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 “Navigating Tacoma’s Municipal Code: A Guide for Criminal Defense” Part II

by | May 1, 2024 | Assault, Assault and Self Defense, Drunk Driving, DUI

 “Navigating Tacoma’s Municipal Code: A Guide for Criminal Defense”

Introduction: Understanding Tacoma’s Municipal Code is crucial for anyone navigating the local criminal justice system. This blog aims to demystify some of the specific regulations that impact criminal defense within the city, providing valuable insights for residents and lawyers alike.

Key Tacoma Municipal Code Provisions: Tacoma’s Municipal Code outlines specific local regulations that can significantly impact criminal cases. For instance, Tacoma addresses various offenses from public safety violations to more serious criminal acts within its municipal jurisdiction. Key provisions include those related to public nuisance, vandalism, and other local ordinance violations that could escalate to criminal charges.

Traffic and Parking Infractions: A considerable portion of the Tacoma Municipal Code is dedicated to traffic and parking regulations. Understanding these rules is crucial as infractions can sometimes lead to more significant legal issues. For instance, repeated traffic violations can lead to enhanced penalties or even criminal charges depending on the nature and frequency of the offenses.  I remember arriving in Tacoma in1993 as a law student.  After performing a safe U-turn on Pacific Avenue, I was pulled over.  I was informed by Tacoma Police that “there are no U-turns in Tacoma.”  Now, as an experienced defense attorney, I would argue that the state has usurped the field as to roadway regulation and that cities cannot pass and enforce their own particularized driving rules that defy the state norms.

Local Regulations on Public Conduct: Tacoma’s code also details regulations on public conduct, including prohibitions against certain types of behaviors in public spaces. These local laws are particularly important for residents to understand as violations could lead to arrests or criminal charges. For example, specific codes govern behaviors like public intoxication, unlawful assembly, and other conduct-related offenses.

Impact of Municipal Codes on Criminal Defense: For those facing charges in Tacoma, understanding the nuances of the Municipal Code can be a crucial component of their defense strategy. Local statutes may provide specific definitions and penalties that differ from state laws. Municipalities, like Tacoma, have the authority to create their own crimes.  A city can criminalize a behavior making it as serious as a gross misdemeanor.  For example, Tacoma has made riding of horses on any of the streets or alleys a form of disorderly conduct.  TMC 8.12.010. 

Other Particulars as to Tacoma Criminal Defense:  Similarly, the Tacoma Municipal Code maintains its own definitions as to Criminal Attempt and Accomplice Liability.  TMC 8.12.011 & 8.12.012.  The city has criminalized disturbing meetings of the Council and other city proceedings.  TMC 8.12.015.  And maintains presumably antiquated codes related to criminalizing opium dens.  TMC 8.12.020.

Conclusion: Whether you are a resident, a visitor, or a legal professional in Tacoma, being informed about the Municipal Code can significantly impact the outcomes of criminal proceedings. It is advisable for anyone involved in legal disputes or facing charges to consult with a qualified Tacoma criminal defense attorney who is familiar with both state and local laws.

Call to Action: If you’re dealing with a criminal charge in Tacoma or just seeking to understand more about your rights under the local municipal code, reaching out to a knowledgeable attorney is your best step forward. An experienced lawyer can provide guidance tailored to the specifics of Tacoma’s legal framework, ensuring the best possible outcome for your case.

This overview provides a foundational understanding of how Tacoma’s Municipal Code interacts with criminal defense. For more detailed information or specific legal advice, consulting directly with the Tacoma Criminal Defense Attorneys at Smith & White, PLLC.