Author Archives for Stryder Wegener

Miranda Rights The Common Misconceptions

What Are Miranda Rights? Simply stated, Miranda Rights or Miranda Warnings are the right to silence that a person must be given by the police when they become a criminal suspect and are placed into police custody.  The purpose of the warnings is to protect the statements that a person makes while being interrogated, that may be used against them in the criminal prosecution of their case. The four specific rights that law enforcement must convey to a suspect in custody are:  You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be […]

Exposing The Myth: Public Defender vs. Private Attorney

What I Love About Being A Private Defense Attorney Being a criminal defense attorney is challenging, interesting, difficult at times, fun, and rewarding all wrapped up into one.  I have really been fortunate enough to find my niche in this game.  I love it.  My path has led me to the “private” defense bar.  This is perfect for me for many reasons.  I get to co-own my own law firm.  I get to help those who work with me learn and progress based on the knowledge I have acquired (this might actually be my favorite part of this all). I also get to spend as much time and effort as is needed on each of my individual clients’ cases.  This […]

Thousands of Federal Prisoners To Be Set Free

Let’s Get Tough: The War On Drugs The United States has historically been one of the most punitive countries when it comes to prison sentences for non-violent, drug crimes. This originally came about in the early 1980’s and 1990’s with our country’s “get tough” war on drugs. You may recall Ronald Reagan’s famous press conference from the White House in 1986 where he and his wife declared their “war on drugs.” Mandatory Minimum Sentences Without getting extremely bogged down in the details, (among other things) what happened was that “mandatory minimum” sentences for federal drug crimes were instituted. Essentially this took away a judge’s ability to sentence a person according to how they feel a person should be sentenced based on […]

What Is The Attorney-Client Privilege?

The Reason For Attorney-Client Privilege One of the main foundations of the legal profession in general is the necessity and ability for clients to speak to their attorneys about anything without the fear of their attorney being able to share that information.  If you really think about it this concept is the backbone of what allows many areas of law to function. After all, how can a person who is confiding in an attorney feel confident that they are not risking having their most sensitive information fall into the wrong hands? Defining Attorney-Client Privilege A simple definition of this term is: An American legal concept that protects certain communications between a client and his or her attorney and keeps those communications confidential. It is […]

Search Warrants: What Are They And How Do They Work?

What Is a Search Warrant? Simply stated, a search warrant is a “legal document authorizing a police officer to enter and search a premises.”  The places that can be searched are not limited to buildings or real property.  They can also include vehicles, a person’s body, or even their blood. Search Warrants Aren’t Always Necessary For a Search To Take Place When a person suspected of having committed a crime is stopped, questioned, detained, and/or arrested, the police have the legal right to search that person.  This is called a search “incident to arrest.”  The reasoning behind affording them this ability is officer safety. You have seen this before.  On t.v. when someone is arrested the cop will frisk and pat them […]

How To Avoid Getting Pulled Over

Pretextual Stops In the realm of being a DUI defense attorney there is a term that strikes fear in us all.  That term is: “Pretextual Stops.” The legal definition of “pretext” is “A false or weak reason or motive advanced to hide the actual or strong reason or motive.”  With DUI cases this is important to understand because many times it is the reason police use to pull someone over. For example, it is very difficult for a police officer to detect that a person is driving after they have been drinking, until they make personal contact with the person.  They can’t smell a person’s breath, see if they are wobbly on their feet, notice whether a driver’s eyes are watery and bloodshot, whether […]

What Is a Burden of Proof?

I am sure you have heard this phrase before. Whether it be in books, movies, t.v. shows, or in real life, it is a well known phrase. However, I find that in the real, actual courtroom context many people don’t know what it really means. Simply stated the burden of proof is a burden that the agency charging someone with a crime must carry in order to convict that person of a crime. For example, in Seattle Municipal Court it is the prosecutors that work for the City of Seattle who have this burden when they file charges against a person. If it is a felony case in King County, then it is the prosecutors who work for the State of […]

My Son Took A Plea Deal. But We Think He Could Have Done Better. Can It Be Undone?

My 25 year-old son, who has no criminal history whatsoever (he has never even gotten a traffic ticket), took a plea deal.  He is now sitting in prison looking at a 10 year sentence.  His lawyer convinced him that it was a good deal, and he took it.  I have talked to other people who have been in similar situations since that time and they have gotten much better deals.  CAN HE TAKE BACK HIS PLEA AND UNDUE THIS WHOLE THING? ANSWER: It is EXTREMELY difficult to withdraw a guilty plea.  The two main arguments for even attempting to do so are what we call “Newly Discovered Evidence” and “Ineffective Assistance of Counsel.” In the above example, it looks like he simply […]

How Do You Defend Someone You Know Is Guilty?

Seattle criminal defense attorney

September 11, 2001. I am sitting behind a table in a big classroom waiting for my criminal law class to begin.  It is only my fourth day of law school.  I am still in shock, wide eyed, surrounded by incredibly smart people, and honestly a little unsure of my decision to try and become an attorney.  In addition, I have just arrived at school after having watched the news of the horrific events that took place in our country earlier that morning.  I’m not even sure why I went to class that day, but in retrospect, it is probably because I felt the need to speak to my peers, console one another, and try and make sense out of what […]

They Don’t Want To Press Charges. Shouldn’t The Case Just Go Away?

criminal lawyer case dismissed

The police are called to a domestic violence call at a private residence. The person who called meets the officer at the door and says everything is okay and that they don’t need any help: “Nothing happened. I was just mad and called you to get back at my boyfriend for yelling at me. Thank you for coming, but everything is fine and you can leave now.” Shouldn’t The Officer Just Leave? No. In fact, they are not allowed to simply leave. When a call of this nature is made, the police have a community care taking obligation to investigate, check for signs of altercation and ensure that the parties are safe. In Seattle, the officer actually has the obligation to separate […]