a change of heart and is now changing or recanting their story of abuse may also benefit from having their own lawyer advise them.

The Process of Dropping Charges

How are charges dropped in Washington State? The process involves the following steps:

  • The accuser must submit a formal request to the district attorney/prosecutor that the charges be dropped.  Sometimes cases are dismissed even if the accuser wants the case to go forward.  Conversely, sometimes a case will be prosecuted even if the accuser wants the case dismissed.
  • The prosecutor then reviews the evidence and strength of the case without the accuser’s cooperation.  If a case can be proved without the cooperation of the accuser and the prosecutor believes a crime has been committed, the prosecutor will very likely move forward with the prosecution.
  • The prosecutor determines it is not in the interest of justice to move forward with their case.
  • The prosecutor then files a motion or request with the court to dismiss the charges.
  • The judge reviews the motion to dismiss the charges and approves it.
  • The court updates records to reflect that charges have been dropped against the accused.

Depending on the court’s calendar, this process can take several weeks to months. The accused should be patient and work closely with their lawyer during this time.

Protecting Your Rights

If the accuser has changed their mind about pressing charges against you, it is critical that you understand the case against you (the accused) will not simply go away. It’s still important to follow your lawyer’s advice and decline to talk to police or investigators further without them present. They can handle communications on your behalf and will advise you further as necessary.

You could still need to appear in court even if the accuser drops out. Furthermore, prosecutors can compel the accuser to participate even if they don’t want to. Be patient, and trust the advice and guidance of your criminal defense lawyer. Staying quiet, showing up when required, and letting your lawyer do their work can help lead to the best resolution.

Seeking Legal Counsel

When you are facing criminal charges, every day can feel like a new challenge. This can be particularly true if your case takes an unexpected turn. While the uncertainty can be stressful, working with a criminal defense attorney who has solid relationships with Seattle prosecutors can reduce the anxiety you’re feeling and lay the groundwork for a successful resolution. Get in touch with Jennifer Horwitz Law today to learn more about your legal options.

Entrapment and Prostitution Charges

Innocent people can be arrested due to mistakes or police misconduct. One form of police misconduct that could possibly be used as a defense in a prostitution case is entrapment.

Police often rely on sting operations to make prostitution arrests. Officers pose as prostitutes or customers. However, officers must follow very strict guidelines when conducting prostitution stings. In this article, our Seattle criminal defense attorney explores entrapment as a possible defense to prostitution charges in Washington.

Using Entrapment as a Defense to Prostitution Charges in Washington

Entrapment is an affirmative defense in a criminal case. You must raise the defense at trial and prove the legal elements required to prove the police misconduct.

The Revised Code of Washington §9A.16.070 states that entrapment is a defense to the prosecution of a crime that:

  • The crime originated in the mind of the police officer or someone acting under their direction; AND,
  • The defendant was induced or lured to commit a crime they had not otherwise intended to commit.

It is not enough to show that the police officer offered a person the opportunity to commit a crime. The officer must have tempted or persuaded the person to commit the crime.

Therefore, walking up to an undercover police officer and asking for sex in exchange for money probably will not stand the test for an entrapment defense. On the other hand, an undercover police officer approaching you without any invitation to offer sex could be the beginning of a defense. You might have said no several times, but the undercover officer used forceful and compelling arguments to persuade you to have sex for money.

It is crucial to understand that prostitution stings are not solely performed on the street. Undercover copies can pose as customers or prostitutes online, in chat rooms, or on Craig’s List. It is also wise to remember that an undercover cop does not need to admit they are a police officer if you ask them.

What Should I Do if I Am Arrested on Prostitution or Prostitution-Related Charges?

Prostitution is a sex crime. You could face severe criminal penalties depending on the person’s age and other factors. Talking with the police is not your best option in this situation.

Instead, you should remain silent except for asking for a lawyer.

Trying to talk your way out of a prostitution charge will likely worsen matters. If you have a valid entrapment defense to prostitution charges in Washington, you do not want to mess up the defense by giving officers statements they can use against you in court.

Call a lawyer and only discuss the matter with the attorney. An attorney can investigate the charges against you, including analyzing the state’s evidence. Your lawyer develops the best defense strategy based on the evidence in your case, including using all potential defenses available to help you beat the charges or negotiate a fair plea agreement.

Call Now for a Free Consultation With a Seattle Criminal Defense Attorney

Were you arrested for prostitution in Seattle, Washington? If so, do not plead guilty or accept a plea deal until you talk with an experienced Seattle criminal defense attorney. You could be innocent of the charges based on entrapment. Contact Jennifer today for a consultation to discuss your case.

DISCLAIMER: This post is intended to share my perspective, insights and some general information on various aspects of criminal law. It is not legal advice and is not intended to substitute for legal advice. You should consult an attorney to obtain legal advice for your individual situation and case.

Should I Ever Give Police Consent to Search My Car, Home, or Person?

Interactions with the police can be high-stress situations. It is essential to know your legal rights and what Washington law requires. You should contact a Seattle criminal defense attorney at once if the police want to search you, your car, or your house. You should always be respectful and, for your own safety, try to avoid a confrontation.

In this Ask the Attorney blog, we cover the question, should I ever give police consent to search my car, home, or person?

When the Police Can Search Your Car

According to the Seattle Office of Police Accountability, the police can search your vehicle for the purpose of making an inventory of the contents of your car if it gets impounded and taken to a towing company’s yard. Also, law enforcement can search your car for weapons that could be within your reach while you are seated inside your car. They usually may not open your closed glove compartment or closed bags that are inside your vehicle.

The police might ask for your consent to perform additional searches of your vehicle, but unless you give your consent, they usually have to obtain a search warrant before searching other areas. There are several exceptions to this general rule.

Do You Have to Allow the Police to Search Your Home?

If the police have a search warrant, they typically do not need your permission to enter your home and conduct a search. If law enforcement has an arrest warrant for someone who lives at your address, they can enter your home to serve the arrest warrant without your permission.

Another situation in which the police can enter your home without your consent is when they reasonably believe that someone on the premises is in danger or is injured. Emergencies are usually a valid reason for the police to enter and search without a search or arrest warrant.

What About Stopping Me on the Street?

Let’s say that you are walking in your neighborhood, minding your own business. Can the police just come up to you and stop you? Maybe. If the police see you violating a law or an ordinance, like jaywalking or littering, they can stop you in public. If they have a reasonable suspicion that you committed a crime like an assault, or that you have an outstanding arrest warrant or committed a previous crime, they can stop you and ask some questions.

The issue arises when the police want to frisk or otherwise search someone at a street stop. The officers must have a legal reason to detain the individual and have a reasonable belief that they have a weapon to frisk them without a warrant. Other items, like drugs, discovered during a frisk for weapons can get seized as evidence.

The bottom line is that consenting to a warrantless search is sometimes voluntarily giving up your legal rights, but sometimes the police do not need a warrant to search a person, their vehicle, or their home. These situations are legally challenging, and the stakes are high. If possible, you will want to get guidance from a Seattle criminal defense attorney about consenting to a warrantless search by the police. Get in touch with Jennifer today for help with your case.

DISCLAIMER: This post is intended to share my perspective, insights and some general information on various aspects of criminal cases. It is not legal advice and is not intended to substitute for legal advice. You should consult an attorney to obtain legal advice for your individual situation and case.

Paths to Resentencing

Thanks to developments in the law in Washington State, you or someone you care about could be able to go back to court for a new sentence, assuming that the new sentence would not be greater than the original sentence. This blog will discuss five different ways that people serving life or long prison sentences could get sentence relief in our state.

If you think that you or a loved one might fall within one of these paths to resentencing, you can talk to a Washington criminal defense attorney to get started.

Three Strikes – Robbery Removed

Second-degree robbery convictions used to count toward the “three strikes” rule in Washington. Under the three strikes rule, getting convicted of three crimes on the “most serious offenses” list resulted in an automatic life sentence, regardless of the standard term of imprisonment for the third offense.

Washington took robbery in the second degree off of the three strikes rule most serious offenses list and made the change retroactive. The change in the law mandates resentencing hearings for people who got sentenced under the old rule. A person who got sentenced as a persistent offender can request a new sentencing hearing.

Youth Sentencing

People who got sentenced to life in prison without parole for aggravated murder offenses committed before they turned 18 can get a new sentencing hearing. This change in Washington law was in response to the U.S. Supreme Court declaring that sentencing minors to mandatory life sentences is unconstitutional. 

Young Adult Sentencing 

If a person got sentenced to mandatory life without parole for a conviction of aggravated murder for an offense committed when the offender was between the ages of 18 and 20 years, they can get a resentencing hearing. The sentencing must have happened before March 2, 2017, because at that point, trial courts received the right to exercise discretion when sentencing minors charged as adults. Before that date, courts had to impose a mandatory sentence of life without parole.

Simple Possession Statute Declared Unconstitutional

Individuals who got sentenced under the previous statute that criminalized simple possession of a controlled substance can get a new sentencing hearing because that statute is no longer valid. The person’s conviction can get vacated. Also, if a conviction under the old statute counted in the individual’s offender score, they can get a resentencing hearing using their new offender score after deducting the simple possession conviction.

Also, there have been several changes to the drug offense statutes in our state in the past few years, but not all of those changes were made retroactively immediately. The legislature fixed this oversight and now allows people to request resentencing hearings if they got sentenced under the old laws and their new sentence would not be longer than their previous one.

A Catch-All Category

Finally, we have all heard stories on the news about someone who got convicted of a crime and sentenced to what sounds like a shockingly long sentence relative to the offense committed.  Washington created a law that allows prosecutors to ask for a resentencing hearing when the sentence the person is serving does not serve the interests of justice. 

No matter what category might be applicable to your situation, you will want to talk to a Washington criminal defense attorney about requesting a resentencing hearing. Contact Jennifer today for help with your case.

DISCLAIMER: This post is intended to share my perspective, insights, and some general information on various aspects of criminal cases. It is not legal advice and is not intended to substitute for legal advice. You should consult an attorney to obtain legal advice for your individual situation and case.