We at Clifford Fritzell Law handle all types of criminal matters. Criminal cases are handled discreetly and aggressively. When someone is charged with a crime it is a highly stressful, extremely embarrassing and very serious matter.

Most people who make an appointment to see us have never been to a lawyer before, nor have they ever been in court before. We try very hard to take the time to explain what is going on and how this legal matter could affect their lives. We then handle the matter quickly, strategically and effectively. Some of the crimes for which we commonly defend clients include (click on each for more information):

Marijuana Smuggling and Possession

Driving Under the Influence

Sex Offenses

Domestic Assaults


Criminal Law: An Overview

Criminal law involves prosecution by the government of a person for an act that has been classified as a crime. Civil cases, on the other hand, involve individuals and organizations seeking to resolve legal disputes. In a criminal case the state, through a prosecutor, initiates the suit, while in a civil case the victim brings the suit. Persons convicted of a crime may be incarcerated, fined, or both. However, persons found liable in a civil case may only have to give up property or pay money, but are not incarcerated.

A “crime” is any act or omission (of an act) in violation of a public law forbidding or commanding it. Though there are some common law crimes, most crimes in the United States are established by local, state, and federal governments. Criminal laws vary significantly from state to state. http://www.defendmybiz.com

In Washington State the criminal statutes are located in Title 9 of the Revised Code of Washington (RCW).

Crimes include both felonies (more serious offenses — like murder or rape) and misdemeanors (less serious offenses — like shoplifting or trespass). Felonies are usually crimes punishable by imprisonment of a year or more, while misdemeanors are crimes punishable by less than a year. However, no act is a crime if it has not been previously established as such either by statute or common law. Recently, the list of Federal crimes, dealing with activities extending beyond state boundaries or having special impact on federal operations, has grown. See Title 18.

All statutes describing criminal behavior can be broken down into their various elements. Most crimes (with the exception of strict-liability crimes) consist of two elements: an act, or “actus reus,” and a mental state, or “mens rea.http://www.defendmybiz.com/employer-attorney-los-angeles/ Prosecutors have to prove each and every element of the crime to yield a conviction. Furthermore, the prosecutor must persuade the jury or judge “beyond a reasonable doubt” of every fact necessary to constitute the crime charged. In civil cases, the plaintiff needs to show a defendant is liable only by a “preponderance of the evidence,” or more than 50%.

At the Law Office of Clifford Fritzell our attorneys are well versed on the specific areas of law that apply to your case. The criminal attorneys in our office have many years of trial practice in state courts felony and misdemeanor crimes. We also have successfully handled serious cases in Federal Court.


Your Rights

If you are arrested by a peace officer of the United States, the law requires that you be advised of your rights (often called the “Miranda Rights”).  These are:

  1. You have the right to remain silent.

The Court: “At the outset, if a person in custody is to be subjected to interrogation, he must first be informed in clear and unequivocal terms that he has the right to remain silent.”

  1. Anything you say can be used against you in a court of law.

The Court: “The warning of the right to remain silent must be accompanied by the explanation that anything said can and will be used against the individual in court.”

  1. You have the right to have an attorney present now and during any future questioning.

The Court: “…the right to have counsel present at the interrogation is indispensable to the protection of the Fifth Amendment privilege under the system we delineate today. … [Accordingly] we hold that an individual held for interrogation must be clearly informed that he has the right to consult with a lawyer and to have the lawyer with him during interrogation under the system for protecting the privilege we delineate today.”

  1. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to you free of charge if you wish.

The Court: “In order fully to apprise a person interrogated of the extent of his rights under this system then, it is necessary to warn him not only that he has the right to consult with an attorney, but also that if he is indigent a lawyer will be appointed to represent him. Without this additional warning, the admonition of the right to consult with counsel would often be understood as meaning only that he can consult with a lawyer if he has one or has the funds to obtain one.

The Court continues by declaring what the police must do if the person being interrogated indicates that he or she does want a lawyer…

“If the individual states that he wants an attorney, the interrogation must cease until an attorney is present. At that time, the individual must have an opportunity to confer with the attorney and to have him present during any subsequent questioning. If the individual cannot obtain an attorney and he indicates that he wants one before speaking to police, they must respect his decision to remain silent.”


But — You can be arrested without being read your Miranda Rights

The Miranda rights do not protect you from being arrested, only from incriminating yourself during questioning. All police need to legally arrest a person is “probable cause” — an adequate reason based on facts and events to believe the person has committed a crime.

Police are required to “Read him his (Miranda) rights,” only before interrogating a suspect. While failure to do so may cause any subsequent statements to be thrown out of court, the arrest may still be legal and valid.

Also without reading the Miranda rights, police are allowed to ask routine questions like name, address, date of birth, and Social Security number necessary to establishing a person’s identity. Police can also administer alcohol and drug tests without warning, but persons being tested may refuse to answer questions during the tests.


Attorney Fritzell is committed to achieving the highest professional standards in accommodating your personal legal needs. With an office conveniently located on the shoreline in Madison, CT, we invite you to contact our office today to take advantage of a free consultation available to all new clients.