Seattle VUCSA Defense Options
If you are accused of a drug crime in Washington, it is important to be aware of the recommended sentencing guidelines. Many drug crimes in the state are felonies that can result in steep fines and long periods of incarceration. Even a possession charge involving a small amount of a controlled substance can lead to Class C felony charges. While there is no way to guarantee an ideal outcome, an experienced defense attorney can help you make the best of your charges.
Sentencing for VUCSA is tough and the best way to avoid these penalties is to avoid a conviction. Unfortunately, this is not always possible. In some situations, however, you may be offered a deal that will minimize the penalties you receive. This deal can even include the reduction or dismissal of some of your charges. This is called a plea agreement and only your lawyer can negotiate such a deal. For more information on how you can get a plea deal, call a Seattle VUCSA attorney today.
What is a Plea Agreement?
According to Washington law RCW 9.94A.421, a plea agreement is when "the prosecutor and the attorney for the defendant… engage in discussions with a view toward reaching an agreement that, upon the entering of a plea to a charged offense or to a lesser or related offense”. Basically, it is a deal that you and the prosecutor of your case reach that is mutually beneficial. You both get to avoid going to trial and can relax knowing what the results of the case will be. If a defendant is found guilty after their trial, they will be subject to the judge's sentence. A judge refers to sentencing guidelines but is free to hand down any punishment they choose. This can be very stressful for a defendant as their fate is entirely out of their hands.
With a plea agreement, you can avoid trial by pleading guilty or no contest to your charges. No contest is a way to essentially plead guilty without admitting fault (thus, you are not contesting your charges). In exchange, the prosecutor will recommend that the judge grants you a sentence that has been previously agreed upon by you and your attorney. There are many terms that can be included in a plea agreement including the following:
- Recommendation for dismissal of other charges or counts
- A particular sentence within the sentence range applicable to the offense or offenses to which the offender pled guilty
- A particular sentence outside of the sentence range
- An agreement to file a particular charge or count
- An agreement not to file other charges or counts
- Any other promise to the defendant, except that in no instance may the prosecutor agree not to allege prior convictions
Plea agreements can cover a wide range of issues and not all are fair. Your lawyer will be able to explain to you the ramifications of accepting or rejecting a plea agreement and give you advice so that you can make informed decisions. For more assistance with plea agreements in Seattle, call The Law Offices of Steve Karimi.
Why Are Plea Agreements Offered?
There are a number of reasons why defendants are offered plea agreements. Again, these deal are no a right and are given at the discretion of the prosecutor. Prosecutors do not like to lose cases. If they feel that there is a good chance that a jury may find you not guilty, they will be more likely to offer a plea agreement. Alternatively, if they have a large caseload, they may be tempted to offer deals to defendants who have the best defense teams.
If you have been charged of a drug crime in Seattle and are interested in plea agreements, a good first step is to make sure that you have a legal team that understands VUCSA law in Washington. Attorney Steve Karimi is a former prosecutor for Washington State, he understands what motivates them to make plea offers and which offers his clients should accept. He will work hard to build your defense while working with the prosecution to see if any plea offers are given and to make sure you are offered the best terms.
How Do I Get One?
Getting a plea agreement offer is not a right and there is no way to guarantee that you will receive one. However, hiring an experienced VUCSA lawyer like Steve Karimi is a great way to make sure that you get the best possible results in your case. He will work hard to build your defense and negotiate a plea agreement. While a not guilty verdict is always the goal, you can rest assured knowing that all your defense options will be explored. For more on what a defense lawyer can do for you, contact our office to set up a free consultation.