Effective Assistance of Counsel

A criminal defendant’s right to an attorney is found in the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which requires the “assistance of counsel” for the accused in all criminal prosecutions. This means that a defendant has a constitutional right to be represented by an attorney during every aspect of a criminal proceeding from the arraignment and through an appeals process. It also means that if the defendant cannot afford an attorney, in almost all instances the government will appoint one to handle the case, at no cost to the defendant.

The defense attorney’s role is of paramount importance in almost every criminal case. While specific duties of an attorney vary depending on the nature of the charges and the case, key responsibilities of any criminal defense lawyer include advising the defendant of his or her rights and explaining what to expect at different stages of the criminal process; ensuring that the defendant’s constitutional rights are not violated through law enforcement conduct, or in court proceedings and negotiating a plea bargain with the government, on the defendant’s behalf. Lastly, a defense attorney is responsible for investigating facts and the evidence presented as well as cross-examining witnesses, objecting to evidence and questions presented by the prosecution and presenting any legal defenses that may be apparent.

Courts have interpreted the Sixth Amendment right to counsel as guaranteeing the “effective assistance of counsel” to criminal defendants. It doesn’t matter whether the attorney is hired by the defendant or appointed by the government. However, questionable strategic choices made by an attorney and even serious lawyer errors, in some instances do not usually cause a conviction to be thrown out, unless it is clear that the attorney’s incompetence affected the outcome of the case.

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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Oldest Profession in the world: Prostitution

SQ Attorneys represents people charged with all sorts of criminal charges. From DUI’s, to assault charges, to sex crimes like prostitution. Sometimes called “the oldest profession” in the world, prostitution can take many forms, from streetwalkers and brothels, to sophisticated call-girl or escort services. Prostitution laws make it a crime to offer, agree to, or engage in a sexual act for money.

Prostitution is illegal in all states except certain counties in the State of Nevada, where it is strictly regulated. Some state statutes punish the act of prostitution, and other state statutes criminalize the acts of soliciting prostitution, arranging for prostitution, and operating a house of prostitution. As for federal statutes, the Mann Act makes it a crime to transport a person in interstate or foreign commerce for the purpose of prostitution or for any other immoral purpose.

In most states offering sexual services or agreeing to provide those services in exchange for money is considered prostitution whether or not the services are provided. In most jurisdictions, the person offering sexual services is not the only one who can be charged with a crime.

The person who pays for the sexual services, sometimes called “Johns,” can face charges of solicitation of prostitution. Solicitation of prostitution is a crime involving a person’s agreement to exchange money for sex. The agreement does not have to be explicit. A person’s actions can be enough to demonstrate agreement. The solicitation charge can be enhanced by solicitation of prostitution to a minor, which will often result in the misdemeanor charge becoming a felony. A non-felony solicitation of a prostitute conviction carries a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine, along with certain mandatory conditions such as submission of a DNA sample and HIV testing. Moreover, in Washington state a convicted “John” is ordered to pay a mandatory assessment of $1,500 and attend John school.

The crime of solicitation of prostitution occurs at the moment you agree to pay for sex, and take some action to further that agreement. Solicitation is simply encouraging someone to commit a crime. It does not matter if the crime ends up being committed or not. An action to further an agreement can be most any act demonstrating a willingness to go through with the agreement, like withdrawing money from an ATM.

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.

Do I Qualify for a Court-Appointed Lawyer?

If you have been charged with a criminal offense and you lack the financial means to hire legal representation, you may be entitled to a court-appointed attorney or otherwise known as a public defender. The right to an attorney in criminal proceedings is enshrined within the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. However, it was not until the 1963 Supreme Court case of Gideon v. Wainwright that the law established the right to free legal representation for criminal defendants who are unable to afford a lawyer and face the possibility of incarceration and other consequences after a criminal conviction.

Defendants who meet the criteria are assigned either full-time public defenders or lawyers appointed by the court and paid by the hour. In either case, these attorneys typically handle an enormous caseload and have limited resources for each client.

There are several criteria’s for a defendant to qualify for a Court-Appointed Attorney. The justices in Gideon unanimously held that “in our adversary system of criminal justice, any person haled into court, who is too poor to hire a lawyer, cannot be assured a fair trial unless counsel is provided for him.” However, the Court later clarified this ruling, making it apply to cases where the defendant is charged with either a felony or a misdemeanor which could result in imprisonment from a conviction. This rule also applies to juvenile delinquency proceedings.

There are some limited exceptions to the rule, which includes:  defendants who are mentally ill or developmentally disabled; children; and in some cases involving child custody or child protection.

To determine whether you qualify based on income level, you may have to gather financial documents and prove to the judge that you lack the funds for a private lawyer. However, some courts may take you at your word (for example, homeless individuals lacking such documentation). Counties may determine eligibility for a public defender in a number of different ways, but your ability to afford a lawyer typically is based on your income and expenses. Some judges may ask you to get estimates from as many as three private attorneys before approving the assignment of a public defender.

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 Am About To Be Sentenced

The sentencing phase in a criminal case usually occurs soon after a defendant pleads guilty to a crime or is convicted after a jury trial has concluded. This is otherwise known as the sentence. Sentencing for criminal offenses can range from probation and community service to prison and even the death penalty.

Sentencing usually takes place almost immediately after convictions for minor infractions and misdemeanors, or when a defendant has pled guilty. In more complex criminal cases, such as those involving serious felonies, the sentencing judge usually receives input from the prosecutor, the defense, and the probation department, who prepare recommendations in a “pre-sentence report”.

In most cases, the judge will consider several factors in determining a criminal sentence, which include whether the offender has any prior criminal history; whether the offender was the main offender or an accessory (someone who assists the main offender) or; whether the offender was under great personal stress or duress when he or she committed the crime; whether anyone was injured or the crime was particularly likely to result in injury; whether the offender was particularly cruel to a victim, or particularly destructive, or vindictive; and whether the offender displayed remorse or regret.

Judges in most cases have a great deal of discretion when determining a sentence and have several sentencing alternatives from which to choose, from diversion to incarceration. Not every conviction means a trip to prison and alternative sentences can include: Suspended sentences; Fines or restitution; Community service; Deferred adjudication or pretrial diversion which would result in a dismissal of the charges; and/or Probation.

Additionally, there are many different types of sentences. Multiple sentences can be served concurrently (at the same time) or consecutively (one after another), and single sentences could be deferred or suspended based on certain conditions.

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.