Seattle Felony Attorney

(253) 518-3643

Washington divides offenses into two main classifications: misdemeanor and felony charges. Both are illegal, but a felony is much more serious.
There are two main categories of criminal offenses, namely misdemeanor and felony charges, with the latter being significantly more severe. Being convicted of a felony can have long-lasting consequences, including impacts on your future employment, your housing, and lengthy periods of imprisonment. However, it is important to note that even in the face of a felony charge, there is still hope. Seeking the guidance of a knowledgeable legal professional is the best first step. If you or a loved one is dealing with a felony charge, feel free to contact The Law Offices of Morgan Fletcher Benfield, PLLC at (253) 518-3643 for a complimentary consultation.

Felony Classification, Penalties & Sentencing

The Revised Code of Washington (RCW) categorizes crimes as felonies according to their severity. Examples of such crimes include certain drug offenses, rape, burglary, and murder. These felonies are further classified into different levels of gravity, namely Class C, B, and A, each carrying its own potential penalties upon conviction. For instance, Class C Felonies may result in up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000, whereas Class A Felonies may result in lifetime imprisonment and a fine of up to $50,000.

The actual punishment for a felony offense will ultimately be determined based on the Washington State sentencing guidelines. These guidelines consist of 15 separate levels from I to XV, each with its own range of potential outcomes. When you are convicted of a felony, the sentencing judge will consider these guidelines and any other relevant information, such as your criminal record, family and work history, psychological evaluations, victim statements, and any mitigating factors.

Real Impact of a Felony Conviction

When dealing with a felony, many people tend to underestimate the lasting and significant impact it can have, even if they manage to avoid imprisonment. While avoiding jail time should be a top priority, it is not the only factor to consider. A felony conviction can lead to various limitations such as reduced job opportunities, ineligibility for loans, complications with immigration and citizenship status, restrictions on firearm ownership, difficulty obtaining a professional license, and limited affordable housing options.

Given these potential consequences, it is crucial to seek the assistance of a skilled felony attorney who can carefully assess the specifics of your case and strive to minimize or eliminate any adverse effects.

Felony Gun Enhancements in Washington

Apart from the usual consequences that come with a felony conviction in Washington, if a firearm was used while committing certain offenses that qualify as a felony, a “firearm enhancement” can substantially increase the severity of the punishment. Furthermore, this enhancement is in addition to any other aggravating factors that could potentially increase the sentence, such as the use of other deadly weapons, as Washington considers the use of firearms to be particularly egregious.

In certain cases, the penalties for using a firearm can even surpass the standard sentence associated with the original crime. It is important to note that these enhancements are mandatory and must run consecutively with all other sentencing. Moreover, firearm enhancements in Washington are ineligible for sentence reductions based on good behavior and must be served entirely in confinement. As an example, if you are convicted of felony assault and were armed at the time, even if you avoid the maximum sentence allowable under the law for the assault, you will still be subject to the mandatory term of imprisonment for possessing a firearm.

RCW 9.94a.533 outlines that Washington courts must apply the following firearm enhancements to individuals if they or an accomplice were armed with a firearm at the time of conviction for an underlying offense:

  • Firearm Enhancement for Class C Felonies – 18 months for a first offense and three years for subsequent convictions.
  • Firearm Enhancement for Class B Felonies – Three years for a first offense and six years for subsequent convictions.
  • Firearm Enhancement for Class A Felonies – Five years for a first offense and ten years for subsequent convictions.

Almost all felonies in Washington may include a firearm enhancement, except those where using a firearm is already an essential element of the crime, such as firearm offenses like the illegal possession of a firearm, possession of an illegal firearm, or the unlawful discharge of a weapon.

While it may be clear in certain cases that a firearm was possessed or used during the commission of a felony, such as robbing a store at gunpoint, there are instances where constructive possession may come into play. For example, if you were charged with robbery and a gun was found in your vehicle, a firearm enhancement may not be warranted. Ultimately, working with a competent Seattle felony attorney with experience in this area can assist you in demonstrating that while you may have had physical possession or access to a firearm, you did not have the degree of control required to support an enhancement. In any case, it is always prudent to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney to explore all of your options.


A skilled Washington criminal defense attorney strives to achieve the best possible outcome for their client by thoroughly understanding their situation, the circumstances that led to their charges, and their priorities. This includes exploring various felony defense strategies, pursuing alternative sentencing options, negotiating to reduce charges, and seeking dismissal of evidence or charges based on violated rights.

Some potential alternative sentences include participating in alcohol/drug treatment, attending victim panels, receiving anger management counseling, performing community service, being placed on probation, wearing electronic monitoring devices, paying restitution, and plea bargaining.

It is crucial to remember that anyone accused of a felony is presumed innocent under the law. This means that the prosecution must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt rather than the defendant having to prove their innocence. A proficient felony lawyer can help assess the probability of the state meeting that burden and develop a strong defense strategy.

Unfortunately, misunderstandings and unreliable or confused witnesses can lead to felony charges. It may be frustrating that simply explaining a situation cannot avoid the justice system, but early and effective legal representation can help present explanations through proper channels. An attorney can also present evidence to show that the defendant was elsewhere during the crime or was the victim of mistaken identity.

Additional felony defense strategies to consider with an attorney may include demonstrating that the defendant acted under duress, lacked the capacity or intent to commit the crime, was unaware that their actions were illegal, acted in self-defense or the defense of others, or committed the crime out of necessity during an emergency.


Given the permanent and significant repercussions of a felony conviction, it is crucial to find a skilled defense attorney to represent you.

At The Law Offices of Morgan Fletcher Benfield, PLLC, we prioritize honest communication and are dedicated to determining the optimal course of action for your case. If you or someone you know is facing felony charges, we are available to provide assistance.

Don’t wait, call us today at (253) 518-3643 to schedule your free consultation and discover your options.