What Is a Property Crime?

One of the more common crimes that are filed in criminal courts across the United States are property crimes. Property crimes include many common crimes relating to theft or destruction of property. They can range from lower level misdemeanor offenses such as shoplifting or malicious mischief to high-level felonies including armed robbery, arson or burglary. Some such crimes do not require the offender to make off with stolen goods or even to harm a victim. For example, the crime of burglary only requires unlawful entry with the intent to commit a crime. Others require the actual taking of money or property. Robbery requires a victim to be present at the time of the crime. Most property crimes include a spectrum of degrees depending on factors including the amount stolen and use of force or arms in theft related cases, and bodily injury in property destruction crimes such as arson.
There are several defenses to property crimes. The most commonly used is lack of intent to commit a crime. Typically, a person intends to steal something, but it also is burglary to enter a building with the intent to commit another crime, such as assaulting and causing injury to someone inside. Property crimes do not typically require the intended crime to be successfully completed. The prosecutor must prove that the defendant entered the structure for the purpose of committing theft or another felony.
A conviction for a property crime comes with several possible penalties, though the possible sentences for such convictions differ widely among states and the type of charge it is. Depending on the jurisdiction as well as the circumstances, property crimes may either be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony and a judge would sentence the defendant accordingly based upon the agreed upon sentencing recommendations between the defense and the prosecutor. Judges will also consider the statutory ranges in addition to any aggravating and mitigating factors that might be present in the case. Typically, a property crime conviction carries a wide range of incarceration options including years in prison, a large fine, court-mandated restitution to the victim and a lengthy probation period.

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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Drugs!!!

One of the most common offenses found in Courts across the United States, are drug offenses. Both the Federal and State drug possession laws make it a crime to willfully possess illegal controlled substances such as marijuana (with exception to certain states), methamphetamine, cocaine, LSD, heroin and other controlled substances. These laws also criminalize the possession of chemicals used in drug cultivation and manufacturing, as well as certain accessories related to drug use. Drug possession laws vary according to drug type, amount, and geographic area of the offense. Possession of small quantities may be deemed “simple” possession and may be charged as a misdemeanor depending on the drug, while possession of large amounts may result in a charge of possession with intent to distribute.
Possession of certain illicit drugs violates federal and state laws. While drug possession laws vary widely from state to state, the elements of the offense are generally the same. Prosecutors must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant knew the drug in question was a controlled substance, and that he or she knowingly had possession of the drug. Such charges may be filed against one or more individuals who were mere accomplices or just simply around the controlled substances in question.
Drug possession laws generally fall into one of two main categories: simple possession for personal use and possession with intent to distribute. The latter category typically carries much stiffer penalties upon a conviction, and are usually serious felony charges. A simple possession charge is not as serious, and one first time offenses, are often times amended down to a misdemeanor. To prove possession with intent to sell, prosecutors may present evidence such as digital scales, baggies, large quantities of the drug, large amounts of cash in small bills or testimony from witnesses.
Drug possession laws also prohibit paraphernalia such as syringes, crack pipes or bongs. The Federal Drug Paraphernalia Statute defines what constitutes drug paraphernalia but usually hinges on a determination of primary use. For example, a newly purchased water pipe may not be considered a marijuana bong unless it has drug residue or is sold explicitly as a marijuana bong. Laws also exist to restrict the possession of certain chemicals or materials commonly used in the cultivation or manufacturing of drugs, such as the laboratory equipment used to make methamphetamine.
While some states have legalized possession of marijuana for medical use, and both Colorado and Washington have legalized its recreational use, it is still considered illegal in all cases under federal law.
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.

The Appeals Process Explained

The right to a trial by jury is the most fundamental constitutional right a criminal defendant is granted. Upon a conviction after a jury trial, a defendant has the right to appeal a finding of guilt. In order for an appellate court to hear an appeal from a lower court the aggrieved party must demonstrate to the appellate court that an error was made at the trial level. The error must have been substantial. “Harmless errors,” or those unlikely to make a substantial impact on the result at trial, are not grounds for reversing the judgment of a lower court. Any error, defect, irregularity, or variance, which does not affect substantial rights is disregarded.
Assuming that there was no harmless error, there are two basic grounds for appeal: 1) the lower court made a serious error of law (plain error) and 2) the weight of the evidence does not support the verdict.
Plain error is an error or defect that affects the defendant’s substantial rights, even though the parties did not bring this error or defect to the judge’s attention during trial. Of course, some plain errors or defects affecting substantial rights may be noticed although they were not brought to the attention of the court. In any event, plain error will form a basis for an appeal of a criminal conviction.
It is much more difficult to prevail in an appeal based on the alleged insufficient weight of evidence. Although appellate courts review the transcripts of trials, they almost never hear actual testimony of witnesses, view the presentation of evidence, or hear the parties’ opening and closing arguments. Consequently, they are not in the best position to assess the weight of evidence in many cases. For this reason they place much confidence in trial courts’ decisions on issues of facts. In an appeal based on an alleged insufficient weight of evidence to support a verdict, the error or misjudgment of evidence must truly be egregious for a defendant to expect to prevail on appeal.
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.

I have a conviction … Can I get it off my record?

So you have been convicted of a criminal charge and this conviction is impacting your livelihood? You wish this conviction can be taken off your record? Do you have any recourse? The answer is ‘yes,’ you may be allowed to expunge the criminal charge. Expungement is a court-ordered processing which the legal record of an arrest or a criminal conviction is sealed, or erased in the eyes of the law. When a conviction is expunged, the process may also be referred to as setting aside a criminal conviction. The availability of expungement, and the procedure for getting an arrest or conviction expunged, will vary according to the state or county in which the arrest or conviction occurred.
An expungement ordinarily means that an arrest or conviction is sealed, or erased from a person’s criminal record for most purposes. After the expungement process is complete, an arrest or a criminal conviction ordinarily does not need to be disclosed by the person who was arrested or convicted. For example, when filling out an application for a job or apartment, an applicant whose arrest or conviction has been expunged does not need to disclose that arrest or conviction.
In most cases, no record of an expunged arrest or conviction will appear if a potential employer, educational institution, or other company conducts a public records inspection or background search of an individual’s criminal record.
An expunged arrest or conviction is not necessarily completely erased, in the literal sense of the word. An expungement will ordinarily be an accessible part of a person’s criminal record, viewable by certain government agencies, including law enforcement and the criminal courts. This limited accessibility is sometimes referred to as a criminal record being “under seal.” In some legal proceedings, such as during sentencing for any crimes committed after an expungement, or in immigration / deportation proceedings, an expunged conviction that is “under seal” may still be considered as proof of a prior conviction.
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.