Too often, honorable citizens of Puyallup have found themselves on the wrong side of the criminal legal system. If you're one of the many that have been arrested on a Washington State criminal offense, we can help.
Whether you or someone you care about was arrested and charged with a crime, you probably are feeling a great deal of anxiety. This is normal. After all, your future is at stake. Plus, you’ve been embarrassed and processed by police like a common criminal. It’s highly likely you’ve never been arrested in your life, meaning you have little idea what to expect.
If you’ve been arrested for any crime, you need to understand that you have legal rights. Obtaining a criminal defense attorney to represent you as soon as you are arrested or accused of a crime is vital to protecting those rights. Choosing an attorney can often be a daunting task that leaves you with more questions than answers. Questions such as
- Have you worked on this type of charge before?
- If I’m innocent, should I go ahead and talk to the police?
- Will this charge stay on my permanent record?
- Should I take a plea deal?
When you place a call to our team of experienced Puyallup criminal defense lawyers, you’re one step ahead of the curve. Our team is available to answer any questions you may have about your specific case or Washington state law in general. For example, we urge you not to talk to anyone in law enforcement no matter what kind of promises they make. Anything you say can be used against you in court, so make sure to have a qualified Washington criminal lawyer by your side before answering any questions.
The cornerstone of an effective criminal defense is going to be the lawyer-client relationship. Our attorneys believe that in order to have the most effective relationship possible, trust and respect are required. We offer a free initial consultation so that both lawyer and client can speak and decide if they want to form a lawyer-client relationship. You get to decide if we are the right legal team for your needs without spending a dime.
If you ultimately choose to work with one of our WA State criminal law lawyers, we will aggressively fight to minimize the penalties associated with your charges or seek to have them dropped entirely, depending on the nature of your case.Understanding the Pierce County Court System
Here are a few more questions you’re likely asking:
- What do Municipal Courts do?
- If I am charged with a crime will I have to appear in court?
- Is there a difference between the different courts in Puyallup?
- Do I need a lawyer to appear in court?
If you have been arrested and accused of committing a crime in Pierce 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- offering a brief overview of the court system in Washington and attempting to answer some of the questions about court you or a loved one may have.
Municipal Courts manage cases involving violations of traffic and misdemeanor ordinances that occur within the city limits of incorporated municipalities. Misdemeanors are broken down into two categories:
- Simple Misdemeanors- These crimes carry a punishment of up to 90 days in jail and/or up-to a $1,000 fine. An example of a simple misdemeanor is petty theft.
- Gross Misdemeanors- These crimes carry a punishment of up to 364 days in jail and/or up-to a $5,000 fine. An example of gross misdemeanors is Assault in the 4th degree.
The Puyallup Municipal Court is located in the Puyallup city hall building and serves as the municipal court for both Puyallup and (for some cases) Milton.
The Pierce County District Court, located in Tacoma, serves as district court to all cities within Pierce county. The district court or “county court” as it is commonly referred to, hears two different types of cases, civil cases, and criminal cases. When it comes to criminal cases brought in the district court there are two different types:
- Cases involving violations of State law.
- Cases involving violations of City law that have been appealed from a municipal court. If a defendant chooses to appeal a case that was previously decided in a municipal court the district court will hear the case and is not beholden to the municipal court’s decision.
Additionally, district court may also hear expedited and preliminary felony cases.
The Superior Courts have general jurisdiction over all legal disputes. These are the courts where criminal, civil, family, and juvenile matters are generally resolved through arbitration, mediation, and bench or jury trials. The judges also hear appeals from District and Municipal Court cases. There are 32 superior courts in Washington state, covering all 39 of the state’s counties. The Pierce County Superior Court also has jurisdiction over all felony trials not listed in the district court section. A felony is the most serious kind of crime. If you are found guilty, you can be sent to state prison or receive the death penalty. There are three levels of felonies in Washington state, depending upon the severity of your charge.
- Class A felonies are the most serious charges and are punishable by up to a $50,000 fine and/or up-to life in a state correctional facility.
- Class B felonies are punishable by fines up to $20,000 and/or up-to 10 years in a state correctional facility.
- Class C felonies are punishable up to $10,000 in fines and/or up-to 5 years in a state correctional facility.
The Washington state court system has the responsibility to provide impartial, efficient, and accessible dispute resolution in legal matters. An individual charged with any type of criminal offense faces an extremely intimidating experience. Whether you are dealing with a first offense or assisting a family member who has been arrested, an experienced Puyallup criminal defense attorney can be invaluable during this time.How Can a Puyallup Criminal Defense Attorney Help You?
All criminal charges bring risks of conviction that can be life-altering. Among the criminal charges we defend in both state and federal courts are the following:
Theft - In Washington, there are degrees of seriousness for theft offenses, depending on the amount stolen, whether the theft involved violence against a person, whether a weapon was used or an invasion into someone’s home took place. Shoplifting may carry less serious punishment than other types of theft. Larceny is typically a more serious offense. A conviction for any type of theft offense may certainly adversely affect your future. It is best to consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible and before speaking with the police.
For more information about theft, check out Chapter 9A.56 RCW THEFT AND ROBBERY. Consider this: (1) "Theft" means:
(a) To wrongfully obtain or exert unauthorized control over the property or services of another or the value thereof, with intent to deprive him or her of such property or services; or
(b) By color or aid of deception to obtain control over the property or services of another or the value thereof, with intent to deprive him or her of such property or services; or
(c) To appropriate lost or misdelivered property or services of another, or the value thereof, with intent to deprive him or her of such property or services.
Sex Crimes- This term comprises a broad category of offenses that involve unwanted or non-consensual sexual contact, often referred to broadly as sexual assault. These crimes range from unwanted sexual touching of an individual on the outside of one’s clothing to forced sexual penetration, and everything in between. Sex offenses are very serious and so are the punishments.
Convicted offenders are often sentenced to lengthy jail terms, as well as certain restrictions, including not being allowed to visit schools, reside near school zones or be around children. Convicted sex offenders also have restrictions on their ability to travel in and outside of the United States, and are often required to undergo mandatory counseling or sex offender treatment. It is imperative to find an attorney with experience in defending against these types of charges.
Domestic Violence- Under Washington state law, domestic violence offenses are criminal acts that occur between individuals with familial, domestic, or romantic relations. State statute RCW 26.52.010 provides a list of qualifying persons who fit under that status:
"Family or household members" means spouses, former spouses, persons who have a child in common regardless of whether they have been married or have lived together at any time, adult persons related by blood or marriage, adult persons who are presently residing together or who have resided together in the past, persons sixteen years of age or older who are presently residing together or who have resided together in the past and who have or have had a dating relationship, persons sixteen years of age or older with whom a person sixteen years of age or older has or has had a dating relationship, and persons who have a biological or legal parent-child relationship, including stepparents and stepchildren and grandparents and grandchildren.
When a person is accused of committing a crime against another, with whom that person qualifies as having a domestic relationship, the underlying criminal act becomes a domestic violence crime. An example would be when an assault occurs, regardless of type, between individuals with familial, domestic, or romantic relations, the offense may be criminally charged as a domestic assault.
Malicious Mischief- Malicious mischief is knowingly and maliciously causing physical damage to another person’s property. In Washington state, this charge most frequently falls under the Domestic Violence umbrella. The level of charge is based on the value of the property destruction:
- Damage under $750, malicious mischief in the 3rd degree, is charged as a Gross Misdemeanor
- Damage over $750, malicious mischief in the 2nd degree, is charged as a Class C felony
- Damage over $5000, malicious mischief in the 1st degree, is charged as a Class B felony
White Collar Crimes- “White collar crimes” generally refers to non-violent criminal offenses, and are typically financial in nature. Some examples of white collar crimes are forgery, identity theft, embezzlement, mail fraud, mortgage fraud, and credit card fraud. Due to complex regulations, people can easily find themselves charged with serious white collar crimes simply by making a mistake. If you are facing charges or accusations, you should retain an experienced white collar criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Prosecutors take these allegations very seriously, and convictions carry significant penalties.
DUI- When an officer pulls you over it is because he has in his mind a good reason to do so, or what is known as a “reasonable suspicion” that either a traffic violation has occurred or a crime such as driving under the influence (DUI) is being committed. The reason for the stop can be as simple as a broken taillight to observations of swerving within a lane, crossing back and forth over a centerline, or speeding or driving too slow.
Washington state has strict laws relating to driving under the influence, and penalties often increase as a result of new legislation. DUI penalties can include jail time, fines, treatment programs, license suspension, and thousands of dollars in increased insurance premiums. In Puyallup it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or above. The limit for commercial vehicle drivers is 0.4 and even lower for drivers under the age of 21 at 0.2.
Our Puyallup criminal defense lawyers represent accused persons at all stages. We have strong negotiation and criminal defense skills. From the time of initial arrest or arraignment, we work to resolve your situation expeditiously and to obtain as favorable an outcome as possible. We can also become involved at later stages of proceedings as well as in efforts to expunge convictions and delete criminal records. We will work hard to clear your name.Puyallup- The Generous People
10 miles southeast of Tacoma and 35 miles south of Seattle, the city of Puyallup was settled by Europeans in the 1850s. Prior to that, the land was inhabited by the Puyallup people, whose name translates to “generous and welcoming behavior to all people (friends and strangers) who enter our lands.”
Like much of the Pacific Northwest, Puyallup experiences an oceanic climate. Winters are cool and wet, spring brings less rain and milder temperatures, summers are warm and dry, and fall brings temperature drops and increased precipitation.
The mild climate allows for locals and visitors to enjoy many outdoor activities in Puyallup. Arguably the biggest draw in the city is the annual Washington State Fair. The Washington State Fair is the largest single attraction held annually in the state of Washington, and includes agricultural and pastoral displays and shows, amusement rides, and concert series. Every September the 20-day long celebration attracts over 1 million attendees.
Another popular outdoor event is the Daffodil Festival. Originating in 1934, the highlight of the festival is the parade, which features floats, bands, and horse-mounted participants. Presently, the Grand Floral Street Parade travels through four Pierce County communities on Parade Day – Tacoma, Puyallup, Sumner, and Orting.
If indoor pursuits are more to your liking, be sure to visit the Meeker Mansion. Built in 1890 by Oregon Trail pioneer Ezra Meeker, this stunning Victorian mansion is maintained by the Puyallup Historical Society and open for tours and private events.
Give yourself the best chance of a fair hearing by having an experienced advocate by your side in Puyallup. Contact our Washington criminal defense lawyers today for a no-cost consultation.Why Should I Hire a Puyallup Criminal Law Attorney?
Whether it be a DUI arrest, an assault allegation, or a fish and wildlife violation, our Puyallup criminal lawyers bring knowledge and experience together with a hard-hitting approach to defending the charges. We take the time to listen and learn facts that put you in the best possible light.
When selecting a Pierce County criminal defense attorney, there is no substitute for experience and an aggressive approach to champion your rights and protect your interests. Our team is skilled at all aspects of the criminal law process from negotiating plea bargain arrangements to selecting jury members best suited to your case to preserving a record at trial for an appeal. Our decades of combined experience can give you a decided advantage.
We handle cases proactively and persistently to preclude the prosecution from proving its case beyond a reasonable doubt. We have defended hundreds of persons charged with all types of criminal wrongdoing and have done so in a tireless and dedicated manner. We will do the same for you. Contact us today and put our Puyallup criminal defense attorneys to work for you to reach the best possible resolution for your case.