Citizens Arrest 101

In certain situations, private individuals have the power to make an arrest without a warrant. These types of arrests are known as citizens arrests, and they occur when ordinary people either detain criminals themselves or direct police officers to detain a criminal.
Citizens arrests are subject to fewer constitutional requirements than an arrest by law enforcement officers, but citizens arrests still have rules that govern them. Failure to abide by these rules can result in civil and criminal liability for the arresting individual.
A person can arrest someone that they reasonably suspect of committing a felony, even if the felony did not occur in the presence of the individual making the arrest. As long as a felony was actually committed and the individual making the arrest knew of the crime, a reasonable suspicion about the identity of the perpetrator will justify their arrest.
The felony must have actually occurred before an individual can make a citizens arrest. Even if a person reasonably believes that a felony has occurred, if the crime did not in fact happen, the person making the arrest could become civilly and criminally liable.
Moreover, in general, people can not use citizens arrests for misdemeanors unless the misdemeanor involves a breach of the peace. Even in these circumstances, however, individuals can only make arrests when they have personally witnessed the criminal behavior and the breach has just occurred or there is a strong likelihood that the breach will continue.
Citizens arrest do not carry the same constitutional requirements that attach to an arrest by law enforcement officers. If a person acts on the request of law enforcement, any arrest they carry out must meet the same constitutional standards as an arrest by the law enforcement officers themselves.If a citizen acts on their own initiative in making the arrest, however, those same constitutional restrictions do not apply.
Every individual is empowered to arrest wrongdoers in certain circumstances, but individuals looking to make a citizens arrest act at their own risk. Not only is the act of apprehending a criminal inherently dangerous, but failure to meet the legal requirements for a citizens arrest could have devastating consequences for the person making the arrest.

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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Juvenile Law Explained

The juvenile court system vastly differs from the criminal adult system. After committing a criminal offense, juveniles are detained rather than arrested. Next, a petition is drawn up which outlines the jurisdiction authority of the juvenile court over the offense and detained individuals, gives notice for the reason for the court appearance, serves as notice to the minor’s family, and also is the official charging document.
Once in court, the juvenile case is adjudicated, and a disposition is handed down. Records from juvenile courts are sealed documents, unlike adult records which are accessible by anyone under the Freedom of Information Act. Many times a juvenile is offered a diversion which is a measure designed to protect the juvenile so that one mistake does not follow the juvenile for life. Juvenile records may also be expunged upon the juvenile’s eighteenth birthday provided the juvenile has met certain conditions, such as good behavior. Juvenile court procedure is also far less formal than adult court procedure.
The disposition of a juvenile case is based on the least detrimental alternative, in order to give the juvenile a second chance. However, one major controversy in juvenile dispositions is the use of indeterminate sentencing, which allows a judge to set a maximum sentence. In such cases, juveniles are monitored during their sentences and are released only when the judge is satisfied that they have been rehabilitated or when the maximum time has been served. Critics argue that this arrangement allows the judge too much discretion and is, therefore, not the least detrimental punishment
Juvenile courts are typically organized in one of three ways:1) as part of a lower court within a city or district court; 2) a completely separate entity which is typically the case in Washington State and/or 3) as part of a higher court such as a circuit or superior court.

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.

My Kid Is Cited For MIP!?!?

Most states have minor in possession (hereinafter “MIP”) laws concerning alcohol and drugs found in the possession of minors, regardless of whether they were using the substances.
Some states strictly enforce MIP laws and prosecute minors to the fullest extent of the law. In other states, however, a MIP case may be able to receive probation by entering a court-ordered diversionary program which typically includes an alcohol and drug evaluation and follow up treatment, along with other mandatory conditions the diversion program may require.
One may ask, what exactly is an MIP charge. State and city governments established MIP laws to educate minors about the dangers of consuming alcohol and drugs. In addition, these laws were created to get help for minors in need of chemical dependency treatment through an evaluation and follow up treatment. Finally, many of these diversion agreements involve community service, which allows the minor to give back to the community and get involved with his or her community in a positive manner.
In California and Washington, first time offenders convicted of MIP violations may have their driver’s license suspended. Other states’ MIP laws have punishments that are moderate for the first offense, but increase in severity for subsequent convictions.
In order to be convicted of an MIP offense, you do not have to be driving a motor vehicle. If you are holding an unopened beer, and you are under the state’s drinking age, you can still be convicted of a MIP offense. Additionally, even if you appear to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, an officer can cite the minor with MIP, and forward the case to the Prosecutors office for filing of criminal charges.
You also don’t have to be legally drunk under your state’s DUI laws to be found guilty of MIP. The fact that you are younger than the legal drinking age at the time of the incident, and you had alcohol in your possession or consumed alcohol, it may be sufficient to prove that you violated your respective state’s MIP laws.
Are there any defenses to an MIP charge? Defenses against MIP charges can be raised, but the validity of the defenses depends largely upon state and local laws. Some defenses to an MIP include: 1) there was no alcohol in the container possessed by the minor but the burden falls on the defendant to show that the container lacked alcohol; 2) the minor legally consumed alcohol for medical purposes such as prescribed medication that may have contained alcohol and/or 3) the minor drank alcohol as part of a religious service in which case the minor may have a defense to the MIP charge.
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 I Drink In Public???

Las Vegas, Bourbon Street in New Orleans and Times Square in New York City on New Years, are all places where a person can walk around with an open container of alcohol. The question many people ask is: can you carry an alcoholic drink in a plastic beer mug while walking down your city’s main street? The answer depends on the open container laws in your state and local community.
Open containers laws serve a number of goals. Most notably, open container laws seek to maintain the quality of life for community residents and business by preventing people from being drunk in public in hopes to avoid rowdy behavior. It also seeks to prevent motor vehicle accidents by outlawing the consumption of alcohol by drivers and passengers.
Not every state or municipality, however, prohibits drinking and carrying alcohol in public places, such as sidewalks and city parks. For example, a few notable tourist destinations, like Las Vegas and New Orleans, do not have open container laws.
So what are open container laws? An open container law prohibits people from consuming alcohol in public. The exact definition of a “public place” depends on your state or city’s laws, and how courts have interpreted those laws. Each state has a different interpretation of what constitutes as a public place. Therefore, depending on the particular laws and court rulings of the respective state, violations of open container laws could occur when a person consumes or possesses an open container of alcohol while on a public sidewalk, inside a parked vehicle, on school property, outside on the front steps of an apartment building and/or in a residential neighborhood or park (to name a few public places).
In 1998, Congress passed the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century to give states a financial incentive for restricting drinking in motor vehicles. State that fail to enact open container laws lose a portion of federal highway construction funds.
Many wonder if there are any open container law exceptions. Currently, there are only seven states that lack open container laws that prohibit consuming alcohol in public.The city of New Orleans lacks strict open container laws, but it does require people who drink alcohol on sidewalks and streets to do so only from plastic cups. This Mardi Gras destination also prohibits drinking alcohol in a parking lot. Similarly, the city of Las Vegas permits public consumption of alcohol from a glass container on all but a few holidays, like New Years Eve and July 4th.
The main reason that some locales do not have open containers laws is to promote tourism by encouraging tourists to support local businesses by drinking at bars, restaurants, hotels, and in specific districts, such as New Orleans’ French Quarter and the Las Vegas Strip.

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.

Three Strikes and You’re Out

Under the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, the “Three Strikes” statute (18 U.S.C. § 3559(c)) provides for mandatory life imprisonment if a convicted felon has been convicted in court of a “serious violent felony” and has two or more previous convictions in federal or state courts, at least one of which is a “serious violent felony.” The other offense may be a serious drug offense.
The statute goes on to define a serious violent felony as including murder, manslaughter, sex offenses, kidnapping, robbery, and any offense punishable by 10 years or more which includes an element of the use of force or involves a significant risk of force.
The State of Washington was the first to enact a “Three Strikes” law in 1993. Since then, more than half of the states, in addition to the federal government, have enacted three strikes laws. The primary focus of these laws is the containment of recidivism (repeat offenses by a small number of criminals). California’s law is considered the most far-reaching and most often used among the states.
Three strikes laws have been the subject of extensive debate over whether they are effective. Defendants sentenced to long prison terms under these laws have also sought to challenge these laws as unconstitutional. For instance, one defendant was found guilty of stealing $150 worth of video tapes from two California department stores. The defendant had prior convictions, and pursuant to California’s three-strikes laws, the judge sentenced the defendant to 50 years in prison for the theft of the video tapes. The defendant challenged his conviction before the U.S. Supreme Court in Lockyer v. Andrade (2003), but the Court upheld the constitutionality of the 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. 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.