Post Bail or Stay in Jail!

Once you have been arrested and put in jail, there is probably just one thing going through your mind, which is to get out as soon as possible. Getting out of jail is accomplished by posting “bail” or being released on your own personal recognizance. Bail is generally cash or a piece of property that has a cash value that you give to the bonding company in return for your promise to show up to court when you are ordered to do so. If you show up to court when you are supposed to after being let out of jail, the court will return your bail. However, if you do not show up, the court will keep your bail and most likely issue an arrest warrant for you, meaning you’ll probably end up back in jail.
When you “post bail,” you are paying the amount that your bail was set at. This can generally be done in a few ways, which includes paying by cash or check the amount your bail is set at; signing over ownership rights to property that has a cash value that is equal to or exceeds the amount of your bail; giving a bond in the full amount of your bail; or signing a statement that says you will appear in court at the required time, generally called “being released on your own recognizance.”
Generally, if you can be released on your own recognizance, you should try to take that option. However, many people are forced to purchase a bail bond in order to get released from jail. A bond is much like a check that you give to a friend, asking him or her not to cash it until you say it’s okay to do so. Generally, the purchase price of the bond is about 10% of the value. Therefore, if your bail is set at $5000, you can expect to pay about 10% of the amount ($500) in order to purchase a bail bond.
If you have the chance to avoid getting a bail bond in order to get out of jail, it is often good advice to take that second option. If you appear at court and proceed with all requirements thereof, you will generally get the full amount of your bail returned back to you (minus some small, administrative fees from the court). However, if you buy a bail bond, you are already out 10% of your bail amount (this is generally not refundable), and you will also probably have to give the bail bondsman some collateral in order to get the bond (such as an interest in your car or home). If you fail to appear in court at a required time, the bondsman can cash in on the collateral you gave, meaning that he or she could sell your property and take the money from the sale.
The other option is to get released on your own personal recognizance. In general, in order to be released on you must simply sign a paper promising to show up at court when required. In order to get released on your own personal recognizance you will probably have to request this at your first court appearance in front of a judge. If you are denied this request, you can always ask about getting a lower bail amount.
If you or a loved one is in a bind as a result of a criminal charge, immediately contact a Seattle Criminal Attorney. A Criminal lawyer is not going to judge you, and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Seattle Criminal Lawyer to help can – at a minimum – reduce penalties, and can help direct people on how to best deal with their criminal charge, and many times even get them dismissed. So it should go without saying that someone cited for a misdemeanor or felony should hire a qualified Seattle Criminal Lawyer as soon as possible. Criminal charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with a crime in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle Criminal Lawyer.

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The Death Penalty in th United States

The United States Supreme Court has given each state the authority to determine whether the death penalty is appropriate or not. In June 2003 Governor George Ryan of Illinois stirred controversy when he commuted the death sentences of 167 inmates to life imprisonment. At the time, the death penalty existed in Illinois. Ryan said he had concluded the state’s capital punishment system was “haunted by the demon of error.” His action came three years after he ordered a moratorium on executions after evidence proved that 13 inmates on death row had been wrongly convicted. Ryan, a Republican, had sought office with a platform that supported capital punishment.
In a 1989 case, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the execution of mentally handicapped inmates. In the years following, however, many states enacted legislation to prohibit such executions. In 2002, in Atkins v. Virginia, the Supreme Court voted 6-3 that the execution of mentally handicapped persons is prohibited under the Eighth Amendment as cruel and unusual punishment.
Despite his role in a landmark court decision, Daryl Atkins currently resides on Virginia’s death row. When the Supreme Court reversed the lower court ruling, it also remanded Atkins’ case so that he could be resentenced. After the decision in Atkins, the Virginia legislature passed legislation to define mental retardation. A jury then heard evidence only on the issue of his mental ability. After deliberating 13 hours, and weighing conflicting testimony, the jury concluded that Atkins was not mentally retarded and could, therefore, be sentenced to death. Attorneys for Atkins filed an appeal in October 2005.
In 2005, in another historic decision, the U.S. Supreme Court barred the execution of persons who are under the age of 18 when they commit capital crimes. The ruling in Roper v. Simmons followed the same reasoning used by the Court in Atkins In a 5-4 decision, the majority found that “evolving standards of decency” and the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment required the banning of juvenile executions. In its reasoning, the court gave credence to the fact that few nations in the world allow the execution of juveniles.
If you or a loved one is in a bind as a result of a criminal charge, immediately contact a Seattle Criminal Attorney. A Criminal lawyer is not going to judge you, and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Seattle Criminal Lawyer to help can – at a minimum – reduce penalties, and can help direct people on how to best deal with their criminal charge, and many times even get them dismissed. So it should go without saying that someone cited for a misdemeanor or felony should hire a qualified Seattle Criminal Lawyer as soon as possible. Criminal charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with a crime in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle Criminal Lawyer.

No Plea Deal … What’s Next?

Throughout these blogs we have discussed many imperative issues regarding the criminal process. We have explained each process of the criminal justice system; discussed a defendant’s right to a trial, and what transpires during the course of a trial. We have focused on plea deals that are negotiated and what happens at sentencing. The question that arises is, what happens if a plea deal cannot be negotiated, and what transpires prior to a case proceeding to trial?
After the preliminary hearing and before a criminal case goes to trial, the prosecutor and the defense team usually appear before a criminal court judge and make pre-trial motions — arguments that certain evidence should be kept out of the trial, that certain persons must or cannot testify, or that the case should be dismissed altogether.
Pre-trial motions are tools used by the government and the defense in an effort to set the boundaries for trial, should one take place: What physical evidence and testimony can be used? What legal arguments can and cannot be made? Is there any reason that the defendant should not be forced to stand trial?
While specific possibilities are endless, following are some examples of pre-trial motions that might be made in a criminal case: 1) in a drug possession case, the defense can ask the judge to exclude drug paraphernalia that the defense can argue was obtained through an illegal search of the defendant; 2) the defense can argue that a defendant’s confession should be excluded because it was in response to a police officer’s questions prior to his or her Miranda warnings being read; 3) the prosecutor or defense can argue that a witness not be allowed to testify due to competency concerns; and finally, 4) the defense asks the judge to dismiss the case against the defendant altogether, arguing that the police did not have “probable cause” to arrest the defendant in the first place, or that insufficient evidence exists for any reasonable jury to find the defendant guilty.
If you or a loved one is in a bind as a result of a criminal charge, immediately contact a Seattle Criminal Attorney. A Criminal lawyer is not going to judge you, and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Seattle Criminal Lawyer to help can – at a minimum – reduce penalties, and can help direct people on how to best deal with their criminal charge, and many times even get them dismissed. So it should go without saying that someone cited for a misdemeanor or felony should hire a qualified Seattle Criminal Lawyer as soon as possible. Criminal charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with a crime in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle Criminal Lawyer.

Scientific Evidence Explained

Evidence exists in many different forms. Many of which are introduced in trial and some that are not. Scientific and forensic types of evidence can be extremely helpful in proving a case, but there are rules and standards that these types of evidence must meet before they can be submitted during a trial. Scientific evidence are generally more common in serious felony cases, as opposed to misdemeanor charges.
Scientific evidence is based off of knowledge that has been developed by using the scientific method. This means that the basis for the evidence has been hypothesized and tested and is generally accepted within the scientific community. This could mean that the theory on which the scientific evidence is based has been published in scientific journals and has been subjected to peer review within the scientific community.

There are many types of forensic evidence that are often considered scientific evidence, like DNA matching, fingerprint identification, and hair/fiber evidence. The methods used to develop these types of evidence are generally beyond the scope of knowledge that judges and juries possess and are therefore normally introduced as scientific evidence.
However, this is not to say that scientific evidence cannot be excluded from a courtroom or trial. There are often many steps that must be taken before a piece of scientific evidence can be put forth in a courtroom as factual evidence. In general, a scientific theory must have established itself in the scientific community and become generally accepted as the truth before it will be asserted as evidence at trial.
Fingerprint matching is generally admissible as forensic evidence in trial because it has been proven to be reliable to many years. In addition, things like radar and laser speed guns are generally accepted as being a valid method to tell the speed of a car at a given time and can be admitted as evidence. But keep in mind that there will often be new types of scientific evidence that parties will attempt to submit at trial – science that may not have a solid foundation within the scientific community.
If one side of a trial wishes to submit scientific evidence that is not yet generally accepted within the scientific community, it often happens that the court orders a mini-trial to be held in order to determine the validity of the scientific theory on which the evidence is based. As an example, DNA evidence had to go through many mini-trials before it became generally accepted as valid evidence at trial.
If you or a loved one is in a bind as a result of a criminal charge, immediately contact a Seattle Criminal Attorney. A Criminal lawyer is not going to judge you, and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Seattle Criminal Lawyer to help can – at a minimum – reduce penalties, and can help direct people on how to best deal with their criminal charge, and many times even get them dismissed. So it should go without saying that someone cited for a misdemeanor or felony should hire a qualified Seattle Criminal Lawyer as soon as possible. Criminal charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with a crime in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle Criminal Lawyer.

Can Police Question Minors?

The right to remain silent is the most basic fundamental constitutional right a defendant has when being investigated for a crime. It is the first thing law enforcement will tell a defendant when taking them into custody, and it makes up one of the several rights – commonly known as “Miranda rights” – that people have when in police custody.
Police must notify a person of their Miranda rights before taking them into custody or interrogating them. If they do not, they risk having a judge throw out any statements or admissions that the person in custody might make.
To decide whether or not police have placed a person in custody, courts will examine the facts of a particular case in order to determine whether or not a reasonable person would have felt like they could leave the situation or interrogation. If a reasonable person would have felt free to leave in that situation, then the police have not taken the subject into custody.
The same rules apply when the situation involves the questioning of minors. The Supreme Court recently expanded on those rules, however, when it decided that the police must take a person’s age into account when determining whether the circumstances of a case merit a Miranda notification.
The Supreme Court held that the trial judge improperly denied a boy’s request to throw out the statements he made to police because he did not receive the proper Miranda notification. The Court recognized the fact that, because of their relative immaturity and lack of experience, children “cannot be viewed simply as miniature adults”.
Since minors’ comprehension of their situation differs from that of adults, the Court reasoned, their understanding of when a questioning constitutes custody will also differ. Minors may experience more acquiescence to authority, and so may require Miranda notifications in situations that would not trigger the Miranda requirement for adults.
The decision does not require a Miranda notification for every police questioning of a minor, but it does indicate that courts will scrutinize police interviews of juveniles more carefully in the future.
If you or a loved one is in a bind as a result of a criminal charge, immediately contact a Seattle Criminal Attorney. A Criminal lawyer is not going to judge you, and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Seattle Criminal Lawyer to help can – at a minimum – reduce penalties, and can help direct people on how to best deal with their criminal charge, and many times even get them dismissed. So it should go without saying that someone cited for a misdemeanor or felony should hire a qualified Seattle Criminal Lawyer as soon as possible. Criminal charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with a crime in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle Criminal Lawyer.