In some cases, there is no question of what happened. I
frequently represent clients who admit they committed a crime. They
don't want the ordeal of a trial. But they want a sentence they can live
Washington's laws for felony sentences are very strict. The sentence is
largely determined by the name of the crime and a person's criminal
history. A judge does not have the authority to impose whatever sentence
is "just." The more serious the offense, the fewer options the court
Even a first offense carries a very serious sentence if it is a serious
crime. Many sex offenses now carry a mandatory life sentence, although
parole is possible after serving many years.
A thorough investigation helps persuade a prosecutor that the case against my client is weak.
I also work with my clients to take steps to remedy the wrong they have
done. Often my clients wish to make amends. Often if a client makes
amends, the prosecution and the court consider lower charges or
sentences or even dismissal.
I also help clients address underlying problems that contributed to the
offense. I work closely with mental health professionals, drug and
alcohol treatment programs, and sex offender treatment providers to
evaluate and assess clients. Together we determine whether treatment is
appropriate. Prompt recognition of a problem and treatment can weigh in a
client's favor for prosecutors deciding a charge and for judges who
decide a penalty. Sometimes treatment can be factored into the sentence
in place of jail time.
Successful examples of plea negotiations