Adult Felony Criminal Offenses

Understanding the nature of your legal problem is critical to avoiding mistakes early in your case. Please review the Quick Info for Adult Felony Criminal Offenses page which includes the Who, What, When, Where and How.

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Understanding Adult Felony Criminal Offenses

The right combination of the wrong factors at any given point in any person’s life can lead to a criminal charge, even a felony charge. Certain jurisdictions may charge every possible charge up front in an effort to leverage a plea. In King County, the prosecutor’s office will often file conservatively which means that not every possible charge is filed at the beginning of the case and the charges can be raised, or additional charges can be added, if the person charged sets his or her case for trial. Thorough investigation, research, effective communication and strategic approach increase one’s chances in making the best trial or negotiation decisions.

Many felonies may end up reduced with effective advocacy. Many lower level felonies may be “expedited” if the charge fits within the prosecutor’s expedited guidelines. This means that a felony is reduced to a gross misdemeanor. Additionally, felonies do not have to result in jail time.

The Jury Trial

However, serious felonies require a more intense level of strategy, skill, investigation and trial preparation. Many more serious felonies such as arson, robbery, higher level assault and sex offenses cannot or should not be resolved short of a trial. Trials are heard by a jury of twelve people. Those twelve must agree unanimously before a conviction can be imposed. The burden is on the State to satisfy each of the twelve jurors beyond a reasonable doubt of a person’s guilt. This is a high burden.

In short, there are many avenues and protections that can be explored before the “worst case” scenario. The ultimate protection is the jury trial.