To Speak or not to Speak… that is the question??

What are the infamous “MIRANDA WARNINGS” that we all hear about on the TV and in the Movies? Miranda Warnings are the “heads up” that law enforcement is required to give so as to put a person suspected of committing crime on notice that his statements might incriminate him. Prior to any criminal interrogation, a person in police custody must be clearly informed that he has the right to remain silent, and that anything he may say will be used against him in a court of law. The suspect must be clearly informed that he has the right to consult with an attorney, and to have an attorney present during questioning, and further that if he is indigent, an attorney will be provided to him at no cost. These protections are created by virtue of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of our Country and State Constitutions, respectively.

Two factors trigger when law enforcement must issue Miranda Warnings to a person suspected of committing a crime. First, the person must be in the custody of law enforcement and not free to leave; non-law enforcement agents, such retail loss prevention officers, are generally not required to give Miranda Warnings. Second, law enforcement must be questioning or interrogating the suspect regarding involvement in a crime; generally questions about personal information, such as name and date of birth, do not trigger the Miranda Warning requirement.

In any Washington State criminal case, a qualified Washington State criminal attorney will review the case to ascertain: (1) if any statements were made by his client, (2) if statements were made by his client, were they made at a time in which his client was in custody and while being interrogated, and (3) if the answer is yes to (1) and (2), were Miranda Warnings properly given and did his client knowingly and willingly waive them. Generally, law enforcement will attempt to have a suspect sign a Constitutional Rights Form that states: “I understand my Constitutional Rights. I have decided not to exercise these rights at this time. Any statements made by me are made freely, voluntarily, and without threats or promises of any kind”. Invariably it is always a wise decision to exercise one’s Constitutional Rights and to not sign the form.

If you or a loved one is charged with a crime in Washington State it is imperative that you seek the assistance of a qualified and reputable Washington criminal defense attorney. The Seattle criminal attorneys that make up the criminal defense team of SQ Attorneys are highly qualified and reputable Washington criminal defense lawyers that are dedicated to providing top notch, aggressive representation for those arrested for crime 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 criminal allegations are considered in creating the fairest, most equitable and just resolution possible in light of all the surrounding circumstances of the given case.

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Dishonesty Crimes…Don’t do it!

Being charged with a property crime in Washington (such as Theft or Possession of Stolen Property) is embarrassing and has the possibility of significantly impacting a person’s personal and professional life. This is so because these types of crimes are considered “crimes of dishonesty”. At SQ Attorneys we have overcome seemingly insurmountable odds through continuous, intensive and sustained plea bargaining efforts; we create success by applying the factual circumstances of our cases to the applicable law, and presenting mitigating factors throughout the entire negotiating process. These efforts have routinely resulted in reduced charges, reduced sentences and even dismissals.

SQ Attorneys creatively works with prosecutors, courts and local agencies to keep our clients’ criminal records clean; especially in first time offender situations and those situations where the individual does not have a long criminal history. Some examples of this creative effort includes establishing counseling initiatives, full payment of restitution, and/or the immediate return of stolen items to the aggrieved party. Undergoing counseling places the client in the best light in the eye’s of the prosecution and of the court. Similarly, immediate payment of restitution and/or the immediate returning of property can often reduce charges and may even result in the dismissal of charges in less serious cases.

If you have been arrested for Theft in Washington, or if you have been charged for being in possession of stolen property in Washington, it is essential that you speak with a qualified Seattle criminal defense lawyer who has knowledge of the Washington State court system and the Washington State police procedures. The Seattle criminal attorneys that make up the criminal defense team of SQ Attorneys are highly qualified Seattle criminal defense lawyers that are dedicated to providing top notch, aggressive representation for those charged with property crimes in Western Washington. 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 allegation are considered in creating the fairest, most equitable and just resolution possible.

Field Sobriety Tests 101

The defense of a driving under the influence charge is a highly technical and an extremely difficult undertaking. There are many advantages that a Seattle DUI attorney can bring to a case.

Most DUI cases begin with an officer requesting that the defendant take a set of voluntary field sobriety tests (FST). The FST’s are given by police officers to determine if an individual has been operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol, drugs, or both. Field sobriety tests frequently consist of the ‘gaze nystagmus test,’ the ‘one-leg stand,’ test, the ‘walk and turn’ test, and may include other tests. If you are stopped by the police for a suspected DUI, you need to know that you are not required to take these or any field sobriety tests. What is more important to know, a Seattle DUI lawyer will be able to explain how these FST’s lack scientific merit and are invalid, and will always recommend that you refuse to take these voluntary tests.

Unlike a chemical test such as a blood alcohol test, where the refusal to take such a test can have far-reaching and negative consequences, an individual is not legally required to take any field sobriety tests. Reality is that police officers have typically made up their minds to arrest the individual when they administer one of more of the field sobriety tests. In a word, field sobriety tests provide additional evidence that the driver inevitably ‘fails.’ As a result, in most cases the Washington DUI attorney, will advise his clients to politely refuse to take any field sobriety tests.