Criminal Defense

Aggressive, Intelligent, Respected Criminal Defense throughout King and Pierce Counties

Experienced Criminal Defense

If you have been arrested or charged with a crime, you need fast, smart, aggressive action from a criminal defense attorney who is concerned about you and your future. We have over 150 years of combined experience aggressively representing people in courtrooms in the Seattle-Tacoma area, as well as throughout King, Pierce, Snohomish and other Washington state counties from Clark to Whatcom and Grays Harbor to Chelan.

While most of our cases resolve without going to trial, our attorneys have extensive experience at every stage of a criminal case, including trying criminal cases to a jury.

Be Aware: many of the firms that claim to be experienced criminal defense attorneys have little or no actual trial experience. Cases are set for trial but, presumably as a result of fear or a lack of self confidence, clients are convinced to plead guilty to the charges as their cases approach trial. Prosecutors are aware when lawyers and law firms are unwilling to take their cases to trial and this can impact those attorney's effectiveness during pre-trial negotiations.

Neither a lack of self confidence, nor fear, have ever been an issue with the attorneys at Stewart MacNichols Harmell, Inc., P.S. In fact, the attorneys at Stewart MacNichols Harmell, Inc., P.S., have been involved in hundreds of criminal jury trials. The reputation that we have earned for our preparedness and willingness to take these cases to trial is tremendously important. A person charged with a crime needs an attorney with that reputation. It's even better when the lawyer is a recognized winner.
For a Free Consultation, Call or Email Us Today
South King & Pierce County (253) 859-8840 | Eastside (425) 454-9959 | Seattle (206) 901-9984
The Importance of Picking the Right Criminal Defense Lawyer 
 
If you have been charged with a criminal offense, choosing the right defense lawyer is the most important decision you have to make. In these difficult times, you need a lawyer with experience and skill to effectively defend your freedom.  The attorneys at Stewart MacNichols Harmell, Inc., P.S., have been focusing their practice on criminal defense law since 1992. Our lawyers have developed a reputation for excellence among judges, prosecutors and fellow attorneys.  If you are facing a criminal charge and retain us, we will meet with you to begin constructing your defense within 24 hours whether in jail, or in our office.

Most Criminal Offenses are set forth in Title 9A of the Revised Code of Washington, The Washington Criminal Code. Additional crimes are contained in Title 9 of the Revised Code of Washington, Crimes and Punishments.  Additional crimes are defined thoughout the Revised Code of Washington.  For instance, crimes against animals can be found in Title 16, Animals and Livestock, drug crimes can be found in Title 69.50, The Uniform Controlled Substances Act, and crimes involving motor vehicles can be found in Title 46, Motor Vehicles, including 46.61, The Rules of the Road.

 
• National Trial Lawyer's Top 100

• Avvo's Highest Rating 10 / Superb
 
•Over 300 Jury Trials

•American Institute DUI Attorneys 10 Best
 
•Over 100 Jury Trials
 
•Teaches classes on DUI Defense

 
•Published Author on Criminal Law
 
•Jury Trials include Murder, Rape, Other Three Strikes Crimes and Domestic Violence

•Over 300 Jury Trials
 Representation on Every Type of Criminal Offense

The Attorneys at Stewart MacNichols Harmell, Inc., P.S., have over one hundred and fifty years of combined experience aggressively representing persons accused of essentially every type of criminal offense recognized by Washington State law including, but not limited to: 

Animal Cruelty, RCW 16.52.205
Assault, RCW 9A.36
Arson, RCW 9A.48
Burglary, RCW 9A.52
Child Molestation, see the Stewart MacNichols Harmell, Inc., P.S., Sex Crimes Page
Custodial Assault
Drive By Shooting
Drug Charges (VUCSA), see Stewart MacNichols Harmell, Inc., P.S., Drug Charges / VUCSA Page
Failure to Register as a Sex Offender
Forgery
Harassment, RCW 9A.46
Hit and Run
Indecent Liberties
Identity Crimes (including Identity Theft), RCW 9A.35
Intimidating a Witness
Luring
Malicious Mischief, 9A.48
Manslaughter, RCW 9A.3n
Murder, RCW 9A.32
Possession of Child Porn
Rape, see the Stewart MacNichols Harmell, Inc., P.S., Sex Crimes Page
Rape of a Child
Burglary
Robbery, RCW 9A.56
Sexual Misconduct With a Minor
Stalking, RCW 9A.46
Taking a Motor Vehicle
Theft, RCW 9A.56
Vehicular Assault, RCW 46.61.522
Vehicular Homicide, RCW 46.61.520
Violation of a No Contact Order (VNCO) - Felony
Violation of Uniform Firearms Act (VUFA)
Witness Tampering

Release While Charges Are Pending - Bail

At the first court appearance the judge will make a determination whether to release a defendant on his or her own or personal recognizance, or set bail. In making this determination, the judge consider the seriousness of the charges, the defendant’s criminal history, the likelihood that the defendant will appear at future scheduled court dates, and any threat he or she poses to the safety of the community if released. If the Judge determines that the defendant not a flight risk or threat to the community, the judge will likely release him or her on their own / personal recognizance, meaning that the defendant will not have to post bail. However, the judge determines that a defendant is a flight risk, or that he or she puts the community safety at risk, the judge will likely impose bail. 

If bail is set then a defendant may either post cash, or use a bail bonds company. When using a bail bond company, a defendant typical pays the company ten percent of the full bail amount in exchange for the company posting a bail bond. Sometimes a defendant must use collateral to obtain a bail bond. The bail bond company guarantees the bond to the court and are responsible for the amount of the bail when a defendant fails to appear at a future court date. 

Jail, Prison, Fines and Other Consequences of a Conviction

In Washington State crimes are divided into three main categories - felonies, gross misdemeanors and misdemeanors - each type of crime exposes you to incarceration and fines.  
 
Some crimes carry additional consequences.  Some of these are mandatory, and some are up to the judge.  Some can be devastating.  Non-citizens can be deported.  For most sex offenses, a conviction will result in an offender being required to register as a sex offender - sometimes for life.  There are circumstances where persons who commit driving offenses can lose their driver's license for anywhere from thirty days to seven years, and more.  Domestic violence defendants face a No Contact Order, barring them from having contact with their home and family - and this order can be imposed prior to conviction - at the very first court date - even if the alleged victim does not want it.  
 
There may also be requirements of treatment and education, including, among others:  Alcohol and Drug Treatment, Sexual Offender Treatment, Domestic Violence Treatment, Anger Management, Defensive Driving Classes, Parenting Classes and Consumer Awareness Classes.   The court can require that a person not drive without an ignition interlock in their vehicle and/or that the defendant submit themselves to random drug testing and, again, this requirement can be imposed prior to a person's conviction.
 
Given the potential consequences resulting from a criminal charge, choosing the right defense lawyer is the most important decision you have to make. In these difficult times, you need a lawyer with experience and skill to effectively defend your freedom.  The attorneys at Stewart MacNichols Harmell, Inc., P.S., have been focusing their practice on criminal defense law since 1992. Our lawyers have developed a reputation for excellence among judges, prosecutors and fellow attorneys.  If you are facing a criminal charge and retain us, we will meet with you to begin constructing your defense within 24 hours whether in jail, or in our office.
Jail, Prison and Fines - Felonies
 
Washington law breaks felonies into three categories:
 
Class A Felonies: Punishable by up to life imprisonment and/or $50,000 in fines.
 
Class B Felonies: Punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or $20,000 in fines.
 
Class C Felonies: Punishable by up to 5 years in prison and/or $10,000 in fines.
 
These classifications are further divided by the seriousness of the crime. Washington has a complex system of sentencing guidelines that further breaks felonies into levels of seriousness with Level I being the least serious felony and Level XV being the most serious.  The guidelines also consider the offender's relevant criminal history.  To calculate a sentencing range it is necessary to utilize the Washington State Adult Sentencing Manual and Guidelines.
 
Jail and Fines - Misdemeanors and Gross Misdemeanors
 
Misdemeanors and gross misdemeanors are generally filed in Municipal (City) or District (County) courts.  Misdemeanors carry and maximum penalty of up to 90 days in jail and a $1000.00 fine.  Gross Misdemeanors carry a maximum penalty of up to 364 days in jail and a $5000.00 fine.  In addition to the maximum penalties, some of these crimes carry minimum jail sentences and fines.  For instance Driving Under the Influence carries a minimum jail sentence ranging from one (1) day in jail for a first offense with a breath test below .15, to 120 days in jail and 150 days electronic home monitoring for a third or fourth offense committed within seven years with a breath test above .15, or a breathe test refusal, as well as minimum fines, costs and assessments. Other Criminal charges from Patronizing a Prostitute to Driving While a Habitual Traffic Offender carry potential mandatory jail and/or fines. costs and assessments.

Three Strikes Attorney

Our most experienced criminal defense lawyers each have over fifteen years of experience representing people charged with serious felony criminal offenses. These include people who have been accused of Murder, Rape, Robbery, Arson and other serious felonies.
 
We have represented people at all stages of a serious felony criminal case, from preliminary hearing, to arraignment, case setting, omnibus hearing, motions and trial. These cases are highly emotional, and both the prosecution and law enforcement are highly motivated.  

If you or a loved one has been accused of a serious felony including a three-strikes offense you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible.  The attorneys at Stewart MacNichols Harmell, Inc., P.S., are available to answer your questions 24/7, and the first consultation is always free.

Most Serious Offenses, Persistent Offender and Three Strikes Law

In 1993 Washington became the first state to pass persistent-offender legislation. The Washington law, more commonly referred to as the three-strikes law, mandates that persons who are persistent offenders, be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. RCW 9.94A.030 (38) defines “persistent offender” as an offender who:

(a)(i) Has been convicted in this state of any felony considered a most serious offense; and

(ii) Has, before the commission of the offense under (a) of this subsection, been convicted as an offender on at least two separate occasions, whether in this state or elsewhere, of felonies that under the laws of this state would be considered most serious offenses and would be included in the offender score under RCW 9.94A.525; provided that of the two or more previous convictions, at least one conviction must have occurred before the commission of any of the other most serious offenses for which the offender was previously convicted; or

(b)(i) Has been convicted of: (A) Rape in the first degree, rape of a child in the first degree, child molestation in the first degree, rape in the second degree, rape of a child in the second degree, or indecent liberties by forcible compulsion; (B) any of the following offenses with a finding of sexual motivation: Murder in the first degree, murder in the second degree, homicide by abuse, kidnapping in the first degree, kidnapping in the second degree, assault in the first degree, assault in the second degree, assault of a child in the first degree, assault of a child in the second degree, or burglary in the first degree; or (C) an attempt to commit any crime listed in this subsection (38)(b)(i); and

(ii) Has, before the commission of the offense under (b)(i) of this subsection, been convicted as an offender on at least one occasion, whether in this state or elsewhere, of an offense listed in (b)(i) of this subsection or any federal or out-of-state offense or offense under prior Washington law that is comparable to the offenses listed in (b)(i) of this subsection. A conviction for rape of a child in the first degree constitutes a conviction under (b)(i) of this subsection only when the offender was sixteen years of age or older when the offender committed the offense. A conviction for rape of a child in the second degree constitutes a conviction under (b)(i) of this subsection only when the offender was eighteen years of age or older when the offender committed the offense.

Under Washington law "most serious offense" means any of the following felonies or a felony attempt to commit any of the following felonies:

(a) Any felony defined under any law as a class A felony or criminal solicitation of or criminal conspiracy to commit a class A felony;

(b) Assault in the second degree;

(c) Assault of a child in the second degree;

(d) Child molestation in the second degree;

(e) Controlled substance homicide;

(f) Extortion in the first degree;

(g) Incest when committed against a child under age fourteen;

(h) Indecent liberties;

(i) Kidnapping in the second degree;

(j) Leading organized crime;

(k) Manslaughter in the first degree;

(l) Manslaughter in the second degree;

(m) Promoting prostitution in the first degree;

(n) Rape in the third degree;

(o) Robbery in the second degree;

(p) Sexual exploitation;

(q) Vehicular assault, when caused by the operation or driving of a vehicle by a person while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug or by the operation or driving of a vehicle in a reckless manner;

(r) Vehicular homicide, when proximately caused by the driving of any vehicle by any person while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug as defined by RCW 46.61.502, or by the operation of any vehicle in a reckless manner;

(s) Any other class B felony offense with a finding of sexual motivation;

(t) Any other felony with a deadly weapon verdict under RCW 9.94A.825;

(u) Any felony offense in effect at any time prior to December 2, 1993, that is comparable to a most serious offense under this subsection, or any federal or out-of-state conviction for an offense that under the laws of this state would be a felony classified as a most serious offense under this subsection;

(v)(i) A prior conviction for indecent liberties under RCW 9A.44.100(1) (a), (b), and (c), chapter 260, Laws of 1975 1st ex. sess. as it existed until July 1, 1979, RCW 9A.44.100(1) (a), (b), and (c) as it existed from July 1, 1979, until June 11, 1986, and RCW 9A.44.100(1) (a), (b), and (d) as it existed from June 11, 1986, until July 1, 1988;

(ii) A prior conviction for indecent liberties under RCW 9A.44.100(1)(c) as it existed from June 11, 1986, until July 1, 1988, if: (A) The crime was committed against a child under the age of fourteen; or (B) the relationship between the victim and perpetrator is included in the definition of indecent liberties under RCW 9A.44.100(1)(c) as it existed from July 1, 1988, through July 27, 1997, or RCW 9A.44.100(1) (d) or (e) as it existed from July 25, 1993, through July 27, 1997;

(w) Any out-of-state conviction for a felony offense with a finding of sexual motivation if the minimum sentence imposed was ten years or more; provided that the out-of-state felony offense must be comparable to a felony offense under this title and Title 9A RCW and the out-of-state definition of sexual motivation must be comparable to the definition of sexual motivation contained in this section.

Does it make sense to fight a three strikes offense?

The answer is, of course, "yes." If a criminal defense lawyer can get a most most serious offense dismissed, or reduced - or secure an acquittal at trial - the client will avoid the mandatory life sentence .

Similarly, it's important to fight any charge that could result in conviction for a crime that may count as a "strike" in the future. 

It is absolutely worth fighting a Washington State three strikes law case.  Our attorneys will challenge the current charge and, where appropriate, we will challenge any prior convictions as well.  

Expungements / Restoration of Firearms Rights Attorney

In some cases, it is possible to have a conviction expunged, which means it is permanently erased from your record. In Washington State, the term for removing a criminal conviction from your criminal history is called “vacation” or “vacate.”   
 
Felony Convictions, RCW 9.94A.640
 
Washington law allows a person to vacate most class B and C felonies. The law prohibits vacations of all class A felonies, violent crimes, and crimes against persons. The court must issue a Certificate of Discharge before you can vacate a felony conviction. For class B felonies, you must wait ten (10) years to vacate after receiving a Certificate of Discharge. For class C felonies, you must wait five (5) years. During this time you must not have any criminal convictions of any kind. It is possible to vacate more than one felony conviction.
 
Certificate of Discharge, RCW 9.94A.637
 
Under Washington law, a person who has been convicted of a felony must obtain a Certificate of Discharge from the court before they can vacate a felony conviction. A Certificate of Discharge restores the right to vote. It does not restore the right to possess a firearm. A Certificate of Discharge is not necessary for misdemeanor / gross misdemeanor offenses.  A person generally becomes eligible to receive a Certificate of Discharge once he or she establishes they have complied with and completed all conditions of sentence. This includes payment of all legal financial obligations.  In most circumstances, where a person has completed all conditions of sentence while still under Department of Corrections (DOC) supervision, DOC will request the Certificate of Discharge. Sometimes, the convicted person must make the request for a Certificate of Discharge. 
 
Misdemeanor and Gross Misdemeanor Convictions, RCW 9.96.060 
 
For most misdemeanors and gross misdemeanors a convicted person must wait three years after completing all conditions of sentence to become eligible to vacate a conviction. For domestic violence offenses, it is necessary to wait five years. Certain crimes, like DUI's and sex crimes, cannot be vacated. A subsequent conviction or pending criminal charge can make you ineligible to vacate a prior conviction. Furthermore, a convicted person cannot vacate a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor conviction if they have previously vacated another conviction.

Every Client Important

Each client's unique circumstances are different, but for us, tremendously important. Our goal is to obtain the very best possible outcome for each person who trusts us with their defense. To that end, we endeavor to bring the full power of the firm's one hundred and fifty plus years of combined experience representing persons charged with domestic violence offenses to confront, challenge and defend each aspect of every client's case. Our criminal defense attorneys will aggressively and effectively represent you at every potential stage of your defense including arraignment, pre-trial, case setting, motions, omnibus hearing, readiness/jury call, and trial.

Intent on Winning

Our criminal defense attorneys have obtained dismissals and acquittals in literally thousands of criminal cases. We are recognized as aggressive, successful and experienced trial attorneys. Our firm's reputation and our attorney's skills allow us to approach each of our client's cases from a position of power. This generally results in the best available disposition for each of the persons who have trusted us with their defense. When we are not able to reach an agreement with the prosecution, each of our client's can be confident that their attorney is ready to aggressively defend them in front of a jury. This because when we go to trial we are fully prepared, and always intend on winning.
Share by: