Often criminal cases involve police “investigations” before criminal charges are filed or even before an arrest takes place; this is so because many alleged crimes are not actually witnessed by law enforcement. Investigations can last hours, days, weeks, months or even years depending on the particular circumstances of the given situation. For instance, DUI’s in Washington State generally involve shorter investigation periods, while crimes like arson or employee theft generally involve longer investigation periods. Typically, there are three things that happen before a criminal prosecution moves forward in Washington State: (1) someone or some entity makes a complaint to police; (2) police investigate the allegations, and then refer the case to the prosecuting authority; and (3) the prosecuting authority reviews the police report along with any witness statements and/or physical evidence and decides whether or not to file criminal charges against the person(s).
Although it is likely that criminal charges will be filed once paperwork from an investigation is submitted to the prosecuting authority, they don’t have to be. There are opportunities at each step in the process to possibly abort criminal prosecution, and to possibly even stop an arrest from occurring. That is why it is wise to retain a qualified Washington State criminal defense lawyer the moment an incident occurs which may lead to a police criminal investigation. A savvy Washington State criminal attorney will protect the accused’s rights, and/or ensure that the accused does not inadvertently do or say something that is not in his best interest. For instance, if a criminal lawyer has the opportunity to contact an alleged “victim” before the police are called, it is possible that the matter can be resolved prior to any police involvement; it is important to note, however, that a person should not attempt to contact an alleged victim himself, and that he have his criminal lawyer handle the “negotiations” legally and ethically so as to avoid any possible exposure to witness tampering allegations, a Felony in Washington State. Even if a report has been filed with police, a competent Washington State criminal lawyer can still be very effective and helpful; the lawyer can, and most likely will, contact law enforcement before the matter is referred to the prosecuting authority to discuss his client’s options, and to ensure that his client’s rights and interests are protected to the greatest extent possible. Finally, if police have referred a matter to prosecutors for their review and filing, an accomplished Washington State criminal defense attorney may choose to contact the prosecutor’s office before charges are filed in an effort to convince them that criminal charges are not warranted, or alternatively that the case warrants lesser charges. Similarly, if an accused person’s case does not meet a prosecuting attorney’s “charging standards”, or is otherwise a “close call”, an adept defense lawyer may be able to persuade the prosecutor that the case is not worth filing, or that legally and ethically they cannot file criminal charges against the accused.
A person who is involved in an incident that “may” result in a criminal investigation and/or criminal charges being filed should immediately call a qualified Washington State criminal defense attorney. It could mean the difference between a conviction, an acquittal or even a case not being pursued by the government. SQ Attorneys is a highly qualified and experienced team of Western Washington criminal litigators immensely dedicated to aggressively protecting the rights and interests of those possibly facing criminal charges in Washington State. The team creates success by working with law enforcement and the prosecuting attorney’s office to ensure that their client’s integrity and overarching humanity, as well as the totality of the facts and circumstances related to the allegations, are considered in creating the most just, fair and equitable resolution possible.
If you or a loved one is facing the possibility of being criminally charged in King County, Pierce County, Snohomish County, Kitsap County, Thurston County or one of the following cities or towns: Algona, Bellevue, Black Diamond, Bonney Lake, Bothell, Burien, Des Moines, Duvall, Edmonds, Enumclaw, Everett, Federal Way, fife, Hunts Point, Issaquah, Kenmore, Kent, Kirkland, Lake Forest Park, Lake Stevens, Lakewood, Lynnwood, Maple Valley, Marysville, Medina, Mercer Island, Milton, Monroe, Mountlake Terrace, New Castle, Normandy Park, North Bend, Olympia, Puyallup, Redmond, Renton, Sammamish, Sea Tac, Seattle, Shoreline, Snohomish, Sumner, Tacoma, Tukwila, University Place, and/or Woodinville, or any other city or town in Western Washington, call The Criminal Defense Team of SQ Attorneys at (206) 441-0900 for an initial free consultation.