Criminal Defense in Washington
For many people, getting arrested and charged with a crime are the most nerve-wracking moments of their life. The potential for a conviction and the fines and jail time that come with being arrested can be scary.
By talking with a criminal defense lawyer at The Curtis Firm, you can begin the process of defending your rights and future against this groundless criminal accusation and proving your innocence. The stakes are high for even minor offenses, and the long-term consequences of having a conviction on your criminal background can be difficult to overcome.
Some of the most severe criminal accusations that you can face are for violent crimes. These are offenses that involve someone getting physically hurt rather than just losing property or money.
Among the most common charges for violent crimes that you can face in Tacoma are the following.
- Assault. Assault involves the infliction of bodily harm to someone else. There are four degrees of assault in Washington, depending on whether the harm was intentionally, recklessly, or negligently caused, and whether a deadly weapon was used during the offense. The most severe assaults are Class A felonies which carry life imprisonment and up to $50,000 in fines.
- Manslaughter. Manslaughter is the unintentional killing of someone else. It can be done recklessly or negligently and is often part of a case of driving under the influence (DUI) that involves a fatal accident. These charges can also be Class A felonies that carry life imprisonment.
- Murder. Murder is the intentional killing of someone else. There are two degrees of murder in Washington, depending on whether there was premeditation before the offense. If there was, then the charge can be a Class A felony offense that comes with life in jail.
While Americans all have the right to bear arms under the Second Amendment, that does not mean that criminal charges cannot follow from your conduct with a firearm. There are both state and federal laws that govern how firearms are bought, sold, and used in Washington.
For example, you can face serious criminal charges if you do not have a concealed carry license but were found with a firearm in your vehicle or on your person. The penalties for a conviction on these charges carry up to 90 days in jail and up to $1,000 in fines.
Prior criminal convictions can also impact your right to own a gun in Washington, especially if they included domestic violence elements. If you were subsequently found to be in possession of a firearm, you can face serious penalties.
There are several different types of drug charges that you can face in Tacoma, Washington. Some are more severe than others and all depend on the type and volume of drugs involved. The most common include the following.
- Drug possession. Simply having certain substances can lead to criminal charges. Controlled substances are those that are regulated by law, so possessing them without a valid medical prescription can lead to legal trouble. While possessing small amounts of marijuana is a misdemeanor, many charges for drug possession that involve other substances are felonies.
- Manufacturing and trafficking drugs. Making, transporting, or selling drugs – especially controlled substances that have a high risk of addiction and no medicinal value – can lead to serious legal trouble. Many of these offenses are Class B felonies that carry up to 10 years in jail and up to $20,000 in fines.
The severity of a drug crime can be further increase if any of the following factors are in play.
- A high volume of drugs.
- The presence of a gun at the time of the arrest for a drug crime.
- Being in a drug-free or a school zone.
- A prior criminal conviction for a drug offense.
Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
A DUI is one of the easiest criminal offenses that you can commit in Washington. It does not even involve any intent to commit a crime – just a single poor judgment call.
Despite the lack of culpability, Washington's DUI laws come with heavy penalties that far outweigh the severity of the crime. Even a first offense for DUI can come with fines, a license suspension, probation, and potentially even jail time. The penalties get worse if any of the following aggravating factors were in play.
- An exceptionally high blood alcohol content (BAC) level.
- A car crash that caused an injury or fatality.
- There was a child in your car at the time of the arrest.
- You were also driving recklessly.
Technically speaking, there is no such thing as a domestic violence crime in Washington. Rather, other offenses can have a domestic violence element – making them a “crime of domestic violence” – if they are done to someone in your “family or household,” which includes:
- Spouses or former spouses,
- The other parent of your child,
- Adult relatives or in-laws,
- Adults over the age of 16 and who either live together or used to live together or who have dated, and
- People with a biological or legal parent-child relationship, including stepparents or grandparents.
When the purported victim is a member of your family or household, any of the following offenses can lead to domestic violence charges.
- Reckless endangerment
- Violation of a protection order
Once an offense includes an element of domestic violence, it can trigger certain repercussions that can drastically alter the course of your case, particularly in the short-term.
- Mandatory arrest
- Child custody problems
- Temporary and potentially permanent restraining orders
- Firearm restrictions
- Additional penalties, like jail time and fines
Call The Curtis Firm for Legal Representation
If you have been accused of a crime in the Tacoma, Washington, area, you need a strong legal defense team to ensure your rights are protected and your future is secured. The stakes are high, so retaining the best criminal defense lawyer to fight the charges can be the best investment you can make in your future. Contact us online or call The Curtis Firm to get started on your case.
We gladly serve Pierce County, King County, Thurston County, Tacoma, Lakewood, and Spanaway.