March 25 Shelter in Place—Distance sharing is caring. So Zoom video conference to continue with your essential legal services while keeping you, your family and your community safe. Smith & White is open as an essential service because courts remain open to address safety issues. So contact us in the secure manner you think best.

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Local DUI Defense Lawyers to Reimburse Rides Home from Beer Festival

DUI defense attorneys Smith and White will reimburse rides home from the Brew Five Three Beer and Music Festival this Saturday, the Tacoma law firm recently announced. The firm will cover up to $20 of a cab or ride-share ride for the first 20 people who submit receipts.

How to avoid a DUI offense

It’s summer time and we’re all eager to get outside, enjoy the nice weather and inevitably crack open a nice cold beer, preferably in the company of good friends. Tacoma’s legendary Brew Five Three Beer and Music Festival is quickly approaching and as a proud sponsor, we believe in DUI education for anyone who plans to attend. The truth is, no one ever PLANS to get a DUI. But arming yourself with the knowledge and understanding of a DUI may be helpful for you OR a friend in the improbable case one of you receives a DUI. Our number one goal at Smith and White is to keep you safe and protect our clients – by educating you on why you should never drive under the influence and what’s a stake if you decide to do so.

How to prevent a DUI


By James J. White, Directing Attorney at Smith & White, PLLC.

It can be bad enough you did not realize you were on probation. But many cases do have a “stealth” probation. You do not have a probation officer, you do not need to do anything affirmative for the court, yet you are still on probation. You maybe did not know or totally forgot and then something unexpected happens.

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Crime bosses always seem to have plenty of money.  I’m trying to think of one movie or series where the crime boss ran out of money.  Since he has plenty of money he always has the best lawyers.  I’ve been doing this 20 years.  If I’ve ever had a crime boss for a client he was too professional to let me know.

What I do know is that as soon as the Government charges you with a crime that would be an ongoing criminal enterprise, like being a drug dealer, embezzler, forger (think Catch Me If You Can) or all around crime boss, they also immediately, and sometimes before, seize or freeze all your assets.  So, once that happens it is too late to pay for the best lawyers.  Right when you need them finally.  All the fancy cars, houses, weapons, jewelry, etc are worthless (to you, the government agents are loving it all).  They are seized.  And you cannot afford a lawyer to get them back for you.  Continue reading


I do not give people my “elevator speech” when they ask for it.  Who wants to “market” themselves?  I mean who wants to market themselves with pithy quotes and pretty words?  We have some but what does “Compassionate Counsel, Passionate Defense” tell you about what I can do for you with your criminal case?  Yes, we are good listeners.  Yes, we do get behind your cause.  How does good fellowship and attentiveness benefit your case?

But I have been listening for about two decades now to thousands of clients.  And I am always on your side.  And one of the most common occurrences when listening to my clients and reviewing the evidence (against them) is that they often have excellent, winnable cases UNTIL we get to what they themselves said to law enforcement.  Add in what they may or may not have done at the direction of law enforcement and it’s just a few more thrusts with the shovel.  Continue reading


There has been plenty of press about the opiate epidemic that has swept the United States.  CDC opioid death statistics.  How the doctors neglect to warn people about the addictive properties of the painkillers which they are liberally prescribing and whether the FDA should approve such addictive substances to begin with are the subject for another article.  Deceptive Marketing of Drugs.  The hard truth that we must face, regardless how we got here, is that there is a crime wave that accompanies any opiate epidemic.

Fortunately, the vast majority of crimes associated with drug addiction are property crimes–theft, trafficking in stolen property, taking motor vehicles and even the noxious but not physically threatening identity theft.  As such, they are often eligible for the residential DOSA alternative to prison. Continue reading


Contrary to popular belief, in Washington a police officer cannot simply pull you over based on a “hunch”; there has to be a viable cause, or what is referred to as “reasonable suspicion” for the stop. Be it a minor traffic violation such as running a red light or perhaps an even lesser infraction like a defunct headlight, the officer in question cannot initiate a traffic stop based strictly on the fact the he/she thinks you may have been drinking. That said, assuming you are pulled over as a result of a valid suspicion, being knowledgeable about your rights at that moment and knowing precisely how to act, speak and behave is critical for any future DUI defense.

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In criminal cases in Washington, there are several elements against which you must defend if you’re accused of a crime. One of these is the imposition of a legal financial obligation (LFO) or monetary cost. In order to be obligated to pay, however, the court must provide a statute that specifically authorizes the LFO. In one man’s assault case, the Washington Court of Appeals decided that his LFO was improper because he did not commit any of the underlying crimes listed by the statute as requirements.

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A recent opinion from the Washington Court of Appeals offers an important reminder about the significance of lesser included offenses in a criminal trial. In this recent case, a man was able to get a conviction overturned because fourth-degree assault was a lesser included offense, but the trial judge refused to give the jury the instruction on fourth-degree assault that the accused man requested.

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In criminal law, there are certain issues in which the defendant’s state of mind or knowledge are vitally important matters to determining his level of guilt. In other areas, the defendant’s mental state is completely irrelevant. This distinction is what unraveled one Navy seaman’s defense against a charge of assault on a police officer. The seaman sought a self-defense jury instruction, based upon his alleged lack of knowledge that the man detaining him was a police officer. The Washington Court of Appeals upheld the lower court’s ruling because, in the seaman’s case, it didn’t matter what he did or didn’t know about the officer. It only mattered that the officer’s detainment of him was lawful, which the seaman did not contest.

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