Conditions of Release on Misdemeanors and Felonies: A Criminal Defense Attorney’s Prospective
At the beginning stage of every criminal charge | prosecution in Washington, a person is arraigned on a criminal charge. Aside from entering a plea of not guilty to the charge(s), the most important thing that happens at an arraignment from a criminal defense lawyer’s | attorney’s perspective should be the Conditions of Release.
Conditions of Release or Release Conditions are requirements (post bail, don’t drink, avoid a person or place) a Judge enters by an Order that must be followed to stay out of jail. Aside from release conditions limiting a client’s freedom and sometimes requiring bail, arguing for release conditions is the first opportunity for defense attorneys to present their clients in a positive light. This should always be taken seriously and used to an advantage.
Keep in mind that any showing of a willful violation of these Release Conditions is grounds for the judge to consider issuing a warrant or taking an individual back into custody so minimizing these conditions is as important as making sure clients understand them.
How are Release Conditions set?
Remember, when criminal charges are filed at arraignment, all a judge knows are the allegations. Addressing the issues surrounding release conditions is a perfect opportunity for your criminal defense lawyer | attorney to start educating a judge as to their client’s positive traits.
Release Conditions are set by a criminal court judge after they weigh the facts and evidence against the standards outlined in CrR 3.2, or CrRLJ 3.2, depending on whether you are charged with a felony or misdemeanor. The factors courts consider in setting release conditions or bail are the same in every court in the State of Washington, whether it is Superior, District or Municipal Court and are stated in these rules and fleshed out in case law. Our criminal defense attorneys regularly prepare for this hearing by collecting evidence that shows our clients are not a danger to the community, that they will show up to court and do not represent a flight risk.
As arraignments and release conditions arguments tend to come on suddenly, our approach is to work quickly with our clients and family to collect this kind of evidence, using such things as employment, community involvement, church involvement, sport involvement, pending professional evaluations, property ownership, academic or work performance, family and friend support, among other things.
Based on your criminal defense lawyer | attorney’s arguments and that of the prosecutor, the judge will make a decision as to what conditions will be in place during the pendency of your criminal case. Following these conditions will keep you out of jail. Do keep in mind that release conditions can be modified any time at the request of the prosecuting attorney or defense attorney if there is a change in circumstances that justify it; however, judges frown on requests that are clearly not justified.
The criminal defense lawyers | attorneys in our office have handled an enormous number of complicated cases in the criminal arena over the course of our criminal law careers. We are a unique blend of courtroom experience, knowledge, skills and temperament. Our lawyers know criminal cases are rarely as simple as the police reports claim and our clients hire us because they want staunch and effective counsel who takes the time to make sure their rights are protected. Whether our role is as legal counsel, negotiator, or litigator, we have years of experience fighting and resolving criminal cases with our clients’ best interests in mind.