Domestic violence charges are taken very seriously in Washington State and the penalties are often severe. From steep fines to extensive sentences, domestic violence penalties can follow you for many ...
The Right Attorney
Finding you options, keeping you informed, defending your rights.
Tacoma, Washington 98402
Tacoma Criminal Defense Lawyer
Washington’s legal system can be intimidating and unforgiving. Protect yourself, your future, and your freedom.
If you have been arrested for a criminal or felony offense it is likely a confusing and difficult time in your life, which is why you need an experienced Tacoma Criminal Defense Attorney in your corner. For a lot of people, a criminal arrest is their first experience with the criminal justice system and it can get complicated and a little nerve-wracking.
Morgan Fletcher Benfield, PLLC is a criminal defense law firm in Washington State with offices in Tacoma and serving Seattle, Federal Way, Kent, and Lakewood – we specialize criminal defense for domestic violence charges, felony charges, DUI defense, and drug crimes.
If you are facing a felony offense or criminal charges, contact Morgan Fletcher Benfield for a no-cost consultation.
If you’ve been accused of any of the following crimes, it’s imperative that you seek representation right away. No matter the charge – we can help.
Washington DUI charges can lead to mandatory jail time, the loss of your license, and a permanent criminal record. For a lot of people, a DUI is the first time they’ve encountered the criminal justice system and they will understandably have a lot of questions. A DUI doesn’t have to define your life because from the DUI court process to reinstating your license, we can help.
The drug laws in Washington are complex and if you are convicted of a drug crime, it can drastically impact your life for a very long time, including possible incarceration and difficulty finding a job. Whether you’ve been charged with drug possession or drug sales and delivery, you’ll need to know all your options. Don’t be taken by surprise.
In Pierce, King, and Snohomish counties, domestic violence charges are taken very seriously. In many cases, the police are obligated to make an arrest and even a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction can result in jail, thousands of dollars in fines, and a significant stain on your reputation. Learn how we can help.
Some crimes are punished more harshly than others. If you’ve been charged with a felony in Pierce, King, or Snohomish counties, you will be exposed to long periods of incarceration, staggering fines, and the life-altering impact of a felony conviction. You need knowledgeable and local representation. Start building a defense.
Theft crimes in Washington involve more than simply taking something that doesn’t belong to you. They are considered crimes of dishonesty and in addition to possible time behind bars, fines, and an enduring criminal record, the effects of a theft conviction can follow you forever. Learn what an attorney can do.
If your child has been charged with a crime, their case will likely be handled by Washington’s Juvenile Court System. Juvenile charges should never be underestimated and always pursued by a skilled legal professional. This system is not meant to be punitive and there are usually options including sealing juvenile records. Your child’s future is important. Protect it.
Good people make mistakes on the road. It’s bound to happen, but traffic tickets in Washington can result in significant costs to your driving record and your bank account. From higher insurance premiums to the loss of your license, learn what it takes to preserve your driving record.
Some offenses can change your life forever. Washington classifies “sex crimes” as a wide range of acts, from sexual assault to solicitation. These allegations are complex and a sex crime conviction can result in long prison terms and life-long sex offender registration. Defending against these claims takes a lot of skill and finesse, so don’t take chances and call an aggressive sex crimes attorney right away.
In Washington, both state and federal prosecutors make firearm offenses a top priority. Gun crimes carry the very real possibility of prison time in addition to permanently losing your gun rights upon conviction. If you have been charged with a gun crime in Washington, you need a committed and qualified attorney to defend your rights.
Our Only Focus is You
When you are represented by Tacoma criminal defense lawyer Morgan Fletcher Benfield, you can be assured that an aggressive and knowledgeable attorney is advocating for you and fighting for the result you need to see when criminal charges put everything in jeopardy.
We realize that your case is as distinct as you are, and that’s why we take great pride in getting to know every client, what’s important to them, and finding an outcome that puts them in the best position to put their charges behind them. Beginning with a free, no-risk consultation, Tacoma criminal attorney Benfield will meet with you personally, discuss what led to your charges, and offer real and attainable solutions. From there, we will craft a plan of action to achieve your goals. This includes aggressively negotiating for a dismissal if it is warranted, working to reduce the charges based on the facts, or securing a manageable sentence that fairly relates to your situation.
If maintaining your ability to drive after a DUI is essential to keeping your job, then that is the route attorney Benfield will take. If a drug conviction will disqualify your child from receiving financial aid, he will work to keep it off their record. And in major felony cases, attorney Benfield will strive to clear your name and protect you from time in custody.
What Sets Morgan Fletcher Benfield Apart
- Exclusively handles criminal charges in the Tacoma area with a focus on your needs
- A commitment to remaining responsive and keeping you informed from start to finish
- Local knowledge of the Tacoma court system and what can make a difference for you
- A deep understanding of what it takes to obtain the best outcomes and how to get results
- Aggressive advocacy at every turn and a meticulous approach to crafting your defense
- Top quality criminal defense for reasonable fees
Craft the Strongest Possible Defense to Any Tacoma DUI
In 2015, there were 24,627 DUI arrests in Washington.
*Arrest Data Source: 2015 FBI Uniform Crime Report
Under Washington DUI laws, you can face charges any time you are found “driving under the influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor, marijuana, or any drug.” Such a broad definition allows for DUI charges if it is determined that you have a .08 or higher blood alcohol concentration (BAC), a THC concentration of 5.00 nanograms or higher, within two hours of driving, as well as in situations where your BAC may be below the guidelines, but there is other evidence of impairment.
Mandatory Minimum Penalties for Washington DUI Charges
A minimum of one day to 364 days in jail and fines between $940.50 and $5,000.
A maximum of 364 days with a mandatory minimum of two days in jail and fines between $1,195.50 and $5,000.
A minimum of 30 days to a maximum of 364 days in jail, between $1,195.50 and $5,000 in fines.
A minimum of 45 days to a maximum of 364 days in jail, between $1,620.50 and $5,000 in fines.
A minimum of 90 days to a max of 364 days in jail, fines between $2,045.50 and $5,000.
A minimum of 120 days to a max of 364 days in jail, fines between $2,895.50 and $5,000.
It’s not always easy to determine if you are under the legal limit to drive. At The Law Offices of Morgan Fletcher Benfield, PLLC, we know that nearly everyone is at risk of being charged with driving under the influence (DUI) at one time or another. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that in Washington 2.1 percent of people have admitted to driving after drinking too much, which is well above the national average of 1.9 percent. As a result, DUI offenses in Washington are treated very seriously, and if you are charged, you need to take it seriously as well. The penalties are expensive, inconvenient, and often permanent. However, with help from a knowledgeable and skilled Tacoma criminal defense attorney, you can reduce the impact and spare yourself many of the harshest penalties, including mandatory time behind bars.
DUI sentences in Washington will greatly depend on your unique circumstances. Many people often hear the phrase “mandatory minimum,” and immediately become disheartened because they think there is no way to avoid incarceration, but their situations are actually far from hopeless. A skilled Tacoma DUI lawyer can work with prosecutors to reduce the charge to something that does not include jail time, point out weaknesses in the case, and if possible, obtain a dismissal based on the facts.
Preserve Your License after a Washington DUI
In addition to the substantial fines, costs, and mandatory minimums associated with a Washington DUI, people also need to worry about having their driving privileges suspended by the Department of Licensing. These proceedings operate independently from the criminal DUI process, meaning that even a positive outcome in one, will not influence the other. For instance, if you are charged with a first offense DUI, where you complied with a breath test, the DOL will likely pursue a standard license suspension of 90 days in addition to any criminal penalties. If you allegedly refused testing, the DOL will probably enhance the penalty to a one-year suspension and any second or subsequent DUI within seven years can result in a two-year suspension.
These are complicated administrative matters with strict filing deadlines and firm guidelines, best handled by a legal professional. By working with an attorney, you can ensure compliance, so you can preserve your ability to drive, while also working to obtain the best possible result in your criminal case.
Important BAC Limits in Washington
- .08 for drivers at least 21-years-old
- .04 for drivers holding a commercial driver’s license (CDL)
- .02 for drivers under 21
What Does a DUI Cost in Washington?
- The minimum fine for a first-time DUI is $940.50 and the maximum is $5,000.
- The average fine imposed for a DUI is $3,711.
- The average increase to insurance premiums is 60% or $466.80 per year.
- Installation and monthly charges for a required one year ignition interlock device can total around $1,300.
- A DUI Hearing fee is $375
- A License reinstatement fee is $150
Upfront Fees for the Defense Your Deserve
We are committed to providing our clients with quality and affordable legal representation to those facing criminal charges in Tacoma, Washington as well as Pierce, King, and Snohomish counties. Our fees will always be discussed up-front and based on your situation, the intricacy of the charges, as well as the time and work involved.
Our rates are always flat, so you won’t be surprised by unexpected trial costs or fees. We also offer sliding scale options to those that qualify. We encourage you to call our offices and schedule a free, no-risk case evaluation, where we will discuss how we can help and provide you with a flat fee for our services.