SPAULDING LAW PC is a full service law firm.
That means the firm can help you evaluate your legal matter, whether criminal or civil, and help you to understand your needs, your options and the possible outcomes. It is important that you know something about your options before you retain an attorney and for that reason at SPAULDING LAW PC your initial consultation is free.
Among our areas of practice are business formation, contracts, wills and estates, personal injury, and all levels of criminal defense. If you’re unsure whether you need help, or what kind of help you need, feel free to call. An initial consultation is always free, and it puts you in a better position to decide what you need.
Being accused of a crime is often an extremely stressful situation. It can be frustrating and difficult. Consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney is an essential first step to dealing with the challenges of an accusation.
At an initial consultation Mr. Spaulding will discuss your case with you personally. He will evaluate your case and help you to understand the options available to you. As a counselor he is there to listen, to answer your questions about the legal process, and suggest solutions that are available to you.
As an advocate he will represent your best interests and make sure you are treated fairly. During representation you can be assured that Mr. Spaulding will be available to you to answer your questions quickly. During negotiations Mr. Spaulding will effectively communicate your position and your case to your best advantage.
Frank Spaulding, founder of Spaulding Law PC, has thousands of hours of courtroom experience dealing with a wide variety of criminal allegations, from misdemeanors and driving offenses to violent crime and high level felonies. Mr. Spaulding’s extensive experience in criminal law enables him to quickly evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your particular case and help you to decide on your best course of action.
It is important to note that different jurisdictions have different rules and procedures. Similarly, although the blood alcohol level to establish intoxication is .08 bac in Alaska and Washington, the laws are not identical. What may constitute a crime in one state may not in another, or may constitute a different crime. What is outlined below is meant to give a very broad outline to some more common accusations. This is merely intended to show you some of the possible concerns when accused of a crime. Of course, every situation is different, and this commentary is not intended to be legal advice of any kind. If you have questions about your situation, please call Spaulding Law PC for a free initial consultation.
Misdemeanors are any crimes that can be punishable by less than one year in jail, maximum. Misdemeanors can be anything from criminal trespass (being where you shouldn’t), criminal mischief (breaking what you shouldn’t), to disorderly conduct to DWLS (driving without a license) or more serious accusations like DUI or Assault. The important thing to remember is that although less serious than a felony, these accusations can carry serious penalties, including extensive jail time or burdensome fines. For these reasons it is essential to consult an attorney before agreeing to a recommendation from the prosecutor. It is in the interest of the prosecutor to get you to accept a plea as soon as possible. By accepting a plea, you take responsibility and punishment and alleviate the need of the prosecutor to prove the case against you or to negotiate for a better outcome. Talking to an experienced criminal defense attorney will help you to appreciate the strength and weaknesses of your case as well as the options available to you.
Felonies are crimes punishable by more than 1 year in jail. The most serious types of felonies are ‘unclassified,’ and the remainder are considered class A’s, B’s, and C’s with C’s being the least serious felonies in Alaska. If you are accused of a felony, it is essential to find legal representation as soon as possible.
If you do not have any prior felony conduct and are accused of a lesser felony it is possible that punishment will be less than a year. If, however, you do have prior felony convictions, and are accused of a felony, you may be subject to what is called presumptive sentencing. That means that sentencing terms are determined in large part by statute, and may be severe. If you were convicted of a class C felony, and are accused of another you will be subject to a mandatory two-year term under most circumstances. In Alaska a third DUI is prosecuted as a felony, as well as possession of many drugs and thefts in excess of $500.
Given the very severe penalties, if you are accused of a felony, consult an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible in order to best address your situation.
Being accused of drunk driving is an often scary and frustrating proposition. If you are accused of driving under the influence, there are many factors to take into consideration that will impact the strength of your case. Among these are whether or not there was an accident, injuries, the weather, if there is a breath test or other field sobriety tests.
In a prosecution of driving under the influence, the State will have to establish beyond a reasonable doubt all the elements of the offense. This may be a blood alcohol level in excess of .08, or impairment of your abilities to drive, and of course, that you were operating a vehicle. These elements are not always obvious, or easy to determine, particularly if police procedures are not followed, arresting officers were taking shortcuts, or there are problems with the instruments used to measure alcohol.
Think about it for a prosecutor’s position for a moment. If you had to prove someone was intoxicated, how would you do it? Perhaps you would administer balance tests or counting tests? Or maybe you would observe physical characteristics of impairment such as watery eyes or slurred speech. Is it any coincidence that this is precisely what prosecutors do? The fact is that many of the balance tests are hard to pass when stone sober, and more importantly, a subjective person evaluates these tests, usually the same person making the arrest. Physical observations may have innocent explanations.
A good defense attorney will evaluate all the evidence against you; determine the strengths and weaknesses of that evidence and whether the authorities followed the law. If they didn’t, that attorney will do something about it. Allegations of Drunk Driving are much more complicated than they may seem. Any one of a thousand different things could go wrong with an investigation that could impact the State’s case against you. That is why it is essential to hire an attorney that can find the strengths and weaknesses of the case and help you come to an optimal resolution.
Domestic Violence and Assaults
Allegations of Violence are often very difficult to deal with. To bring an allegation of violence to trial may mean requiring victims to endure and emotionally wrenching experience that is often difficult to prove. More often than not, particularly with minor assaults, the only witnesses to the conduct are the alleged perpetrator and the alleged victim. If there is another witness, that witness may be a co-defendant, or a second victim. It seems that most people know better than to start fighting in front of police officers.
Consequently, police officers often find themselves responding to 911 call to find a couple of people that have clearly been fighting with each other, sometimes with some pretty obvious injuries, but with no clear idea of who started, who was defending themselves, or how much danger was presented by the incident. They can take witness statements and even make arrests, and yet they themselves were not witnesses to the event. In situations like these the authorities are forced to rely on witness statements to sustain their case and often witness statements, particularly between alleged perpetrator and victim, are contradictory, he said/she said. In such situations it is almost impossible to expect a jury to come to conclude with proof ‘beyond a reasonable doubt.’
If you are accused of a violent crime it is essential that you hire representation with experience in allegations of this sort, to establish the strength of the state’s case and help you to achieve the best outcome for your case.
There are many crimes in the statute books of Alaska and Washington, too many to mention here. There are, however, a couple of important things to take into consideration in most criminal accusations. If you are accused of a crime that is any more significant than a ticket or a violation, you are entitled to legal representation. When faced with the possibility of losing your freedom, or paying significant penalties, please take the time to have an independent criminal defense attorney evaluate your case. There may be matters that he can see, that you may have missed, or problems with evidence or an arrest that you are not aware of. In any case, there is no need to accept the penalties that punishment that is put upon you without taking steps to ensure you are treated fairly.
In addition to representation, you are entitled to remain silent, so take advantage of that. If asked to answer questions, indicate that you would like to talk to an attorney. There is no need to incriminate yourself if you can avoid it. Of course you want to cooperate with authorities, but you can do that with representation, and a lawyer can help you to cooperate without making your situation any worse.
Most crimes require some kind of act and mental state on the part of the accused. It is the State’s obligation to prove these mental states and acts beyond a reasonable doubt. Situations are often complicated and speaking to an attorney can help you to understand how a prosecutor will evaluate and pursue your case. Only when you know what your options are, will you be in a position to make the best decisions.
© 2009 Frank Spaulding All Rights Reserved
Spaulding Law PC provides criminal defense representation in Alaska and Washington.
Frank Spaulding successfully defends clients accused of DUI, Domestic Violence, Assault, Burglary, Robbery,
Drug Possession, Sexual Assault, Homocide and other felony and misdemeanor crimes.
Criminal Defense Attorney Frank Spaulding works out of Fairbanks,
in Interior Alaska,
but accepts cases from all over Alaska and Washington, including Anchorage, Juneau, Ketchikan, Wasilla, Palmer, Nome,
Barrow and outlying bush communities to Seattle and Spokbane.