Whether it’s your first time being charged with a crime or you have been involved in the system before, facing criminal charges can be scary. A zealous Bonney Lake criminal defense attorney can help, starting with a free initial consultation where we will listen to your story and advise you on your rights and best options for defending yourself.
When you are charged with a crime in Pierce County, whether it’s a misdemeanor like shoplifting or a very serious felony like vehicular homicide or sexual assault, you're very likely overwhelmed with anxiety and fear about what happens next. You probably have dozens of questions, such as-
- What is the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony in Pierce County?
- Will I have to appear in court if I’ve been charged with a crime in Bonney Lake?
- Do I need a defense attorney to fight criminal charges in Bonney Lake if I’m innocent?
- How do I choose the right Bonney Lake criminal defense attorney for my charge?
It’s imperative for your peace of mind that you find an attorney who can answer any questions you may have about your case. The circumstances around every arrest, criminal charge, and court case are unique, which is why we offer a free initial consultation to allow you to speak to one of our Bonney Lake legal professionals, talk about your case and learn how our firm can help. Our main goal in the free consultation is to help you understand how Washington state law applies to your situation, what to expect, and your options for moving forward.
The first step we take in helping all prospective clients is by offering some basic knowledge about criminal charges in Pierce County. We have designed this website as a way to offer a glimpse at some of the criminal charges our Bonney Lake defense attorneys have handled, how the criminal court system in Pierce County operates, and why you should choose our firm to represent you. After you read through the materials provided, we encourage you to contact our firm, so that we can answer any other questions you may have regarding the specifics of your case.The Washington Criminal Courts System Explained by a Bonney Lake Defense Attorney
Combining years of rigorous law study with hands-on experience in the criminal court system in Pierce County, our legal professionals have a detailed understanding of how the criminal justice system works in Washington state.
If you have been charged with a crime in Pierce County, you will most likely need to make an appearance in court. There are three main criminal court locations in Pierce County, the municipal court, district court, and superior court. Which court you will have to appear in depends upon several factors, including the nature of your criminal charge, and the location the alleged criminal act occurred in. Listed below is some general information on each of the criminal courts you may encounter in Pierce County.
Municipal Court is the lowest level of the criminal court system in Pierce County. All municipal courts deal with town and/or city code violations. Municipal courts are considered courts of limited jurisdiction, which means that they may only adjudicate non-criminal parking tickets, traffic, and non-traffic infractions, including some simple misdemeanors.
A simple misdemeanor is the least serious type of criminal charge in Pierce County. If convicted of a simple misdemeanor, you may face penalties of up-to 90 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. Common simple misdemeanor charges seen in Pierce County include shoplifting and disorderly conduct.
Pierce County has several municipal courts, including Bonney Lake Municipal Court, which is located on Main street in the city of Bonney Lake, and serves as the Municipal court for not only Bonney Lake, but Eatonville, Sumner, and South Prairie as well.
The next level of criminal court in Pierce County is the district court, also known as the “county court.” District Courts are also courts of limited jurisdiction and are responsible for adjudicating cases involving some city and county or state code violations. Any gross misdemeanor charges incurred in Bonney Lake will need to be adjudicated at the District Court.
A gross misdemeanor is a more serious charge than a simple misdemeanor. If convicted of a gross misdemeanor in Pierce County, you may face up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $5,000. Some common gross misdemeanor cases seen in Bonney Lake include DUI and certain cases of Domestic Violence.
The Pierce County District Court is located in downtown Tacoma and serves all cities within the county.
The highest level of criminal court for Pierce County residents is called the superior court. A Superior Court may consider all civil and criminal matters occurring within a county's boundary, and has exclusive jurisdiction over cases involving felonies, family law, juvenile court, and estate issues. Superior courts also act as a court of appeals for cases from District and Municipal Courts. The Pierce County Superior Court is also located in downtown Tacoma.
A felony charge is the most serious criminal charge in Washington state. The severity of the offense will determine the type of felony charge. Washington uses three different classes to categorize felony offenses;
- Class A Felony is the most severe felony charge. It is punishable by up to life in a state correctional facility and/or up-to a $50,000 fine. An example of a Class A felony would be first-degree murder.
- Class B Felony is punishable by up to 10 years in a state correctional facility and/or up-to a $20,000 fine. An example of a Class B felony would be second-degree manslaughter.
- Class C Felony is punishable by up to 5 years in a state correctional facility and/or up-to a $10,000 fine. An example of a Class C felony would be third-degree assault.
Our Bonney Lake criminal defense lawyers have experience arguing cases in every level of criminal court in Pierce County. If you need someone on your side with experience navigating the Pierce County criminal court system, contact our Bonney Lake criminal law attorneys today.Criminal Charges Our Bonney Lake Defense Attorneys Have Handled
Defending a criminal case in Pierce County goes beyond helping clients avoid lengthy jail sentences. It's about protecting your job, reputation, driver's license, record, and future.
We understand that you are currently on a path that could lead to dire consequences if swift action is not taken. When you are arrested, it is vital that you do not answer questions or speak to law enforcement before your legal counsel is present. Our Bonney Lake criminal defense attorneys can help you develop a legal strategy that gives you the best chance of a positive outcome and use our extensive knowledge to seek results.
Our team of experienced Pierce County legal professionals can handle all types of criminal cases that occur in Bonney Lake, including
DUI- As in all states, Washington takes a hard line with drunk and/or drugged driving. If you or a loved one have been arrested for DUI in Bonney Lake, you face a variety of penalties along with the collateral damage of a permanent criminal record. You may believe that fighting a DUI is a lost cause but many defense strategies may be available that could result in a case dismissal, minimal punishments, or even dropped charges. However, to do this you will need the services of a knowledgeable and experienced Bonney Lake DUI attorney who knows how to investigate and challenge the evidence being used against you.
Negligent Driving- If you or a loved one have been arrested for or given a citation for negligent driving in Bonney Lake, you may be confused as to what the charge means. The state statute regarding Negligent driving is left purposefully vague, basically saying that a person can be charged with negligent driving if “he or she operates a motor vehicle in a manner that is both negligent and endangers or is likely to endanger any person or property.” Our Pierce County criminal defense attorneys have experience fighting negligent driving charges in Bonney Lake and across the rest of the county. If you feel you’ve been unfairly charged with negligent driving, or are just looking to avoid possible jail time or fines for careless driving, contact our Bonney Lake criminal defense attorneys to help you fight the charges.
Minor in Possession- Washington state has criminalized the act of possessing alcohol if the person is a minor, otherwise known as a MIP. Because of the long-term implications, criminal charges may have on a minor, it is important to fight any accusation aggressively. Defending a case in juvenile court is vastly different from an adult criminal case. Because of this, it is crucial to work with an attorney who has experience in these types of cases.
Domestic Violence- Often, people think of domestic violence strictly in terms of spousal abuse, but the legal definition of domestic violence encompasses so much more. According to state RCW 26.50.010 “Domestic violence" means: (a) Physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury or assault, sexual assault, or stalking of one intimate partner by another intimate partner; or (b) physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury or assault, sexual assault, or stalking of one family or household member by another family or household member.” The definition of family or household member goes beyond just spouses or domestic partners and includes
- Adults related by blood or marriage
- Roommates or former roommates
- Parents or step-parents
- Former spouses or domestic partners
Forgery or Fraud- Though they are often portrayed as "less serious" than other types of criminal charges, crimes such as forgery and fraud can carry serious fines and even jail time for those convicted. Our criminal law defense attorneys have a great deal of experience fighting these types of white-collar criminal charges.
These are just a few of the types of cases our Bonney Lake criminal law attorneys have handled throughout Pierce County. If you have any questions about your specific charge or want to find out if we can help you with a criminal matter that isn’t listed on our website, please contact our firm for a no-cost case consultation. Regardless of the charges you're facing we put all our resources to work to aggressively defend your rights.Bonney Lake- An Oasis for Outdoor Enthusiasts
Bordered by the popular Lake Tapps, the city of Bonney Lake was incorporated in 1949, and is currently home to approximately 20,000 residents. Because of its proximity to Lake Tapps, and the plethora of other outdoor activities offered, Bonney Lake has had a booming population increase, as the number of inhabitants has more than doubled since the year 2000. One major accomplishment that has helped Bonney Lake entice more residents to move into town is that in early 2014, Bonney Lake was listed as one of the top Ten Washington Cities in which to purchase a home.
The city is a family-friendly and active community, evidenced by the number of people enjoying local resources like parks, lakes, and hiking trails on sunny days. One of the most popular destinations is Allan Yorke Park, which offers public access to Lake Tapps for swimming and boating activities, as well as forested areas that are equipped with miles of trails for hiking and biking. In the summertime, the park hosts events such as Taste at Tapps, Tunes at Tapps, and Movie Night in the Park.
Another reason many people choose to call Bonney Lake home is its proximity to Tacoma, the 3rd largest city in Washington state, behind Seattle and Spokane. With a daily commute of only 16 miles, many Pierce County residents choose to live in Bonney Lake and travel the short distance to Tacoma for work or to partake in the many activities, restaurants, and entertainments a large city offers.
Our Pierce County criminal defense attorneys are dedicated to serving the legal needs of all residents and visitors to Bonney Lake. If you or a loved one have been arrested in Bonney Lake and need an experienced criminal defense attorney, contact our firm today.How a Bonney Lake Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help You
If you or a loved one have been charged with a crime in Pierce County, you should know that the police and prosecutor are not on your side, and in fact, have an interest in getting the most convictions possible to seem “tough on crime.” You may think that you can handle this situation by yourself, but if you’re looking for the best possible outcome for your charges, you need to hire an experienced Bonney Lake criminal defense attorney.
You need someone to investigate whether the actions of the police in your case were legal and appropriate, to determine the weaknesses in the state’s case against you, and to learn what the witnesses will say and what evidence has been collected.
What distinguishes our firm from the numerous law firms throughout western Washington is that we genuinely care about the well-being of our clients. The experienced legal professionals at our Bonney Lake criminal defense firm ensure that every client receives hands-on and personalized attention throughout the life of their case.
Don’t leave your case to chance based on something like the appearance of friendliness of the local law enforcement, or advice from people in your life who watch a lot of police procedurals on television. Be sure that you have someone on your side who has knowledge, experience, and a clear, accurate understanding of what the law is in your case.
To learn more or to schedule a free case evaluation, contact our Bonney Lake Criminal Defense Attorneys today.Bonney Lake Criminal Law Lawyers
Have you or a loved one been arrested in Bonney Lake? If so, you’re likely looking for some answers to questions such as these:
- What are my rights if I’m arrested?
- Do you go to jail if you’re arrested?
- What should you not do when arrested?
- Should you ever talk to police without a lawyer?
These are all good questions that you should be asking. In short, you do have legal rights. You may go to jail after you’re arrested, depending on the nature of your charges. And you should never talk to any authorities before ensuring a qualified Washington criminal lawyer is at your side.
When a person is arrested and charged with a criminal offense, The Constitution guarantees that person the right to representation from a competent attorney. Our team of Bonney Lake criminal defense lawyers wants to give our clients the representation they need and deserve.
Most people charged with crimes want to minimize the penalties and protect their criminal records. Clients want an experienced lawyer who can help them fight their charges and keep them out of jail.
For our clients, a criminal charge in Pierce County is a catastrophic disruption in their daily routine. Many are unable to sleep or concentrate at work, living in constant fear about repercussions that may or may not ever come to pass. After speaking with our team during the initial, no-cost consultation, our clients often report finding peace of mind.
Criminal defense is about more than the system, law, or best/worst-case outcomes. It is about you. It is about getting you back to the life that you had before the arrest. During the initial consultation, we are able to give our clients an honest view of their situation and uncover defenses that our clients often didn’t realize existed. This is because a winning defense is often buried in the facts of the case. Although every case is different, the path to success, and getting you back to where you were before your arrest, starts with your consultation.Understanding the Washington State Criminal Court Process, a Glossary of Terms
If you are dealing with any type of criminal matter, you will have a distinct advantage if you are familiar with court and legal proceedings. Understanding what to expect can help prepare you to do whatever you can to preserve your rights and interests when they are at risk.
In light of this, our Bonney Lake criminal defense team offers the following basic dictionary of terms you may hear throughout your criminal court process.
Arraignment- A criminal court proceeding where the defendant is called before a judge in a court, informed of the charges against them, and asked to enter a plea.
District Court- Courts of limited Jurisdiction that hear traffic infractions, criminal traffic citations, misdemeanors and gross misdemeanors, civil cases with an amount in controversy less than $100,000, and small claims suits. The Pierce County District Court is located in Tacoma and serves all cities within the county.
Felony- Felonies are crimes that may be punishable by time in a state correctional facility, as opposed to county jail. These are the most serious criminal charges in Washington state. There are three levels of felony charges:
- Class A Felony- carries a sentence of up to life in prison and/or fines up to $50,000.
- Class B Felony- carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison and/or fines of up to $20,000.
- Class C Felony- carries a sentence of up to 5 years in prison and/or fines of up to $10,000.
Grand Jury- The functions of a grand jury are to hear, examine and investigate evidence concerning criminal activity and corruption and to take action with respect to such evidence.
Indictment- A formal accusation by a grand jury that charges a person with a crime. Indictments are used to bring more serious charges.
Misdemeanor- A misdemeanor is regarded as a more minor criminal offense, punishable by less than 12 months in jail. There are two categories of misdemeanors, defined by the punishments applicable to each charge.
- Simple Misdemeanors are punishable by up to 90 days in jail and/or up-to a $1,000 fine. Some simple misdemeanor charges include shoplifting and disorderly conduct.
- Gross Misdemeanors are punishable by up to 364 days in jail and/or up-to a $5,000 fine. Some examples of gross misdemeanor charges include DUI and reckless driving.
Municipal Court- Municipal Courts are courts of limited jurisdiction like state District Courts, but Municipal Courts may not hear civil lawsuits. A Municipal Court may only consider and has exclusive jurisdiction over non-criminal traffic citations, as well as misdemeanor and gross misdemeanor crimes that occur within a city's boundary. The Bonney Lake Municipal Court serves as the city court for both Bonney Lake and Sumner.
Perjury- The intentional act of swearing a false oath or falsifying an affirmation to tell the truth, whether spoken or in writing, concerning matters material to a court proceeding.
Plea- A plea is simply an answer made by a defendant to a claim/charge made by the government in court. There are 3 ways a defendant might plead: guilty, not guilty, or no contest.
Probation- Allowing a person convicted of some offense to remain free under a suspension of a jail sentence during good behavior and generally under the supervision or guardianship of a probation officer together with other restrictions as the court may impose.
Subpoena- An order issued by the court, usually requiring you to appear at a certain place, date, and time to testify as a witness about a particular case.
Superior Court- Trial courts of general jurisdiction in Washington. A Superior Court may consider all civil and criminal matters occurring within a county's boundary, and has exclusive jurisdiction over felony cases as well as family and probate matters. The Pierce County Superior Court is located in Tacoma and serves as the Superior court for all cities in the county.How Can a Bonney Lake Criminal Defense Attorney Help You?
There are numerous ways a qualified WA State criminal law lawyer can help you deal with the difficulties associated with a criminal charge. First and foremost, we help you understand the charges you face, the penalties associated with a conviction, and then ascertain the best way to prepare your defense.
We defend our clients against many types of crimes, including:
Domestic Violence- Domestic violence situations unfold in a matter of minutes, but the impact on the lives of those involved can be lasting. From a legal standpoint, domestic violence charges require a calculated defense strategy to ensure a defendant’s rights are protected. Domestic violence is characterized as much by the relationship between those involved as it is the actions alleged to have occurred.
Examples of domestic violence crimes include assault, harassment, and violation of a No Contact Order. Allegations of domestic assault and battery are taken very seriously in Washington. The offense is often harshly-prosecuted, with penalties and long-term consequences often far over what one would receive for a conventional assault or battery charge.
DUI- Should I submit to a breathalyzer if I get pulled over in Bonney Lake? This is one of the most common questions our criminal defense attorneys get asked in Pierce County. All motorists in Washington are subject to an “implied consent” law.
This states that if you choose to drive on a public roadway, you are automatically willing to submit to any chemical testing if you are ever suspected of driving while intoxicated. Furthermore, refusal to take such a test will create an automatic suspension of your driver’s license. A single conviction for a DUI in Washington can leave a major, negative impact on your life. The best way to secure your freedom is to hire a Bonney Lake DUI defense lawyer.
Assault- Assault is a criminal charge defined by a harmful or offensive touch or even just the threat of harm being inflicted. This means that, in Washington state, you can still be charged with assault even if you never physically touched another person. Just the implied threat of violence is enough to merit a simple assault charge. Washington state law divides assault into four categories
- Assault in the 1st degree is a class A felony and is commonly referred to as “assault with a deadly weapon.” Washington State Statute RCW 9A.36.011 defines Assault in the First Degree as “(1) A person is guilty of assault in the first degree if he or she, with intent to inflict great bodily harm:
- (a) Assaults another with a firearm or any deadly weapon or by any force or means likely to produce great bodily harm or death; or
- (b) Transmits HIV to a child or vulnerable adult; or
- (c) Administers, exposes, or transmits to or causes to be taken by another, poison or any other destructive or noxious substance; or
- (d) Assaults another and inflicts great bodily harm.
- Assault in the 2nd degree is a class B felony unless the crime is considered to have a sexual motivation, which would make it a class A felony.
- Assault in the 3rd degree is a class C felony. It involves assault against a law enforcement officer, peace officer, nurse, physician, judicial officer, court-related employee, firefighter, transit operator, school bus driver, or anyone acting in a professional capacity.
- Assault in the 4th degree, commonly called “simple” assault, is considered a gross misdemeanor. This is the most common assault charge in Washington state.
Drug Crimes- Under federal and state laws, it’s a crime to willfully possess certain illegal, controlled substances along with chemicals and paraphernalia used in making and consuming the drugs. In the last few years, there has been a marked increase in the severity of penalties for drug crimes. Whether you were picked up for simple drug possession or are under investigation for involvement in a drug trafficking ring, your criminal charges must be addressed quickly and correctly.
Hit & Run- Things happen and people panic. In Washington State, a Hit and Run is considered a criminal offense. If you are charged with Hit & Run, don't take it lightly. Washington state law sets forth that there are two levels of hit & run offenses
- Hit & Run Unattended is the lower level of hit & run charges. When a driver collides with an unattended vehicle, they are required to immediately stop and locate the owner or leave a written note (including their name and address) in a conspicuous place if the driver cannot be located. The crime of Hit and Run of an Unattended Vehicle occurs when a driver leaves the scene without giving the owner of the vehicle their contact information. This is charged as a misdemeanor in Washington State.
- Hit and Run Attended is charged as a gross misdemeanor. When a driver in Washington State strikes another vehicle that is occupied, they are required to stop immediately and provide the other driver with the following information: name, address, insurance information, and driver's license information. If a driver flees the scene and fails to stop and exchange information, it could result in a conviction of a Hit and Run of an Attended Vehicle.
A Spokane Hit and Run charge can adversely affect your driving privileges. It's wise to get a Free Consultation with one of our Spokane Criminal Lawyers so you discover all your options.
Our team of Pierce County criminal lawyers is committed to keeping our clients well informed about the progression of their cases. We are equally dedicated to treating each client with personal service and attention. We understand how the possible consequences can impact you, so we seek big results every time. Protect your rights and your future by contacting a Bonney Lake criminal defense attorney today for a free consultation on the specifics of your case.Bonney Lake, a Charming Hamlet in the Heart of Pierce County
In 1850, the first European settlers arrived in the Bonney Lake area. They traveled across the Naches Trail, following paths made by Native American tribes on their east-west crossing. It wasn’t until 1946 that Bonney Lake was established as a town. Prior to that year, citizens of the city had no electricity or water services available. Today Bonney Lake is home to approximately 18,000 residents who were likely drawn to its temperate climate, small-town vibe, and stunning views. In early 2014, Bonney Lake was listed as one of the top Ten Washington Cities in which to purchase a home.
The city is a family-friendly and active community. Allan Yorke Park offers public access for swimming and boating activities, and forested areas are equipped with miles of trails for hiking and biking. In the summertime, the park hosts The Bonney Lake Days, a celebration of the city with stage shows, activities for kids, vendor booths, and fun competitions.
Another popular event held at Allan Yorke Park is the Taste of Tapps. Every year in July the community gathers for a day of music in the park with food trucks and beverages supplied by local foothills breweries.
Enjoying a concert in the park is one of life’s simple pleasures, but it’s impossible to participate if you’re sitting in a jail cell many miles away. Don’t take any chances when it comes to your freedom. Instead, get help from a qualified Bonney Lake criminal law lawyer who understands how important your freedom is to you and your family.
If you are searching for experienced, highly qualified, and devoted legal representation in Bonney Lake, contact our Washington criminal law attorneys today to schedule a free initial consultation.Why Should I Hire a Bonney Lake Criminal Defense Attorney?
Being charged with a crime is one of the most frightening and overwhelming situations most people ever encounter. The system tends to make people accused of a crime feel that it is impossible to receive a fair trial.
Retaining a lawyer as soon as possible after you’ve been charged remains the soundest strategy for assuring you receive the strongest defense possible given the details of your case. Our Bonney Lake criminal defense attorneys strive to aggressively protect the rights of our clients, to ensure that they receive a fair trial, and work tirelessly to employ all legal means to lessen the impact of the charges or have them dismissed altogether.
A skilled Washington criminal defense attorney will know exactly which details to be mindful of when examining the circumstances of your arrest. In some instances, your attorney may be able to get charges dropped, while in others the attorney may be able to get the charges reduced to a lesser charge. If you stand accused in Pierce county don’t hesitate to contact our firm for more information about your rights according to the law.