Malice not Always the Cause

There are many reasons that people commit crimes. Often society just chalks it up to bad morals or evil intent or malice. However, as many Seattle criminal defense attorneys know, many (if not most) people who get caught committing a crime in Washington State are not “bad” people. They are actually good people who get caught making a bad decision. Reasons for committing a crime can vary greatly, and often are for reasons other than malice and/or evil intent. Often people commit crimes because they are financially challenged, for fun, in the name of love or for a loved one, on a dare, mental health issues, addiction, or even necessity, just to name a few. Heck, some crimes like Driving Under the Influence (“DUI”) or Being in Actual Physical Control of a motor vehicle (“Physical Control”) don’t even require a “mens rea” or “criminal” mindset; those acts are considered criminal simply because our Washington State legislature deemed them to be crimes. In other words, a person who is cited for DUI or Physical Control didn’t have to intend to commit a crime, nor did he have to act in a negligent or reckless manner; they are deemed crimes simply because the government has said they are crimes.

Although a crime such as theft requires an “intent to deprive” another person ( or entity) of property, there may be many reasons the person chose to take property from another person (or entity). The question is should this be considered by our state and municipalities in determining punitive actions against those caught stealing? Should prosecutors only consider whether or not they can prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt and nothing more? Some jurisdictions, like Seattle Municipal Court (“SMC”), have made an effort to go beyond just assessing the strength and weakness of a criminal case. For qualified cases and/or defendants SMC has set up specialty courts and programs such as Mental Health Court, Community Court and a Driver’s Relicensing Program. These were theoretically established to redirect those folks who get caught making a bad decision or decisions; they are geared towards helping people gain access to programs, agencies and people that can give them the tools and the empowerment to excel lawfully in life. Some courts and jurisdictions such as Bellevue Municipal Court, however, appear to believe that such specialty courts and programs are too “touchy/ feely”, and subscribe to the theory that you commit the crime, you do the time. It is an unbending philosophy and often results in an overburdened court; notwithstanding what really caused a person to make the bad decision in the first place, he/she is sadly only left with no other option than to be branded a criminal. Is one system better than the other? Should everyone be branded a “criminal” if they make a bad decision and find themselves in a our criminal court system?

In a perfect world our courts and prosecutors would spend the time and the energy assessing the underlying causes of why a crime was committed and not just look at whether the elements of the alleged crime can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Unfortunately, we are not in a perfect world. Criminal defense attorneys are thus left doing the best they can to create the best solutions and results for their clients, most of which are good people who made bad decisions and found themselves in our criminal justice system.

If you, a friend or a loved one, has been criminally charged in Washington, you are probably feeling anxious and even apprehensive about the future. That is why it is so important that the necessary steps to protect rights and freedom are exercised. A Seattle criminal defense lawyer will provide the necessary legal advice and counseling a person needs in these situations, and will greatly enhance a person’s chance of beating (or at the very least reduce) the charges being brought against him. A Seattle criminal defense attorney who is familiar with the Washington legal system will fully review every aspect of the charges being alleged so as to create the best possible defense no matter what one’s criminal background (or lack thereof) may be; a Seattle criminal defense attorney will do everything possible to fully investigate every facet of a person’s arrest and the actions leading up to it. Statistically speaking, individuals who utilize the representation and assistance of a legal professional during a criminal case achieve significantly better results than those who do not work with a seasoned 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 arrested forcommitting crime in and around Western Washington and the greater Puget Sound region. The SQ team creates success by working with law enforcement and the prosecuting attorney’s office to ensure that all facts and circumstances related to the criminal allegations being alleged are considered in creating the fairest, most equitable and just resolution possible in light of all the surrounding circumstances. If you, a friend or a loved one is facing a criminal charge in Washington State, protect your rights and freedom — call SQ Attorneys at (206) 441-0900; it will be the best decision you make all day!

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10.0Gregory Wayne Schwesinger
10.0Saad Qamer Qadri