Felony Defense Attorney in Kennewick, Washington
Felonies are incredibly serious crimes. According to the Caseload Forecast Council of Washington State, nearly 45% of individuals convicted of a felony in 2022 had to go to prison with an average sentence of 54.6 months. These kinds of penalties can be devastating and life-altering. Felony charges can cover a wide range of crimes, but no matter what kind of felony you’re facing, you should always work with a reputable criminal defense attorney.
If you’re in the Kennewick, Washington area and want to know more about what to expect when charged with a felony, reach out to an attorney at Nicholas George Law Firm PLLC to schedule a consultation. Attorney Nicholas George can represent clients throughout Kennewick and the rest of the state of Washington, including Walla Walla, Spokane, Benton County, and Franklin County.
Crimes Classified as Felonies in Washington
The main distinction between a felony and a misdemeanor charge is that crimes classified as felonies can be punished with prison time, while a misdemeanor may only result in a year or less of jail time. Because there are different felony classes, they can vary widely in what counts as a felony, from data theft to burglary to first degree murder. Also, all felony charges are heard at the Superior Court instead of a District or Municipal court which would handle most misdemeanors.
Classes of Felonies in Washington
Washington organizes felony charges into three classes (A, B, or C), with Class A felonies being the most serious. A Class A conviction may also result in the most severe penalty for felony offenses with the possibility of life in prison. Crimes that typically fall under Class A are first and second degree murder, assault with a deadly weapon, or rape.
Class B felonies have a maximum prison sentence of 10 years and include charges like auto theft, second degree manslaughter, burglary, or being in possession of a stolen gun.
Finally, Class C convictions can bring up to five years of prison time and include charges like theft of property valued between $750 and $1,500, third and fourth degree assault, and electronic data theft.
The Legal Process of a Felony Charge
When you’re charged with a felony crime in Washington, your first step should be to immediately reach out to an attorney who can advise you on your rights and ensure they’re being protected and defended throughout this entire process. It can take several weeks or months from the date of your arrest to your actual trial date, and you’ll need someone to answer your questions and represent your interests in court.
The general legal process may look different based on your charges, but typically, after you’re arrested, you’ll go before a judge to determine whether you’ll be held in custody until your trial or if you can be released on bail or your own recognizance (meaning you’re trusted to return for all trial dates). After this, you’ll have your first arraignment where you’ll be formally charged with a crime and your attorney can start organizing evidence and formulating your defense.
Next, you’ll have your preliminary hearing in front of a judge. Here the defense and the prosecution will be able to present evidence and witness testimony. The judge will then decide whether your case should move on to a jury trial, your charges should be reduced, or whether your case should be dismissed altogether. If you are required to move onto a jury trial, you’ll begin the pretrial motions where your attorney will attempt to have your case dismissed, your charges reduced, or strike a plea deal with the prosecution. If this is unsuccessful, you’ll then begin your jury trial.
The range of felony offenses is so broad that the penalties can differ greatly from one another. In general, a lesser felony conviction will bring with it fewer than five years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine, while the most serious convictions can bring life in prison and up to a $50,000 fine. Other factors that can influence this is whether or not you have any past convictions, how old you are (penalties are less severe for minors), whether there were other crimes committed concurrently, and whether the victim of the crime (if there was one) was part of a protected class of citizens such as the elderly, law enforcement, or those protected by hate crime laws.
Felony Defense Attorney in Kennewick, Washington
No one deserves to face the criminal justice system alone. If you’ve recently been arrested and charged with a felony offense in Washington, you need to take action immediately to start protecting your best interests. By calling Nicholas George Law Firm PLLC in Kennewick, Washington, you can get the professional legal advice and counsel you need during this difficult time. Reach out today to get started.