Can you answer a few questions for me --
1> Does your son have any prior arrests or convictions for any criminal charges prior to these criminal charges being brought against him?
2. Has a bail amount been set at all? Was there a bail hearing or is there a bail hearing coming up in this matter?
Hello again Rose -
I apologize for the delay in getting back to you -- I was offline for a number of hours and just came online to pick up this thread again. Being eligible for a felony diversion program depends upon the number of charges and the severity of charges. Typically such a program would be made available to someone who has one felony charge against him and has absolutely no prior criminal record to speak of. Your son's first charge in Jan 2012 probably would have been a good candidate for selection in a felony diversion program and when completed your son would have ended up with no criminal record. Because the adjudication of the first case was delayed and a second charge was brought during the time period where your son was waiting to adjudicate the first case, the court will mostlikely no longer be in a position to consider your son for the felony diversion program because he has 2 felony arrests that he now has to deal with (the ultimate decision regarding the diversion program even with the 2 charges is up to the DA and the judge).
Obviously, I do not know what his lawyer or his fellow inmates are telling him regarding these offenses. However, in Washington state, a Class B felony is a very serious felony -- the second most serious behind such felony charges as murder or manslaughter. That is the reason for the high bail in your son's case (150K for a second offense is high and I can only think that the judge made the decision based upon the crime classification and not on any mitigating factors that your son's attorney would have or should have presented at the bail hearing). A conviction on one of the charges can carry a penalty of 1 to 20 years in jail and a fine of up to $20,000. In addition to these penalties, because the crime is classified as a sex crime in Washington, your son may have to register as a Tier 1 sex offender for at least 10 years after his sentences are completed (which is generally the most devastating aspect of cases like this because it makes it very hard for the offender to find a place to live or decent employment). Because of these potential penalties, it does seem to me that his lawyer may not be taking these matters seriously enough. This happens often with public defender attorneys simply because they are usually overwhelmed with a large number of cases and do not have enough resources to handle them all effectively. I do suggest that you speak with several criminal attorneys in your area with an eye towards hiring private representation for him because you will most likely end up getting an attorney that will pay much more attention to your son's case (the first order of business should be to try to get another bail hearing and get the amount reduced to something more reasonable that you can afford -- because your son has not been in jail before this there should be some concessions that the court could make in a bail arrangement -- even if he must stay at your house and wear an electronic bracelet until his trial date). To find criminal attorneys near you, you should contact the local county bar association and ask for referrals to several in your area -- they will give you a few names and you can call the attorneys and go from there. Overall, I would be very surprised if a felony diversion program is offered to your son simply because he is on his second offense for the same crime -- however, stranger things have happened and I do suggest that when you are speaking to potential new criminal attorneys for him that you mention the diversion program and see what the lawyer thinks about it (because the crime and sentencing decisions are completely in the hands of the DA and judge, you may find a lawyer who can convince the DA and judge involved in your son's case to reduce it to one felony charge (because it is the same offense) and then offer the diversion program). If your son does get the diversion program for these cases then he should count himself lucky and he will never be offered such a deal again if he is charged with similar crimes in the future.
I truly wish I could give you an instant way to resolve these matters for you and your son (especially for your sake because you seem very upset by all of this). Unfortunately, such a magic bullet does not exist and at this point the best you are going to be able to do is to do some legwork and research to find a lawyer in your area who will keep your son's best interests in mind and actually put up some kind of a fight on his behalf (many public defenders will not do this and simply specialize in trying to negotiate the lowest prison term possible). Please let me know if you have any further questions -- I will be online all evening and although it might take a few minutes to get back to you because of other customers and taking an occasional break, I will respond to you as soon as I see any additional messages/questions from you.
Please press the 3rd, 4th or 5th smile face below so I will be paid for my time. I am paid NOTHING unless you press the 3rd, 4th or 5th smile face below. Pressing a positive rating below will NOT cost you any additional money -- it simply acts as a trigger to Just Answer to pay me for my time. THANK YOU VERY MUCH
I assumed that you were in the same county -- but, yes -- the lawyer that you want to hire should be in the county where the court actions are taking place for your son. If you do a search for the bar association for that county you should be able to get contact information for a referral service and you can go from there.
If you have no further questions, can you please press the 3rd, 4th or 5th smile face below so I will be paid for my time. I am paid NOTHING unless you press the 3rd, 4th or 5th smile face below. Pressing a positive rating below will NOT cost you any additional money -- it simply acts as a trigger to Just Answer to pay me for my time. THANK YOU VERY MUCH
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).