Know Your Rights and Understand the Process

Even if you believe that you will never be charged with a criminal offense, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with your legal rights. You simply never know when this information will become useful. For a more in depth discussion of the rights of a criminal defendant, contact a Renton criminal defense attorney.

The United States Constitution and State Law

The United States Constitution and the individual rights embodied therein are applicable to the states via the 14th Amendment. This means the rights which pertain to criminal defendants (such as the right to counsel, the right to silence, etc.) are exercisable by individuals in Washington state, even if they are accused only of Washington-defined crimes.

The rights in the Constitution should be viewed as setting a floor on how an individual is to be treated. For example, the right to a speedy trial is a general right, unquantifiable into specific days or months. The state of Washington, however, has set specific time limits for a speedy trial, though the standard of proof is extremely similar to that required to prove constitutional violation. A Renton criminal defense attorney can explain in more detail the time limits for trial times in Washington.

Plea Bargains

If you have been charged with a crime, this does not necessarily mean that you will go to trial. In fact, the majority of charges result in a plea bargain. During plea bargain negotiations, your attorney will engage with the prosecution to reach an agreeable settlement on your case, without going to trial. The defense attorney will use all of his/her knowledge of your case, your history, your personality, and other relevant facts to bargain on your behalf with the prosecution and to reach the best deal possible for you.

Your defense counsel should keep you informed at all times. Additionally, the bargaining itself is not binding: as a defendant, nothing is final until you have approved the written terms of the plea bargain and it has been submitted to a judge.

If you would like additional information on plea bargains, or criminal defendant’s rights in general, contact an experienced Renton criminal defense attorney, today for a free initial consultation.