Pierce County Criminal Defense Lawyer
Were you, or a loved one, arrested in Pierce County for allegedly committing a criminal offense?
Do not make any kind of statement to authorities until you have legal representation. We can’t stress this enough because when they say, “Anything you say can be used against you in a court of law,” they mean it. If you're being pressured to make a statement to the police or the district attorney, make sure you have a qualified Washington criminal law lawyer by your side, even if you are entirely innocent.
Getting arrested is one of the most daunting things that will ever happen to you. Whether it’s the first time or something you’ve experienced before, you will probably have a million questions like
- Where is the best place to learn about the charges I face?
- Will I have to appear in court?
- How can I fight these charges against me?
- When should I hire a lawyer?
- Should I speak to the police if I’m innocent of the charges?
The anxiety and fear we feel tends to get exaggerated in our minds, and this can be the worst part of the entire process. If you call our experienced Pierce County criminal defense lawyers, we can help you put your situation into perspective and better understand your options. Our team will work with you to develop effective defense strategies for your case. An attorney who is familiar with the Washington State criminal courts, agencies, procedures, and various legal defenses can help protect your rights and make sure that your case has the best possible outcome.
Don’t make the mistake of appearing in court unprepared and without legal representation. The prosecutor is not going to help you with your case. He or she has a team of assistants and investigators trying to convict you of a crime. The judge is not going to help you win your case. Consult with a criminal defense lawyer and have someone in court speaking on your behalf.
Our Washington State criminal lawyers all offer a no-cost initial consultation for every client. We would be happy to discuss the particulars of your case, and how we can help you. Call us today and let us help you lift the weight off of your shoulders.Our Washington State Criminal Attorneys Explain Common Court Terms
If you've been arrested, are awaiting arraignment, or have a trial date coming up, it isn't too late to access professional assistance. Knowledge is power, and your ability to take charge of your situation depends on a clear understanding of the case against you.
The resources below attempt to assist you in gaining some preliminary knowledge of the Washington court system. It is, however, no substitute for consultation with legal counsel. We encourage you to read through this website and then contact our firm immediately for a free consultation on your case.
Appeal- A challenge to a previous legal determination. An appeal is directed towards a legal power higher than the power making the challenged determination. For example, if you are found guilty of a simple misdemeanor in municipal court, you may appeal your case in the District Court.
Arraignment- The first step in a criminal proceeding. An arraignment is a hearing at which a criminal defendant is formally advised of the charges against him or her and asked to enter a plea to the charges.
District Court- Deals with city and state code violations. Pierce County District Court, located in Tacoma, hears all misdemeanor and gross misdemeanor criminal cases including criminal traffic citations within the city limits.
Docket- A record of all cases and actions scheduled to be heard in court, whether or not the matter is heard in court on a particular day.
Felony- A felony is a far more serious charge than a misdemeanor. The severity of the offense may 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.
Misdemeanor- A misdemeanor is a crime 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- Deals with town and/or city code violations. As a court of limited jurisdiction, Municipal Courts may only adjudicate non-criminal parking tickets, traffic, and non-traffic infractions. Pierce County has several municipal courts, including Bonney Lake Municipal Court and Tacoma Municipal Court.
Nolo Contendere- from the Latin phrase “I do not wish to contend.” It is also referred to as a plea of “no contest.” This plea has the same effect as pleading guilty, although the defendant is neither pleading guilty nor not guilty to the charge.
Plea- The response by an accused defendant to each charge of the commission of a crime.
Sentencing- The judgment formally pronounced by the judge upon the defendant after his conviction in a criminal prosecution, setting the punishment for the offense.
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, 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 located in Tacoma.
If you have been charged with a crime in Pierce County, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer representing you in court. Protect your rights. Did the police illegally search you, your house, or your car? Did law enforcement seize evidence illegally to be used against you in court? Were you read your Miranda Rights during your arrest? The government often charges people with committing crimes based on a witness allegation, a law enforcement officer’s opinion, or evidence that may be unreliable or inadmissible in a court of law. A good criminal defense lawyer knows and has experience with all of these circumstances and will point out these problems in the prosecutor’s case to prove your innocence.
In addition to providing a comprehensive defense for your case, you’ll also be provided with the knowledge of what to expect through every step of the criminal court process. Not all cases go to trial, but those that do can lead to critical consequences for you. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that all attorneys are the same. Contact our Pierce County criminal defense lawyers today to get started on your free consultation.How Can a Tumwater Criminal Law Attorney Help Me?
Everyone makes mistakes. When these mistakes lead to serious criminal charges, you need the help of an experienced attorney to limit the impact on your life.
When you’re notified that you are the focus of an investigation or when charges of a crime are lodged against you, the most critical choice you make is deciding which criminal defense lawyer should be chosen to represent your interests and defend your rights.
Some of the charges our team of experienced Washington State criminal law attorneys have handled include-
Assault- Washington state law doesn’t define “assault” in its criminal code, so state courts rely on common law, which defines it as intentionally inflicting unwanted physical harm. Did you know that harm (for the purposes of the legal definition) doesn’t mean actual physical injury to the victim? It does, however, require that the action caused the victim to fear actual harm. If you’ve been accused of assault, it’s imperative to seek immediate counsel from a qualified WA State criminal defense attorney.
DUI- It is illegal to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol in the state of Washington. State Statute RCW 46.61.502 has this to say about driving under the influence;
- A person is guilty of driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, marijuana, or any drug if the person drives a vehicle within this state:
- And the person has, within two hours after driving, an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher as shown by analysis of the person's breath or blood made under RCW 46.61.506; or
- The person has, within two hours after driving, a THC concentration of 5.00 or higher as shown by analysis of the person's blood made under RCW 46.61.506; or
- While the person is under the influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor, marijuana, or any drug; or
- While the person is under the combined influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor, marijuana, and any drug.
The penalties for a DUI conviction are severe, even if it’s your first offense. Fines, jail time, suspended driver’s licenses, and a criminal record are all things you should avoid at all costs. An experienced Pierce County DUI lawyer can help you fight for your freedom.
Reckless Driving- State statute defines Reckless Driving as “any person who drives any vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.” Some examples of Reckless Driving include
- Fleeing from Law Enforcement
- Road Rage
A conviction for Reckless Driving carries a mandatory 30-day suspension of your driver’s license in addition to other penalties, including fines or jail time.
Theft- Theft involves the unlawful taking of something from another, whether an individual or business. Theft crime in Pierce County can be as simple as writing a hot check, credit card abuse, theft of services, or shoplifting. Theft also includes possession of stolen goods, theft of cable or satellite services, or the unauthorized taking of a motor vehicle.
Theft charges can be confusing. Consider what Statute RCW 9A.56.030, Theft in the first degree,has to say about this serious criminal charge.
- Except as provided in RCW 9A.56.400, a person is guilty of theft in the first degree if he or she commits theft of:
- Property or services which exceed(s) five thousand dollars in value other than a firearm as defined in RCW 9.41.010;
- Property of any value, other than a firearm as defined in RCW 9.41.010 or a motor vehicle, taken from the person of another;
- A search and rescue dog, as defined in RCW 9.91.175, while the search and rescue dog is on duty; or
- Commercial metal property, nonferrous metal property, or private metal property, as those terms are defined in RCW 19.290.010, and the costs of the damage to the owner's property exceed five thousand dollars in value.
- Theft in the first degree is a class B felony.
These are just a few of the criminal charges our experienced team of Pierce County criminal defense lawyers has handled. With over 50 combined years of experience, there are very few charges our team hasn’t overseen in Washington state. Contact our office today for a no-cost case evaluation.Pierce County, Come for the View, Stay for the Arts
Established in 1852 by the Oregon Territory Legislature, Pierce County was named in honor of the newly elected President of the United States of America Franklin Pierce. Now home to over three-quarters of a million residents, Pierce County is the second-most populous county in Washington state, right behind King County.
Pierce County is home to Mount Rainier, arguably the most famous natural landmark in Washington state. Not only is Mount Rainier the tallest mountain in the Cascades Range, but it is also an active volcano. If you’re looking for an up-close view of Mount Rainier, or Tahoma as it’s known to locals, be sure to visit Mount Rainier National Park. Established in 1899, Mount Rainier National Park was one of the first five national parks to be established. Visitors and locals can enjoy exploring the Wonderland Trail, which is 93-miles long and encompasses the base of the mountain.
Another popular outdoor activity that several Pierce County cities participate in is the Daffodil Festival. Originated in 1934 as a parade between the cities of Puyallup and Sumner, the parade route now travels through Puyallup, Sumner, Tacoma, and Orting.
Visitors seeking indoor activities to escape the weather will find many opportunities to explore the vibrant arts scene around Pierce County. Tacoma, in particular, is known for its world-famous glass art scene. The Museum of Glass is a popular spot not just for its amazing works of art, but also for the architecture and outdoor artworks.
Being arrested and charged with a crime in Pierce County can feel like standing inside of an active volcano. Don’t let your life erupt. Contact our experienced criminal defense team today for a free initial consultation.When Should You Hire a Pierce County Criminal Defense Attorney?
If you’ve been charged with a crime in Pierce County, you may be tempted to represent yourself in court. Your reasons for attempting this likely stem from the costs associated with hiring an attorney, but you really can’t put a price tag on your future, your freedom, or your criminal record.
Although the answer may seem obvious, the sooner you hire a criminal defense attorney after being charged with a crime, the better. When a criminal defense attorney is on board right from the beginning, they will be better able to build a solid defense on your behalf.
You need an attorney who considers the big picture and is concerned about the lasting impact that a criminal charge can have on your life. Our team of Pierce County criminal law attorneys has over 50 years of combined criminal defense experience. We have seen the impact of criminal convictions on people. We know how to properly advise you of all the consequences you are facing and will fight to protect you at every turn.
Regardless of what type of crime you’ve been charged with, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help. We know how to fight against convictions, and we can formulate a defense that will work for your unique case. Contact our Pierce County criminal defense lawyers today to protect your rights in court.