A Criminal Defense Lawyer’s Prospective on Harassment
Harassment is a codified criminal charge, which is different from civil harassment as it carries a potential sentence up to 365 days in jail and a $5000 fine. This criminal definition is available for anyone to read though keep in mind there is a large body of case law that interprets it. This is Washington’s definition of criminal harassment.
As criminal defense lawyers | attorneys, we have seen most harassment charges surface out of relationship problems, though we have litigated more than our fair share of business, online, mental health and neighbor disputes. From a criminal defense lawyer’s perspective, all criminal harassment charges, whether felony or misdemeanor, fall into one of three categories: (1) because of error or lies, our client was falsely charged; (2) our client overstepped or (3) the law or prosecutor overstepped. Regardless of what category you are in, our office is highly knowledgeable about the court and prosecutor dynamics as well as the circumstances surrounding these kinds of charges. We have championed or mitigated a wide variety of cases.
I did not do it.
If you are charged with the crime of harassment, the prosecuting attorney has a duty to prove you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in order to convict you. Regardless of what you did or did not do, you and your criminal defense lawyer | attorney need to collect enough evidence to create a reasonable doubt. This is how the criminal law game is played. The more evidence collected that casts reasonable doubt on the legal elements of harassment, the more likely a case will go your way. Our office is used to working as a team to collect this evidence and bring it to the attention of the prosecuting attorney in the appropriate manner, whether that be in negotiations or at trial.
I made a mistake.
Many criminal defense cases involve clients who did something wrong and there is evidence to prove it; however, this is not the end of a negotiation unless you do not care about trying to get the best result possible. Effective criminal defense lawyers | attorneys know that negotiations with prosecuting attorneys are not always about what can be proved or not proved. There are a lot of behind the scenes things that can be done to better position of your case in negotiations: we counsel our clients on steps to take that demonstrate further problems will not surface; we take the time to collect evidence of the other party’s wrongdoings that play a role in the problem; we let time and hearings pass to allow the prosecutor and judge to see this issue is no longer live and we communicate the results we want to the prosecuting attorney in an effective and professional manner. We have found that these tactics (and others), along with our courtroom demeanor and professionalism, have consistently produced better results.
Our firm has a unique blend of courtroom experience, skills, knowledge and temperament. Our criminal defense lawyers | attorneys work as a team and are highly experienced in dealing with the fact specific arguments and issues surrounding harassment. Our lawyers know that criminal cases are rarely as simple as police reports claim and our clients retain us early on in the process to make sure their rights are protected. Consultations are free but a poor choice in counsel is not. The first step in evaluating counsel is an appointment.