Plea Offer for Serious Felony Charges

Casey Arbenz recently took over a case where the defendant was charged with four very serious felonies: two counts of rape of a child in the first degree and two counts of child molestation in the first degree. The client had been in jail awaiting trial for six months and felt he had very little information about his case.


The client had been represented by a public defender with a heavy caseload. The public defender told the defendant he had two options: (1) plead guilty to two counts of rape of a child in the first degree with an agreed sentence of 144 months in prison and lifetime of sex offender registration, or (2) go to trial and, if unsuccessful, face a sentencing range of 240 months in prison to life. The attorney was recommending the client take the plea deal.


Fearing that he had too few options and an attorney who lacked the confidence to go to trial, the defendant’s family hired Mr. Arbenz. Initially the plan was to proceed directly to trial. As such, Mr. Arbenz immediately began the process of interviewing each of the key witnesses with a court reporter present. He hired a private detective to investigate the accuser. He also sought numerous documents including cell phone, high school and medical records that might help disprove the state’s case.


On the eve of trial, the prosecutor became concerned about his ability to prove the case. He offered Mr. Arbenz’s client a non-sex offense plea offer whereby the client would be released with credit for time served and would not have to register as a sex offender. Mr. Arbenz was still prepared to try the case and seek to have his client fully vindicated. Mr. Arbenz and his client met at the jail to discuss the client’s options. After carefully analyzing all the risks and rewards of the different options the client felt confident that taking the plea was in his best interest. He was released two days later. He stopped by the office to thank Mr. Arbenz for all his hard work after leaving the Pierce County Jail.