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Do you live in Tacoma or a city nearby? Have you or a love one recently been arrested and are currently facing a criminal charge? If so, our Tacoma criminal lawyers are here to fight for you and to protect your legal rights and options. We know what a criminal arrest or charge means to you on a personal level.
We understand that your case is almost always the most pressing issue in your life. Criminal convictions can have a huge impact on your career, your family, finances, and even your housing. We treat every client’s case with the attention, the diligence, and the care it deserves.
Our attorneys are passionate about what they do. With decades of combined legal experience, we have the knowledge and the familiarity needed to guide you through the Tacoma and Pierce County court system. With an office in downtown Tacoma, we know the local courts. Our Tacoma criminal lawyers are also very familiar with the local Pierce County Criminal Rules.
Tacoma is a beautiful city.
Tacoma is a beautiful city, and we are lucky to live in such a great city. The City of Tacoma website is a great resource for information about what is happening around town and throughout Pierce County. The Travel in Tacoma website is a great location to learn more about what happening around town. Check out their 25 Free Things To Do In Tacoma page for lots of great ideas that are budget friendly.
Tacoma has a lot of great attractions, like the Tacoma Glass Museum and the America’s Car Museum. With water and mountains nearby, Tacoma is an outdoor haven that we all love to enjoy. I have been blessed and privileged to serve this community for over two decades now. I live near Gig Harbor with my wife and two teenage girls.
Tacoma is in the midst of a downtown renaissance. For information about what is happening on the business level, we recommend the Tacoma Chamber of Commerce website. It’s packed with economic information and about the local business community. And, if you are looking for information about the Tacoma City government, the local city of Tacoma website has great page that is easy to navigate.
Our Tacoma criminal defense lawyers will fight to protect your legal right and to keep you out of jail.
Our Pierce County criminal defense attorneys are experienced, aggressive, and affordable advocates for those find themselves caught in the gears of our state, county, or city government criminal justice system. More than anything, our attorneys fight for justice. No matter what your situation, we will fight to protect you and your legal rights. We will do everything legal possible to ensure that stay out of jail and validly able to drive, if your crime involves a potential license suspension or revocation issue.
We have successfully represented numerous criminal defendants in both the Tacoma Municipal Court and the Pierce County District Court. Additionally, we have handled cases in City or Municipal Courts throughout Pierce County, including, but not limited to the City of Fife, the City of Puyallup, the City of Lakewood, the City of Sumner, the City of Milton, the City of Orting, the City of Bonney Lake, the City of Buckley, the City of Steilacoom.
Tacoma has a number of different criminal courts that serve all of Pierce County. If you have been charged with a felony, you will be required to appear in the Pierce County Superior Court. If you are being charged with a misdemeanor, you will be required to appear in either the Pierce County District Court or the Tacoma Municipal Court.
We assist Pierce County criminal clients charged with a variety of crimes, both misdemeanors and felonies.
A theft conviction can result in extreme hardship for you beyond simply the immediate consequences. In addition to possible jail, fines, probation, restitution, no contact orders, a conviction can also disqualify you from jobs and even a place to rent!
Fortunately, you don’t have to stand alone. If you end up retaining our firm, one of our Tacoma theft lawyers will be with you ever step of the climb. Theft and Robbery charges are defined throughout RCW 9A.56. Here’s the thing. Crimes of dishonesty are a complete nightmare for future employment purposes. No one wants to hire a convicted thief.
Basic theft is broken down into three different degrees which reflect the seriousness of the crime – normally, the value of the items stolen. In some instances, certain stolen items have their own statutes and penalties without the value necessarily being a factor, i.e. guns and cars. Regardless of the allegations, however, our Tacoma criminal defense attorneys are here to help. We will fight to keep you from being convicted of theft and being branded as a convicted thief.
If you are accused of stealing an item with a value of under $750, then you will be most likely facing a theft 3° charge. Theft 3° is a gross misdemeanor and has a penalty of up to 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine. This is commonly the charge you will face when shoplifting. If you are accused of shoplifting, it is important to note that the criminal charge is completely separate from any case referenced in a civil demand letter which you may receive from the representatives of the store.
If the value of the goods stolen is above $750 but under $5,000, then you will be facing a theft 2° charge, which is a class C felony. This means the maximum penalty is 5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Lastly, if the value of the items stolen is above $5,000, then you will be facing a theft 1° charge which is a class B felony. Class B felonies have a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.
Regardless of the amount in question, our criminal defense attorneys are here to help. If you are being accused of theft, give our office a call for a free consultation. We will be more than happy to discuss your legal rights and options with you.
Theft cases are often difficult to successfully resolve. But, everything is truly a “situation” when it comes to criminal charges involving allegations of theft or crimes of dishonesty. Our Tacoma theft lawyers will fight to try and keep you from being convicted of a crime of dishonesty.
If you are being accused of assault, it is extremely important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible. A crime of violence on your record can cause severe hardship for you. In addition to possible jail, fines, probation, no contact orders, court ordered classes, and loss of rights, a conviction can also prevent you from getting jobs, traveling, and even renting a place to live.
The severity of the assault charge is indicated by the degree which is dependent on a variety of different factors, including the amount of harm inflicted or could have been inflicted, whether there were weapons involved, who the victim was, and what was the intent of the assault.
Many of our clients ask us what exactly assault is in Washington State. RCW 9A.36, Assault – Physical Harm defines assault under Washington Law. The city of Tacoma Municipal Code has the exact same definition under TMC 8.76.010. The actual definition of assault actually comes from common law and is essentially nothing more than a harmful or offensive touching, or, even just being put in actual fear of harmful or offensive touching.
In effect, under Washington State criminal assault law, a person is guilty of simple assault or Assault in the Fourth Degree striking, hitting, hitting with an object, or attempting to injur another, or even merely intentionally trying to place another in the fear of an injury by some physical act that is actually threatened.
Our Tacoma criminal defense attorneys and assault lawyers understand that nearly every assault charge has two sides. And, most of the time, the police reports and criminal charges only tell one side of the story. We’re here to make sure that your side of the story gets told.
First degree assault is the most serious type. Assault 1° is a class A felony which means the maximum penalty is life in prison and a $50,000 fine. A step down from that is Assault 2° which is a class B felony. Class B felonies have a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail and a $20,000 fine. Down from that is Assault 3° which is a class C felony, which comes with a 5 year maximum jail sentence and a $10,000 fine. The only type of assault which is not a felony is assault 4°. Assault 4° is a gross misdemeanor which means the maximum penalty is 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine.
Being accused of assault can be a frightening experience. Whether the accusations are true or not, give our assault attorney legal services’ office a call to discuss your rights and options, as well as where to go from here.
Tacoma attorney Jason S. Newcombe has more than 20 years of experience successfully handling difficult and complex domestic violence cases throughout Pierce County. The simple truth is that every DV case has a history behind it. Our job is to make sure that the entire story is told, not just what the “alleged victim” wants the police to hear.
The police may be the ones who arrest you, but they are not the ones who decide what you are charged with, nor do they decide your guilt or innocence. Also, most police officers would not know a valid defense to an assault if it slapped them on the face. Even if you have been charged with a DV assault, you may have one or more legal defenses available like defense of self, defense of others, or defense of property. And, if you are determined to have used reasonable force to defend yourself, it is a complete defense to any allegation or criminal charge of assault.
Our domestic violence attorneys are skilled negotiators and experienced trial lawyers. When it comes to defending the legal rights of our clients, we leave no stone unturned. When people envision “Domestic Violence”, they immediately picture a husband assaulting their wife. Domestic violence in Washington State, however, is much more complicated than allegations of basic assault.
Here in Tacoma, and throughout Washington State really, assault is not actually defined by our Revised Code of Washington (RCW). We use a common law definition of assault here in Washington State. And, it’s really nothing more than a harmful or offensive touching stemming from unwanted physical contact.
Despite common misperceptions, the contact itself need not cause and injury, and it need only be offense to a “reasonable person”. A conviction for domestic violence, however, can be devastating to ones employment, both current and future. It can also result in steep fines, treatment, and jail time, not to mention other punitive sanctions, if the judge believes them to be appropriate.
A good Pierce County criminal defense lawyer understands that every allegation of domestic violence is complicated and needs a thorough investigation to find out what actually transpired. If you are facing a domestic violence charge, give our legal offices a call. Our local law offices are conveniently located just a few blocks from the Pierce County District Court, the Tacoma Municipal Court, and the Pierce County Superior Court, all of which are located in the same complex at 930 Tacoma Ave S, Tacoma, WA 98402.
More importantly, our Tacoma assault lawyers understand there are two sides to every story and we will make sure that your side of the story get heard. As noted above, many people have a rather simplistic view of domestic violence cases here in Pierce County.
In actuality, any type of case where a person can be a victim can be classified as domestic violence. Thus, if you harass an ex-spouse, you can be charged with DV harassment. Similarly, if you throw paint on your ex-boyfriend’s car, you can be charged with DV malicious mischief. The possibilities of domestic violence are much more than simply DV assault.
All good assault attorneys understand that a domestic violence crime is classified as DV when the two parties are involved or were involved in some sort of a domestic relationship. This means more than simply husband and wife. This also includes boyfriend and girlfriend, ex-boyfriend and ex-girlfriend, husband and husband, girlfriend and girlfriend, father and son, mother and step-daughter, grandfather and granddaughter, and so on and so forth.
Thus, in reality, DV cases are not really a specific type of criminal charge, they are more of a type of “enhancement” when the alleged victim is a family member. And, trust us, DV cases are definitely give more attention and more priority by prosecutors than non-DV cases.
Domestic violence cases can be tricky business. It is important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible to protect your rights. Very often, a no-contact order will also be ordered, which can be especially problematic if the two parties live together and want to remain together. An attorney will not only be able to properly guide you in this situation but also help you prepare a proper defense. Give our office a call for a free consultation. Our Tacoma criminal defense and Pierce County assault lawyers are here to help.
Malicious Mischief is when you knowingly and maliciously cause damage to the property of another. This is frequently charged as a DV crime. Just like with a theft charge, the seriousness of the charge is broken up by degrees and is normally based on the value of the damage caused.
A good Tacoma Malicious Mischief attorney knows how dissect a case and determine exactly which level or degree of seriousness you are facing. This can sometimes be a difficult and confusing process.
The most serious type of malicious mischief is in the First Degree, which is when the value of the damage is over $5,000. This charge is a class B felony which means the maximum penalty is 10 years in jail and a $20,000 fine. If the damage is below $5,000 but above $750, then you will likely face a class C felony malicious mischief in the second-degree charge. This comes with a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Finally, if the damage is under $750, then you will most likely face a malicious mischief in the third-degree charge which is a gross misdemeanor. Gross misdemeanors have a penalty of up to 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine.
Give our office a call for a free consultation. Our Malicious Mischief attorneys are here to help. In some instances, timing is especially important in cases involving allegations of domestic violence. So, do not procrastinate when facing a DV accusation, a restraining order is likely quickly following the criminal charge.
Another type of criminal charge that is frequently charged as a DV crime is that of Harassment. There are multiple types of harassment which can range from gross misdemeanors to class C felonies. With any type, you are facing potentially jail, fines, no-contact orders, and more! If you are being charged with harassment, give our office a call. One of our Tacoma Harassment lawyers will be more than happy to discuss your situation with you.
The most common form of harassment is simply when a person unlawfully threatens to cause bodily injury, property damage, or to physically restrain another person. This threat can be made either by words or by a person’s conduct.
This form of harassment is a gross misdemeanor which means the maximum penalty is 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine. This can rise to class C felony if you threatened to kill the individual or you have a prior conviction of harassment against the same person or their family.
If the harassment was due to the victim’s perceived race, color, ancestry, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, or a physical, mental, or sensory handicap, then you will be facing a malicious harassment charge. This charge is a class C felony which means the maximum penalty is 5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
In either case, however, it’s important to have a good criminal defense attorney in your corner. As noted above, many Harassment charges are filed as domestic violence cases and come with an instant no contact order against the alleged victim.
Another form of harassment is telephone harassment. This is when you make calls with the intent to harass, intimidate, torment, or embarrass the person. This can take on a variety of different forms such as calling a person repeatedly throughout the night or using profane or lewd language. This type of harassment is a gross misdemeanor.
Give our office a call for a free consultation with one of our criminal lawyers. One of our Tacoma Harassment attorneys will be more than happy to speak with you.
Every good Tacoma criminal trespass attorney understands that a great number of criminal trespass cases are really nothing more than a misunderstanding. Trespassing is basically knowingly going or remaining in a place where you are not allowed to be. There are a variety of reasons why someone may be accused of trespassing, whether it be because of a misunderstanding or because someone was lost, confused, or even extremely intoxicated.
The two main types of trespassing are indicated by their degree. Trespassing 1° is when you knowingly ender or remain unlawfully in a building. This is a gross misdemeanor which has a maximum penalty of 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine. There is no mandatory penalty though. This would normally be the charge you face if you are asked to leave an establishment, like a bar, but refuse to do so.
A step down is trespassing 2°, which is a misdemeanor. Misdemeanors are punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. This degree is just like 1° except there is no building involved. So if you trespass onto someone else’s property but do not go into any buildings, then you could be facing this charge.
If you are being accused of trespassing, give our office a call. Our Tacoma criminal attorneys will help you to understand your legal right and options, as well as how we can help defend you against allegations of criminal trespass. We will help you understand what you are facing and point you in the correct direction.
Criminal Trespass in the First Degree: RCW 9A.52.070
Criminal Trespass in the Second Degree: RCW 9A.52.080
Mr. Newcombe has been handling criminal DUI cases in Pierce County for over two decades now. Our top priority in every DUI case is to get the charges dismissed. If that is not possible, however, we will do everything legally possible to get the charges reduced and to minimize the consequences of your drunk driving to the greatest extent possible.
Our Tacoma DUI lawyers are experienced and aggressive advocates for those facing a Tacoma DUI charge. Washington State’s DUI sentencing laws are harsh, really harsh. A Tacoma DUI or drunk driving charge is an extremely serious and complicated charge. This area of criminal law has several critical and unique deadlines that are also potential pitfalls.
Many people falsely believe that fighting a Tacoma DUI charge is hopeless. Our Pierce County DUI attorneys here to tell you that nothing can be further from the truth. Our Tacoma DUI attorneys firmly believe that ever DUI case can be successfully challenged, at least on some level.
Mr. Newcombe has been handling DUI cases for over 20 years, as both a prosecutor and as a criminal defense lawyer. He’s reviewed over 1,000 DUI reports over the years, and he has yet to see a perfect set of DUI police reports. It’s because they do not exist. Every DUI arrest necessarily involves numerous subjective determinations, all of which are fertile ground for attack.
There is a lot of publicity in the media with regards to DUIs these days. So, most people already have a general understanding about the charge. A DUI arrest can result in serious consequences which can impact your life, including jail, fines, license suspensions, treatment, ignition interlock requirements, court ordered classes, and more!
As you probably already know, this is a very serious predicament to be involved in, especially if you drive for a living. The first thing you want to do is carefully review all of the documents that you received from the officer on the night of your DUI arrest. Some officers will give you a court date the very next day! Our Tacoma DUI attorneys know what to look for in every drunk driving case because our drunk driving lawyers have literally handling over 1,000 DUI cases.
Once you have reviewed the documents, it is then important to speak with an experienced Pierce County DUI attorney who can explain to you fully your situation, the documents you received, and even the documents you should have received if some are missing
When you are arrested for a DUI, you often are facing two separate cases – the criminal case and a Department of Licensing (DOL) action. If you wish to fight the DOL license suspending your license, it is important that you respond to them in a timely manner. If you fail to do so, then you have lost your right to the hearing and your license will be automatically suspended.
The severity of the sanctions you face from a criminal conviction of a DUI will depend on a number of different factors, such as:
- Have you ever been charged with a DUI before?
- Did you refuse to provide a breath or blood sample?
- Was your sample above .15?
- Was anyone physically hurt by your driving?
- Did you have passengers under 16 years old?
- Do you have a commercial driver’s license?
- Do you have a CDL?
If you are facing a DUI charge or a DOL action against your license, do not hesitate to give our Tacoma DUI law offices a call. One of our experienced Tacoma drunk driving lawyers will be more than happy to answer your questions and help you better understand your current situation.
The primary DUI statute in Washington State RCW 46.61.502. This statute covers both alcohol DUI and marijuana DUIs.
A marijuana related DUI is very similar to an alcohol related DUI – so much so that they fall under the same statute. Just like a DUI, you will be facing jail time, fines, court fees, a license suspension, court ordered classes, and even an ignition interlock requirement!
In fact, a marijuana DUI is treated in exactly the same way as an alcohol-related DUI. If you are being accused of driving under the influence of marijuana, give our office a call. One of Tacoma marijuana DUI lawyers will be more than happy to answer your questions and provide a free case evaluation.
While an alcohol related DUI has a per se legal limit of .08, the marijuana THC limit in your system is 5 ng/ml. The general consensus, and we are of this opinion too, is that this limit is quite low. And, this is especially true if you are a medical marijuana user, or, if you simply use cannabis on a regular basis. This is because your body quickly builds up a basic tolerance to weed that can be far greater than the legal limit for pot here in Washington State. So, the simple truth is that you may actually be over that limit without even knowing it.
Fortunately, our Tacoma pot DUI attorneys know how to fight these charges. These cases always involved a blood draw that is later analyzed by the State Toxicology Lab. And, we firmly believe that every blood case can be attacked directly at the chromatograph level, which is how these samples are tested.
It can also be more difficult to project the amounts in your system compared to alcohol. The different methods of consumption and lack of clearly labeled THC levels can result in different THC levels in your system.
Just like with an alcohol related DUI, there are other factors which can impact the penalties you face, such as:
- Prior DUI charges
- Whether you refused a blood draw
- Whether there were injuries involved
- Whether you have a CDL
- Whether there are passengers under 16
If you are facing a DUI in which marijuana is involved, give our local marijuana DUI officse a call. One of our Tacoma marijuana DUI attorneys will happy to offer a free consultation. It is important to understand what you will be facing and to be proactive in addressing the charges.
To learn more about our DUI laws, as well as numerous other driving crimes and traffic infractions, please visit Chapter 46.61 RCW, Rules Of The Road.
Regardless of the specific facts and circumstances involved in your case, our Tacoma Physical Control lawyers are here to help you to understand your legal rights and options, as well as how we can help. Physical Control charges are by their very nature somewhat confusing and counterintuitive. Few people believe that they can be charged with a criminal driving offense when they were not even driving a car. Again, it’s very counterintuitive.
There are, however, many similarities between a Tacoma DUI charge and a Tacoma Physical Control arrest or criminal case. In fact, there are many more similarities than dissimilarities. Washington State’s Physical Control statute is codified in RCW 46.61.504. The exact same deadlines and penalties that apply to DUI cases, also apply to all Physical Control Cases.
When many of our Tacoma Physical control clients first contact our offices, they are somewhat shocked to learn that they can be criminally charged with a type of DUI when they were not even actually operating the motor vehicle on a public roadway. But, it’s true. Physical Control means, just that: That you were in the “physical control” of the vehicle while being intoxicated.
We often see this when people have pulled of the road to “sleep it off”. Or, in cases where they never even left the parking lot where they were drinking. Instead, they simply had the vehicle on because it was the middle of winter and after they dozed off, the next thing they heard was a police officer knocking on their window. These are very complicated cases that require an experienced DUI and Physical Control attorney to get the best possible result.
The key difference between the two is that instead of driving or operating a motor vehicle, you are claimed to have been in physical control of the vehicle. For many people, this distinction is confusing. The government essentially believes you were one step away from driving under the influence and thus, should be treated as if you were. This is part of the rationale for why the punishment for a Physical Control charge is the same as a DUI.
Just like with a DUI, you will be facing a gross misdemeanor, which means you have a maximum penalty of 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine. Similarly, you will also be potentially facing a license suspension, ignition interlock requirements, court ordered classes, probation, and administrative/court fees.
Again, just like with a DUI, the prosecutor will be looking at:
- Whether you have been charged with a DUI before
- Whether you refused to provide a breath or blood test
- Whether your blood alcohol level was above .15
- Whether you have a CDL
If you are being accused of Physical control, give our DUI and Physical Control legal services’ offices a call. When it comes to fighting these kinds of charges, the best defense is a good offense. The sooner you make a decision about an attorney, they more that they are able to do on your behalf.
So, give us a call and take advantage of our free initial consultation. One of our Tacoma Physical Control attorneys will be more than happy to explain in greater depth what the charges you are facing mean and their potential long-term ramifications upon your life.
Driving Under Twenty-One After Consuming Alcohol or Marijuana
Most minors and their parents do not realize there is a “special” quasi-DUI charge specifically for them. It’s often referred to as a “Minor DUI”. But, there is nothing “Minor” about it. Washington State’s driving while under 21 after consuming alcohol is found at RCW 46.61.503. It details the specific amounts of alcohol and/or THC that is allowable in underage drivers.
While most people are aware that the per se legal limit for alcohol is .08 – this level only applies to people are legally can drink. If you are under 21 years old, you are not supposed to drink, at all. Understandably, if you are not allowed to drink, your “legal” limit should be different.
For a minor, the legal limit is .02 when it comes to alcohol. This is a very low threshold which can easily be met with just a single drink. When it comes to marijuana, the legal limit is 0 – meaning you are not allowed to have any THC in your system while driving. Fortunately, you don’t have to stand alone. Our Tacoma Minor DUI lawyers will be with you every step of the process.
If you are facing a Minor DUI criminal charge, we encourage you to call our offices immediately for a free case evaluation. One of our Minor DUI lawyers will be happy to review the facts of your case in detail and then explain how we would attack your case.
A driving under 21 after consuming alcohol charge is a misdemeanor which means the maximum penalty is 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. You will also potentially face probation, court and administrative fees, and court ordered classes. Depending on the circumstances, you may even receive a license suspension for your actions. These penalties are less than that of a DUI which is fortunate.
It is important to understand, however, that a minor will not automatically get this charge instead of an “adult” DUI. If the blood alcohol level is under .05, then the minor may be charged with the minor DUI. If the BAC is above .06, the minor will then likely face the more serious standard DUI. If you have questions about which kind of criminal charge you might be facing, we strongly encourage you to give our legal offices a call at
Often, this criminal charge is the first time a minor has ever been contacted and interacted with a police officer. It can be a difficult experience to go through. Our Pierce County criminal defense attorneys are here to help make the process as easy as possible and to answer all of your questions. It is important to understand what you are facing and try to make sure a criminal conviction will not follow you as you move on with your life.
Minor In Possession
A minor in possession charge is often the first time a minor has ever been contacted by a police officer and gotten into trouble. It can be a stressful situation for both the minor and his or her parents. Our Tacoma MIP lawyers are here to answer your questions and help you move on with your life without having a criminal conviction following you as you graduate and search for a job.
An MIP charge is a gross misdemeanor, which means the maximum penalty is 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine. Additional penalties may include probation, court and administrative fees, community service, and court ordered classes. In certain circumstances, an MIP conviction will also result in a license suspension.
Unfortunately, many minors do not understand that there is not safety in numbers. Groups of minors will often attract attention to them. It is very common for the police to break up a house party and city multiple minors for MIP. Similarly, drinking in a group at a park at night will also attract the attention of the police.
If you have questions about your situation, you should give our legal offices a call and take advantage of our free initial consultation. One of Tacoma Minor in Possession attorneys will be happy to review the specific facts of your case and then explain how we would try and help.
Here’s the thing that can be tricky about MIP cases here in Washington State and throughout Pierce County. The police do not necessarily have to actually catch you with a drink in your hand. Simply having the smell of alcohol emanating from your mouth and being near alcohol could be sufficient. It is also common for minors to admit to drinking when confronted by the police, which will be used against them.
If you or your child is facing a minor in possession charge, do not hesitate to give us a call. Again, one of our Tacoma MIP criminal lawyers will be more than happy to discuss your situation and answer your questions.
A good Tacoma Negligent Driving lawyer understands the subtle nuances between the two types of negligent driving here in Washington State. One is a criminal charge that could result in 90 days in jail and $1,000 fine. The other is a serious traffic infraction. But, at the end of the day, it’s just that: A traffic ticket.
When many of our Negligent Driving clients first contact our offices, they are confused as to whether or not they are being charged with a crime or a traffic ticket. The answer is, it depends. And, it can be confused based on the way that law enforcement often writes their tickets. Both charges look the same when presented the same way, on what appears to be a traffic ticket.
But, there are actually two different degrees of Negligent Driving here in Washington State. And, the degree with which you are charged is how to determine whether you are being charged with simple a traffic ticket or a serious criminal driving offense. Fortunately, our Tacoma traffic attorneys have handled hundreds of negligent driving cases, and we can pretty quickly help you to understand what you are facing.
When being accused of driving negligently, it is important to understand which type you are facing. Negligent Driving in the First Degree (Neg One) is a misdemeanor while Negligent Driving in the Second Degree (Neg Two) is an infraction. Either degree is a serious offense, however, that can have a dramatic impact your insurance rates or worse, get you canceled.
Negligent driving 1° is a misdemeanor, which means that the maximum penalty is 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. A conviction also comes with potentially court ordered classes, probation, and administrative fees. A conviction, however, will not result in a license suspension and it is not a strike for habitual traffic offender status.
Driving negligently in the first degree is when you drive negligently and endanger or are likely to endanger persons or property while exhibiting the signs of having consumed alcohol or some type of drug. This is a lesser charge than a DUI but you can see there are some similarities.
This can sometimes be confusing. But, if you have questions about what you are being charged with and what the potential consequences might be, we strongly encourage you to pick up the phone and take advantage of our free initial consultation. One of our Tacoma Negligent Driving Attorneys will be happy to discuss your case in detail and explain your legal rights.
Negligent driving 2°, instead, is an infraction. This means the only penalty you face is a $550 fine (not including what it will do to your insurance.) There is no jail or license suspension. A Neg 2 is just like a Neg 1 except alcohol or drugs are not involved. It is simply when you driving negligently and endanger or is likely to endanger persons or property.
Determining whether someone drives negligently is similar to a determination of whether someone is driving recklessly. There can be a very fine line at times so you might be fortunate to be only facing a Neg 2 rather than a reckless driving charge. Similarly, maybe a Neg 2 is too harsh and you should have only been facing a lesser type of infraction.
The last type of negligent driving is Negligent Driving in the Second Degree with a “Vulnerable Victim”. This is very similar to a standard Neg 2 except there is a vulnerable user victim who died, or sustained either great or serious bodily harm due to the negligent driving. Vulnerable users include pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists.
Regardless of the type of Negligent Driving charge that you are facing, we can help. Our Tacoma Negligent Driving lawyers are experienced criminal attorneys who will fight to keep you of jail and validly licensed to drive. We are experienced traffic ticket attorneys too. We fear no traffic ticket in Pierce County.
If you are facing this type of negligent driving, it is especially important to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. While this is not a crime, you are potentially facing a fine of up to $5,000 and a 90-day license suspension. Some of the different options to deal with this type of case are also very time sensitive so it is not wise to wait till the last moment to speak to an attorney.
Whether you are facing a negligent driving in the First Degree or the Second Degree, give our office a call to discuss your options and what exactly you are facing.
Negligent Driving in the First Degree: RCW 46.61.5249
Negligent Driving in the Second Degree: RCW 46.61.525
Negligent Driving in the Second Degree, Vulnerable Victim: RCW 46.61.526
A good criminal attorney who handles Reckless Driving and Racing charges understands that the state is required to prove a very unique element in such cases. Specifically, pursuant to Washington State’s Reckless Driving Statute, the state is required to prove that the operator of the motor vehicle was driving in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of person or property. Depending on the specific facts of the case, this can be a difficult burden to meet.
A reckless driving or racing accusation can be difficult and confusing. When many Reckless Driving clients first call our offices, they are super confused. Many wrongly believe that they have only been issued a traffic ticket. Nothing, however, could be further from the truth. If you have been issued a citation for Reckless Driving, you are being charged with a serious criminal driving offense.
Reckless Driving is a gross misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to a year in jail and $5,000 fine. Like a sprained ankle, it ain’t nothing to play with. Many Reckless Driving cases are based largely on speed. But, speed itself is insufficient to constitute a finding of guilt.
Instead, there must be a specific finding that the driver was operating the vehicle “in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of person or property”. This is a high burden that is often difficult for the state to meet at trial. Regardless of the specific facts and circumstances involved in your case, however, our Tacoma Reckless Driving lawyers will be with you every step of the process.
And, in most cases, we can waive your first court appearance, if you are only charged with Reckless Driving. Your first court appearance is called your arraignment. And, we have a statutory right to appear on your behalf and have a not guilty be entered. The matter will then be set for a Pre-Trial Hearing about four to six weeks out.
Many other Reckless Driving charges are based on an accident or allegedly really bad driving that supposedly endangered some unknown person or property. And, in fact, in our opinion, many of these cases are just that, an accident. That’s why they call it an accident. As for the other cases, we often believe that the police officers exaggerate their reports for effect. But, this can be difficult to prove.
Here’s the thing. Reckless Driving cases are very, very fact specific. It’s impossible to really comment on an alleged Reckless Driving charge without hearing the actual facts surrounding the incident. But, that doesn’t stop people from being charged with Reckless Driving just because there was an accident or because the officer “thought” that they were driving in a way that could have somehow endangered persons or property.
The good news is that you don’t have to stand alone. Our Pierce County criminal attorneys have handled thousands of criminal driving matters and traffic tickets over the last twenty years. We know how to attack every type of Reckless Driving charge, regardless of the alleged facts and circumstances.
Again, every case is unique. Every case is a situation. The determination of what the driving constitutes can be a very subjective determination for the viewer. In some instances, it can be clear cut for any individual that the driving was reckless or that the individual was racing. In many other instances, however, it may be much more difficult to tell and people may not reach the same conclusion that the officer reached. This is where our Reckless Driving lawyers really shine.
Reckless driving is when you drive with a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property. Basically, you are driving in a really dangerous manner. Racing, on the other hand, technically is its own statute but it very similar reckless driving. The statute states that racing is proof of driving recklessly.
What can confuse many people is the fact that you can be racing even if you never go above the speed limit. Racing is simply the willful comparison of speeds of a vehicle to another. This can be accomplished while traveling under the speed limit. However, in situations like that, the officer will typically look to other indicators of racing, such as the revving of engines, wheel spin, and hard acceleration.
A reckless driving charge is a gross misdemeanor which means the maximum penalty is 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine. A conviction also comes with a 30 day license suspension, along with normally probation, court and administrative fees, and a driving safety class.
If you are facing a reckless driving or racing accusation, give our criminal driving legal services’ office a call. One of our Pierce County Reckless Driving attorneys will be more than happy to answer your questions and help you prepare to fight for your legal rights.
Hit & Run
Everyone who drives should understand that there are requirements when you are involved or cause an accident. If you fail to stop and provide your information to the other party, you can face a criminal charge for Hit and Run. A conviction can result in jail, fines, court fees and assessments, probation, restitution, and even a license suspension!
Fortunately, you don’t have to stand alone when it comes to protecting your legal rights. Our Tacoma Hit and Run lawyers will be by your side every step of the process. If you have been involved in a Hit and Run accident, it is in your best interest to contact an attorney as soon as possible. And, we mean, AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, like, immediately.
It is very common to be contacted by the police after the incident and be asked to answer questions. In most situations, you absolutely, positively, do not want to answer any questions or even speak with law enforcement unless you have a good criminal Tacoma criminal defense attorney by your side. Period.
There are two basic types of Hit and Run. If you strike an object which is not attended by a person, such as a fence or a parked car, but fail to leave your information, then you can be charged with Hit & Run Unattended. This charge is a misdemeanor, which means the maximum penalty is 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. A conviction does not come with a license suspension and it is not a strike for habitual traffic offender status.
The second basic type is Hit and Run Attended. This is when the struck object was attended by an individual. So, if you strike a car which is being driving and flee, then you would be charged with Hit and Run Attended. This charge is a gross misdemeanor which means the maximum penalty is 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine. Most importantly, a conviction comes with a 1 year license suspension and it results in a strike for habitual traffic offender status.
If you have been involved in a Hit & Run accident, give our offices a call as soon as possible. It is important to consult with an experienced Tacoma Hit and Run lawyer before making any statements to the police. We are here to help you understand your rights and be better prepared for what you can expect to happen.
Chapter 46.52 RCW
Hit and Run Attended – RCW 46.52.020
Hit and Run Unattended – RCW 46.52.010
Experienced Pierce County Criminal Defense Lawyers
As experienced Pierce County criminal defense attorneys, we understand how important it is to find the right attorney for your case. And, unlike a lot of our competitors, we advise potential new clients that they should shop around. We are not the least expensive shop in town, nor are we the most expensive. We pride ourselves on providing good value to our clients.
We tell clients that they should shop around until they are confident that they have found one with the resources and the experience to actually be able to help them. And, most importantly, we tell them to try and find one that they know is going to actually fight for them and try to get the best possible legal result, not just recommend whatever offer the prosecutor first puts on the table.
Some types of cases have important deadlines which occur before the criminal case is even filed! For example, in DUI cases, the first part of a client’s case to roll forward is often their “Implied Consent” DOL Administrative Hearing. But, if you don’t challenge this suspension quickly following your arrest, you may be completely out of luck.
Currently, you only have seven days from the date of incident to request this hearing. And, if you fail to do so, you will probably be permanently barred from challenging this suspension. Many areas of the law have very subtle contours. When things are at their worst and you feel like there is no justice, you need a steady hand at the wheel. That’s where we enter the picture.
We offer a free, no obligation consultation.
Our Tacoma criminal law offices offer a free consultation to potential clients, with no further obligations, so there is literally no risk in calling to see if we can help. The only thing you have to lose is your stress. We want you to understand your legal rights and options so that you can make a truly informed decision about what is best for you and your family.
When one of our Tacoma criminal attorneys represents you in a legal proceeding, we listen closely to your needs, your hopes, and your expectations. We understand that not everyone wants a trial. And, not every criminal case should go to trial. If trial is necessary, however, we will not hesitate to defend your legal rights in court.
In some cases, though, people understand they have made a mistake and that there will be consequences, but they do not want the rest of their lives ruined. In these situations, our criminal defense lawyers will do everything legally possible to minimize the consequences of your case. Many cases can be skillfully negotiated or “plea bargained” down to a lesser charge. In many cases, all jail can also be negotiated down. Every case is unique and, therefore, requires a detailed review and thorough investigation.
Although the allegations being brought against you might sound frightening and awful, you must remember the prosecution has the responsibility of proving their case beyond a reasonable doubt. It is not your burden to prove “innocence.” Not only must they show there is no reasonable possibility that anything else happened other than their allegation, but their evidence must have been lawfully obtained.
Our Tacoma criminal lawyers believe in and strenuously fight for the Constitutional rights of our clients. While many arrests are legal and properly done, an unfortunate number are tainted by illegally gathered evidence and poor police work. We will carefully wade through your case searching for any and all issues, because all it takes is one, and the entire case could tip in our favor. Your charges could be substantially reduced or even dismissed. And if it is in the client’s best interest, we will vigorously fight and take the case to trial.
We understand that for many people this is the most terrifying time in your life, a time which could potentially have enormous consequences on your family and career. You shouldn’t have to handle this on our own. Our Tacoma criminal attorneys have the experience, skills, and understanding needed to navigate the Court system for you as well as the pressures you are under.
Being accused of committing a crime can be one of the most stressful positions a person can be in. Whether this is your first (and hopefully, you last) or you have gone through this before, regret, guilt, anger, frustration, and embarrassment are all typical responses. No person should go through this difficult period alone. Our Tacoma criminal attorneys will help you move on with your life.
A criminal conviction can lead to a variety of different penalties which can dramatically impact your life – the most notable being jail. Beyond jail, you can also face fines, court fees, administrative costs, insurance premium increases, restitution, license suspensions, ignition interlock requirements, stay out of area orders, no contact orders, loss of gun rights, court ordered classes, and much, much more! Beyond these immediate penalties, a conviction can also come with a social stigma which could follow you in the future, including prohibiting you from getting a job or even a place to live.
Being charged with a crime is not the end of the world, though. Whether you feel like you are unjustly charged, and this was a complete misunderstanding or you made a mistake and think you are guilty of the crime, it is important to have representation to fight for your rights. A good criminal defense attorney will help walk you through the process and prepare you for what is ahead. Cases are rarely as easy as you think.
We receive calls from individuals all the time who think the entire case is a misunderstanding and it will be an easy dismissal. Unfortunately, I can tell you that this is rarely the case. In most instances, there will be an opposing party who has a distinctly different take on what transpired and the prosecutor is going to be relying on those alleged facts.
On the flip side, even if the facts are as bad as they may appear, an experienced attorney is your best chance at getting a favorable resolution. Even if it is clear as day that you committed the crime, in many instances, there are ways to salvage the situation so you can move past this difficult portion of your life.
One of the most difficult aspect to facing a criminal charge is the great unknown which lies ahead. It is entirely understandable to be confused and not know what to do. With the Law Offices of Jason Newcombe by your side, you will have a better understanding of what you are facing.
We will tell you what you need to hear and not simply what you want to hear. Unlike other firms, we want to make sure you actually understand what is going on – even if it is bad news. Call our office for a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. One of our Tacoma criminal defense lawyers will be happy to answer your questions and help get you pointed in the correct direction.