Felony Sentencing 10...

Felony Sentencing 101: A Primer on the SRA – Part 1

In Washington, felony sentences are governed by the Sentencing Reform Act of Washington (“SRA”), found at RCW 9.94A. The SRA took effect for crimes occurring after July 1, 1984. The legislature has amended the SRA many times over years, and as a result, the SRA is a very complicated set of sentencing rules and exceptions to the rules. Criminal defense attorneys must know and understand the intricacies of the SRA in order to ethically and competently represent clients facing felony charges in Washington state courts.  This is true even if attorneys limit their practice area outside of defending felony cases because certain misdemeanor convictions and juvenile adjudications will potentially impact subsequent felony sentences.

Presented by WDA’s Cindy Arends Elsberry, the first of this two-part presentation will begin by providing a historical background of sentencing in Washington state, including the policy reasons for the emergence of the SRA and the indeterminate sentencing scheme that predated the SRA. The presentation will provide an  overview of the current rules and procedural requirements to comply with the Sentencing Reform Act (SRA).  Attendees will learn how to classify felony criminal offenses, how to determine the offender score for each offense, how to calculate the standard range based on offender score and seriousness level, and how to determine if sentences for multiple counts or cases are to run consecutive or concurrent. Not all prior convictions count in the offender score. This CLE will also cover the many exceptions to what “counts” in the offender score, how prior conviction evidence is presented and many more sentencing issues.

This training is useful for lawyers as well as investigators and other non-lawyers who work in criminal defense who want an in depth understanding of the felony sentencing scheme in Washington. Criminal defense lawyers new to felony practice, experienced felony criminal defense lawyers who are new to Washington, and lawyers in practice areas impacted by criminal law will all find this training helpful.

To register, simply email wda@defensenet.org with Felony Part 1 in the subject line.

1.25 Law and Legal Credits have been requested from the WSBA.