When you, or a loved one is charged with a crime, it can feel overwhelming. Having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side makes all the difference. Hiring competent legal counsel ensures your rights are protected and you are informed of every step of the process, from investigation to case resolution. Sheri Pewitt prides herself on her knowledge of criminal defense and her ability to communicate effectively with her clients, the prosecution, and the courts.
Understand Your Rights
Under the laws of the United States and the state of Washington, you have certain constitutional rights. In every criminal case, law enforcement must respect those rights, and violations of those rights have consequences. Sheri has experience raising challenges to the admissibility of evidence in criminal cases when your constitutional rights have been violated. In most cases, challenges involve one or more of the following issues:
- Traffic stop of your car or detention of your person;
- Statements you may have given during interrogation;
- Searches of your person or your property;
- Seizures of your person or your property;
- Warrants drafted and executed, both arrest warrants and search warrants; and
- Probable cause for the charges brought forth by the government.
Depending on the facts and circumstances, a constitutional challenge may result in evidence being suppressed. In some cases, once the illegally obtained evidence is suppressed, the government no longer has a case, and the charges are dropped. In other cases, with less evidence going forward, the government makes a better offer to resolve the case.
Understand the Process
If you have been arrested, especially if it is your first time, you may not know what to expect. Below is a brief summary of what may transpire after an arrest.
Before Charging a Criminal Offense
In many cases, law enforcement initiates an investigation well before a charge is filed. When this happens, the police often want to take a statement from a suspect. You should never, ever give a statement without consulting an attorney first. Sheri Pewitt has experience representing clients prior to charges being filed. In some cases, speaking with the police may resolve the issue. But in most cases, speaking to police is ill-advised.
Because of her experience, Ms. Pewitt is able to assess the situation after speaking with both law enforcement and the prosecutor's office. In some cases, following informed legal advice results in no charges being filed.
Once a Charge is Filed
At the arraignment hearing, you are formally charged with a criminal offense. If you entered a plea of not guilty, the court sets a time for a pre-trial conference, which is usually set about 30 days after the arraignment. All parties, including the prosecutor, you, and your criminal defense lawyer, are required to attend the pre-trial hearing. If you do not attend the pre-trial hearing, a judge will likely issue a warrant for your arrest and order your bail bond to be forfeited.
Your criminal defense attorney may move to continue the pre-trial conference to allow more time to investigate the case or negotiate a plea deal. Your attorney will evaluate your case, the facts, the law, and your options, and help you determine whether a plea deal or trial is better for you.
If you and your attorney decide to go to trial, the court schedules the trial date at the pre-trial hearing. Also, if there are pre-trial motions noted at the pre-trial hearing, the court sets a time and date for a hearing on the motions and provides a briefing schedule. Prior to trial, all discovery and plea negotiations must be completed.
Because there are so many moving parts to a case as it goes through the system, having a competent criminal defense attorney with experience is critical. Sheri Pewitt has the experience necessary to advise her clients about all potential consequences to settling a case or taking it to trial.
Contact an Experienced DWI & Criminal Defense Lawyer
Sheri Pewitt has extensive experience. She received her start in the Snohomish County public defender's office. There is no better training ground to learn the ropes of criminal defense than as a public defender or prosecutor. Surrounded by attorneys with more experience available for consultation, and thrown into the deep end of the pool while still under the watchful eye of a supervisor, public defenders and prosecutors cut their teeth in the courtroom sooner than in any other criminal defense setting.
Sheri Pewitt is committed to DWI and criminal defense and her peers have recognized that dedication. She has held several speaking engagements at the invitation of the Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Washington State Institute for Justice, the Washington Bail Agent's Association, and Citizens for Judicial Excellence. Sheri was also recognized by her peers as a Super Lawyers Rising Star in 2016, 2017, and 2018.
Let Sheri put her knowledge and experience to work for you and your family. She understands how criminal charges can impact not just the person charged, but the entire family and community. Sheri can calmly and expertly explain the charges, the consequences you may face -- both criminally and civilly, and strategies for case resolution or trial. Contact Pewitt Law, PLLC today for a free consultation.