Criminal Law

Criminal Defense—Felony and Misdemeanor

Criminal Defense Attorneys for Oak Harbor, Whidbey Island, and the Greater Seattle Area.

The attorneys at Platt & Buescher have an emphasis in defending those accused of felonies and misdemeanor crimes.

Experience. Knowledge. Results driven.

Criminal Defense Against Charges

The fact an individual is charged with a crime does not mean the individual is a criminal. Merely being accused of a crime and actually being guilty are two very different concepts. The only requirement for an arrest to be made is “probable cause.” Probable cause is one of the lowest legal standards—it is just above what is called “reasonable suspicion.” Reasonable suspicion means that an officer can merely articulate his or her suspicion. These standards fall far below what is required for a finding of guilt.

Crime and the Burden of Proof

The defense does not need to prove innocence. The accused is presumed to be innocent. The Prosecution bears the burden of proving the accused committed the crime.

A crime is like a recipe. Certain ingredients, in the right amounts, must be used in order to get a recipe right. Likewise, each crime consists of “elements.” In order for one to be found guilty of a crime, the Prosecution must prove each and every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Furthermore, every single juror must be convinced that the Prosecution has proved each and every element beyond a reasonable doubt.

A person accused of a crime cannot be found guilty if the Prosecution fails to meet this burden.

Reasonable Doubt

Beyond a reasonable doubt is the highest and toughest burden of proof to satisfy.

Several legal standards exist. As discussed above the lowest legal standards are reasonable suspicion and probable cause. A “preponderance of evidence” is another standard. A preponderance of evidence exists when it is more likely than not (i.e. 51% or greater probability) that something is true. “Clear and convincing evidence” is a much higher burden than a “preponderance of evidence.” Clear and convincing evidence exists where there is a firm belief that something is substantially more true than not. Finally, “beyond a reasonable doubt” means that no doubt exists based on reason and common sense after a careful and impartial consideration of all the evidence.

As mentioned above, the Prosecution must convince every member of the jury that each element of the crime has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt. This can be a daunting task.

Role of the Defense

It is absolutely critical to have good attorney who will review all the finite details of a case.

The Defense attorney will find the legal issues presented in a case. The Federal and State Constitutions and rules of evidence prevent the Prosecution from introducing unlawfully obtained or unreliable evidence against an accused. The less evidence the Prosecution can introduce, the more difficult it is for the Prosecution to meet its burden of proof.

In addition to legal issues, the defense attorney looks at factual issues. Defense lawyers are persuasive orators who will craft a theory and devise a theme of the case, and then artfully present and guide the jury through a convincing narrative that reveals that the defendant’s innocence.

The criminal defense lawyers at Platt & Buescher will prevent the Prosecution from using unlawful or unreliable evidence and will seek to reveal the innocence of the accused.

Negotiation

The Defense lawyer is also a practiced negotiator. The existence of legal or factual issues may give the Defense attorney bargaining power which may give the Prosecutor incentive to resolve the matter without a trial. It is crucial to have a lawyer who can effectively present a case to the Prosecutor in a way that will provide for meaningful negotiation.

Contact us today at (360) 678-6777 to schedule your consultation and have the criminal defense attorneys at Platt & Buescher review your legal matter.