Frequently Asked Questions About Criminal Law in Washington

Criminal Defense – An Overview

Our criminal justice system can be overwhelming and frightening. The United States’ incarceration rate is much higher than that of other industrialized countries. Prison sentences are getting longer and more frequent. If you face the possibility of being accused of a crime, contact an experienced criminal-defense lawyer as early in the process as possible, preferably even before questioning or investigation. A skilled attorney can fight for your legal and constitutional rights. Remember that if you cannot afford to hire a lawyer, the government may have to provide one for you.
Criminal Liability

Historically in our criminal-justice system, two things must have been present for criminal liability to attach to an action. First, a person must have the intent to take the criminal action. Traditionally this culpable state of mind was called mens rea, Latin for guilty mind.

The second requirement for criminal liability is actus reus, Latin for guilty act. The prohibited physical event must take place in combination with the requisite criminal intention for the actual commission of a crime to take place.

In other words, it is not a crime to only think about committing a crime nor is it generally a crime to cause a criminal deed without the intention to do so.

Due Process

As the concept of criminal liability suggests, our criminal-justice system is complex, both conceptually and procedurally. To ensure the fairness of the proceedings, each court system has its own rules of criminal procedure that govern the actions of all players – police, defense lawyers, prosecutors, judges and juries.

The US Constitution requires that criminal defendants be accorded due process of law in all proceedings against them. Broadly this means that throughout the criminal process the rules of criminal procedure must be observed with all constitutional protections in place. Due process requires such things as reasonable notice of proceedings and fair hearings when facing substantial negative consequences, such as incarceration.

Plea Bargaining

Sometimes a criminal defendant and the prosecution can negotiate an agreement that resolves the criminal matter. Usually, the prosecutor agrees to reduce a charge, drop some of multiple charges or recommend a more lenient sentence in exchange for the defendant’s guilty plea, often to a lesser offense or to fewer than all offenses charged. A seasoned criminal-defense attorney can be a real advantage to a criminal defendant throughout the plea-bargaining process.


Many negative outcomes flow from a criminal conviction. First, the court will impose a sentence, which commonly may include incarceration, fines, court costs, restitution, probation or, in some jurisdictions, death. Second, a criminal conviction may result in more indirect effects like stigma or estrangement from family, friends or professional colleagues. A person with a criminal record may have trouble with employment, insurance, credit or housing. He or she may lose or become ineligible for professional licenses, welfare benefits or firearms. Because of the potentially devastating consequences of a conviction, it is in the best interest of a defendant to have a strong, experienced attorney at his or her side to fight to preserve legal and constitutional rights every step of the way.

If you face criminal charges, you cannot afford an inexperienced lawyer. At the Law Offices of Feldman & Lee, we have over 40 years of collective experience in criminal court. We work hard to preserve our clients’ rights in a wide variety of criminal cases ranging from DUI to felony assault. Our tact in court, knowledge and attention to detail all serve to put you and your case in the best possible position going forward. Contact Feldman & Lee for a free initial consultation. Let us make the system work for you.

We serve the following States, Cities, Zip Codes and Counties:

Alderwood WA, Algona WA, Arlington WA, Auburn WA, Bothell WA, Burien WA, Cathcart WA, Cottage Lake WA, Creek WA, Des Moines WA, Duval WA, Echo Lake WA, Edgewood WA, Edmonds WA, Emerson WA, Everett WA, Federal Way WA, Fircrest WA, Granite Falls WA, Jowita WA, Lake Bosworth WA, Lake Goodwin WA, Lake Stevens WA, Lakewood WA, Lea Hill WA, Lynnwood WA, Maltby WA, Marysville WA, Midway WA, Mill Creek WA, Milton WA, Monroe WA, Mountlake Terrace WA, Mukilteo WA, Normandy Park WA, North Creek WA, Pacific WA, Parkland WA, Sea Tac WA, Shoreline WA, Silvania WA, Smokey Point WA, Snohomish County WA, Stanwood WA, Sumner WA, Tacoma WA, Three Lakes WA, Tukwila WA, Woods WA, Woodway WA

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