If you or a loved one have recently been arrested or are being investigated for a crime, odds are you're feeling stressed, anxious and scared. The uncertainty of what to do next when you've been accused of a criminal offense can be paralyzing - at a time when it is imperative you take immediate action. You will likely have a lot of questions like
- Will I have to go to court?
- Can I represent myself in court?
- Do I need a lawyer if I haven’t been charged yet?
- What punishments do I face if I’m found guilty of my charges?
Having to find and choose the right criminal defense attorney may be a situation you never wish to experience. You may find yourself in need of a criminal lawyer not because you intended to break the law but because you made a bad decision or have been falsely accused of a crime. No matter what charges you face, a criminal record can prevent you from obtaining the home or job that you wish. Don’t defend yourself without getting knowledgeable counsel from a Lacey criminal defense attorney who can fight the charges against you.
Hiring a good criminal defense lawyer for your case means hiring someone who will work hard, applying years of experience and skills toward the best possible result. No lawyer can guarantee a result in any criminal case. There are many variables such as the strength of prosecution evidence, whether the alleged victim suffered an injury, the defendant’s criminal history, and the predispositions of the presiding judge, to name a few. Nevertheless, your lawyer should make every effort to achieve the best result possible in your case. You should expect no less.
When you work with our experienced legal team, you have decades of real-world experience fighting for your freedom. Your WA State criminal law lawyer will aggressively fight to protect your legal rights every step of the way.
Whether you’ve been wrongly accused or believe that you may have committed a crime, our experienced Lacey criminal defense attorneys will offer you a no-cost initial consultation so that you can fully understand the legal process and the law as it applies to your specific situation. Get your free consultation today and make sure you are doing everything possible to protect your Constitutional rights.Washington State Courts Overview
If you have been arrested and accused of committing a crime in Thurston county, you will have to appear before a judge in court. There are four levels of court in the state of Washington: the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, the superior courts, and courts of limited jurisdiction, also known as District and Municipal courts. This section will focus on three of those courts, Municipal, District, and Superior Courts, as they are the three courts most relevant to criminal charges in Lacey.
The Municipal Courts are courts in the state of Washington that have jurisdiction over the violations of city ordinances. Municipal Courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, meaning they can only hear cases involving traffic infractions, simple misdemeanors, and gross misdemeanors that occur within the city limits.
Each of Washington’s 39 counties contains a district and superior court. District court, also known as “county court” is responsible for adjudicating both civil and criminal cases that violate county ordinances. District courts may also adjudicate preliminary and expedited felony charges.
Lacey has an interlocal contract with The Thurston County District Court to hear all municipal and district court cases for the city of Lacey. The District Court is located in Olympia, approximately 12 miles from Lacey.
The Thurston County Superior Court, also located in downtown Olympia, serves as the superior court for the city of Lacey. Superior courts are trial courts of general jurisdiction. 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, and estate issues. Superior courts also act as a court of appeals for cases from District and Municipal Courts. This means that a defendant can appeal to the Superior court to re-try their case if they feel that the law was not applied correctly in the trial court.“Can I Have a Criminal Charge Expunged?”
We hear this question a lot but to answer it, your Washington criminal lawyer needs to understand the details of your case. In the meantime, you can take a look at these common criminal court phrases in an effort to better understand the charges you face.
The type of court hearing you will have depends upon where you are in the criminal process. Listed below are some of the terms for different trials that you may hear a lawyer or judge refer to during a criminal case.
- Probable Cause – A preliminary hearing where the judge determines whether there is enough evidence that a crime was committed.
- Arraignment – A formal reading of a criminal complaint in the presence of the defendant to advise the defendant of the charges; the defendant enters a plea of guilty or not guilty, and the judge determines conditions of release.
- Omnibus Hearing – A hearing for the prosecuting attorney and the defense attorney to discuss pretrial matters pertaining to the case, including the admissibility of evidence obtained at the time of arrest.
- Pretrial Conference – An informal hearing held by the prosecuting attorney, the defense attorney, and the defendant.
- Readiness Hearing – A hearing set shortly before trial to determine whether the case is ready for trial.
- Sentencing – A sentencing hearing only occurs when the defendant has been found guilty, either by trial or by entering a guilty plea, and judgment is imposed; sentencing may include testimony by victims as well as witnesses on the defendant’s behalf.
- Trial – A formal proceeding where evidence and witnesses are presented and the defendant’s guilt is determined.
When you have been charged with a crime, you need representation you can trust. A criminal conviction in Washington can impact your life in a variety of ways, so it is in your best interest to reach out to an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Lacey for help sooner than later. Contact us today to start your free initial consultation.How Can a Lacey Criminal Defense Attorney Help You?
The criminal justice system in Thurston County and throughout Washington State presents a maze of options, rules, and pitfalls. Having a criminal defense lawyer in your corner early on ensures you do not inadvertently say the wrong thing to the police or other law enforcement agency. It is easier for both you and your attorney to obtain the best possible outcome in your case if you hire or retain a criminal defense lawyer to properly represent you from beginning to end.
Listed below are just a few examples of charges our criminal defense team has handled in the past.
Harassment - Harassment can be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the nature of the case. In Washington, a person is guilty of harassment if:
- Without lawful authority, the person knowingly threatens:
- To cause bodily injury immediately or in the future to the person threatened or to any other person; or
- To cause physical damage to the property of a person other than the actor; or
- To subject the person threatened or any other person to physical confinement or restraint; or
- Maliciously to do any other act which is intended to substantially harm the person threatened or another with respect to his or her physical or mental health or safety; and
- The person by words or conduct places the person threatened in reasonable fear that the threat will be carried out. “Words or conduct” includes, in addition to any other form of communication or conduct, the sending of electronic communication.
Sex Crimes- Being accused of a sex crime in Washington State can lead to a massive impact on your personal life and freedoms, and many long-lasting complications. Sex Crimes include statutory rape, molestation, solicitation of a minor on the internet, and other serious offenses. These crimes lead to significant punishments including jail time and being listed on a sex offender registry.“Will I Have to Register as a Sex Offender if I’m Convicted?”
The type of offenses and penalties vary depending on the nature of the alleged act, the relationship between the defendant and the alleged victim, and the capacity of the alleged victim to consent to sexual activity. Many convictions of a sex offense under Washington law require registration as a sex offender. Registered sex offenders may have prohibitions on where they can live or work, and they must maintain their registrations and keep the state notified of their whereabouts. Our team will help you navigate these potentially devastating charges.
DUI- Every DUI case is unique. Did you know that you can get pulled over for a DUI even if you aren’t actively driving the car? Washington state law decrees that it is against the law to operate or be “in physical control” of a vehicle:
- With a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .08% or higher
- With a THC concentration of 5 nanograms or more per milliliter of blood or
- While the person is under the combined influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor and any drug
While the law itself seems straightforward, there are many circumstances and situations that will require a unique defense for every charge. Under this law, you may still be charged with a DUI even if you didn’t fail a breathalyzer if you appear to still be affected by drugs or alcohol at the time.
Physical Control Violations- Even if you’re not driving a vehicle, you can be charged with this crime in Washington State. Prosecutors will charge you with this crime if they believe you could turn the key and drive away from wherever you are. This means that even if you are in the back seat or passenger seat-if you have access to the keys, you can be charged with this violation.
A Washington State physical control charge is identical in punishment to a DUI charge. A skilled criminal defense attorney may be able to argue a defense called “Safety on the Roadway,” if it applies to your situation. Our team knows the intricacies of this law and its defenses and will fight to reduce the sentence or get the charges dropped altogether.
Assault- Washington state assault charges come in varying degrees and carry various penalties:
- Assault in the 1st degree is a class A felony and is commonly referred to as “assault with a deadly weapon.”
- 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.
While these charges are serious, we want you to rest assured that your future is in experienced hands. Our team of Lacey defense attorneys is committed to getting the best outcome for your case, whether that involves the dismissal of charges, reduced charges, or taking your case to trial.
If you don’t see your charges listed on this website, don’t hesitate to contact us about your case. Our Washington state criminal defense lawyers have handled almost every type of criminal prosecution, from simple misdemeanors to complex felonies, and have represented thousands of individuals from all walks of life. We successfully represent criminal clients in municipal, district, and superior courts.Lacey - Because “Woodland” Was Already Taken
Lacey was originally called Woodland after settlers Isaac and Catherine Wood, who claimed land there in 1853. In 1891 the town of Woodland applied for a post office and was denied because there was already a town called Woodland on the Columbia River. Thus Woodland was re-named Lacey, after O.C. Lacey, the local Justice of the Peace.
Situated on the southern tip of Puget Sound, Lacey is the current home of over 40 thousand residents. The climate is mild. It seldom gets hotter than 90 degrees Fahrenheit, and in the warmer summer months they have their dry season, so it doesn’t get humid. In the winter, there are very few days when the highs stay below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, so it only snows occasionally in Lacey.
Such mild climate changes make Lacey a haven for nature enthusiasts. There are five freshwater lakes within the city, miles of hiking and biking paths, several championship golf courses, more than 1,200 acres of public parkland, and the adjoining 3,700-acre Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge provide residents with virtually unlimited opportunities for outdoor recreation. There is also the Lacey-Thurston Regional Sports Complex, a 100-acre complex that has sports fields for soccer, softball, baseball, volleyball, and many other athletic pursuits. If you like sports, Lacey is a place you’re going to love.
Every May Lacey hosts the Lacey Spring Fun Fair, a carnival that lasts for 3 days. Festivities include pony rides, musical performances, local artists selling crafts, and a car show. Fairs were made for families but a criminal conviction could mean missing these cherished moments while taking in the view of a small prison cell. If you’ve been charged with a crime, now is the time to fight to protect your freedom with help from one of our qualified Washington State criminal law lawyers.How a Lacey Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help You
A lot of information can be found on the pages of this site that can address some of the questions you may have as well as providing a basic understanding of how to move forward. Depending on the charges brought by the prosecution, you may need a talented, experienced Lacey criminal attorney to go to bat as your advocate and address any charges that may have been filed.
Any criminal charge can have a devastating effect on your reputation and your livelihood. If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges, you will no doubt contemplate how best to handle your particular case, for good reason. Washington has some of the most severe punishments in the country, depending on the charge.
Choosing a qualified criminal lawyer in Washington is one of the most important choices you will ever make. You need to trust your attorney and that trust begins with the belief that they will aggressively pursue your interests without every wavering. Are we the right team of lawyers for you? Give us a call and find out. We won’t pressure you in any way because we understand that we aren’t always the best fit for everyone.
Our Lacey criminal law attorneys have over 50 combined years of experience helping people with cases just like yours. Contact us today, and let us put our experience and skill to work for you.