Prospective clients often incredulously ask “how is it that the government can charge me with, let alone even convict me of, a crime?” The law can be funny that way; the law does not always seem just or fair. Take the following example, some may say the outcome is just and even fair … others wonder how an innocent ‘accident’ can lead to a criminal conviction:
A 19-year-old Oregon woman drove an SUV into a leaf pile where two young girls were playing. Both girls were killed. The woman had learned after arriving home that she may have struck children but didn’t come forward. Police found her the following day. Authorities said the two girls — later identified as stepsisters, a 6-year-old and an 11-year-old — were likely concealed by the leaves and not visible to the 19 year old driver. Minutes after the woman hit the leaves, while on her way home from getting fast food, her brother went to the scene and saw a man standing over the pile, screaming. The man spoke to him briefly. The boy went home and told his sister that she may have hit two children. The prosecution conceded that the deaths were accidental and even unintentional, but the woman was required to return to the scene of the accident as soon as she learned of it; the prosecutor told jurors that the 19 year old’s choice not to come forward was morally and legally wrong. Her defense lawyer said the law doesn’t say anything about the requirements when a driver learns later about an accident. Notwithstanding the defense’s argument, a jury in January found the woman guilty of two counts of felony hit-and-run. A judge sentenced her to three years of probation for the accident. The judge had the option of imposing only probation or a maximum of three years in prison. In addition to the probation, the judge ordered the woman to perform 250 hours of community service.
If you or a loved one is cited or charged with a criminal offense in Seattle or anywhere else in western Washington, it is imperative that you seek the assistance of a qualified and reputable Seattle criminal defense attorney. The Seattle criminal attorneys that make up the criminal defense team of SQ Attorneys are highly qualified and reputable Seattle criminal defense lawyers that are dedicated to providing top notch, aggressive representation for those cited for unlawful offenses all across Western Washington and the Greater Puget Sound region. The team creates success by working with law enforcement and the prosecuting attorney’s office to ensure that all facts and circumstances related to the allegations are considered in creating the fairest, most equitable and just resolution possible in light of all the surrounding circumstances of the given case.