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Pre-Trial Detention

Experienced Tacoma Attorneys Representing People Arrested on Criminal Charges

It is common knowledge that criminal defendants are considered innocent until they are proven guilty. Even though defendants are presumed innocent, however, this does not mean that they necessarily must retain all of their liberties. Instead, in certain Washington criminal cases, a defendant may be detained prior to their trial. If you have been arrested for a crime, you should talk to an experienced Tacoma bail attorney who can try to get you out of pre-trial detention. The assertive criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Smith & White, PLLC will work diligently to prevent the State from detaining you prior to your trial. We represent clients in criminal matters in Tacoma and other areas of Pierce, King, Kitsap, and Thurston Counties.

Washington Laws Regarding Pre-Trial Detention

Under Washington law, the State is expressly limited in its right to detain people accused of or charged with crimes. For example, if the police arrest a person without a warrant, CrR 3.2.1 requires that a court conduct a hearing within 48 hours to determine whether probable cause exists to charge the person with a crime. If the State does not file an information or indictment within that time, the court must either order that the person be released from jail or set a time for the person to appear before the court within the next 24 hours. Thus, the total time during which a person who is arrested without a warrant can be held in jail is 72 hours, unless an information or indictment is filed. Notably, the 72-hour period does not include weekends or holidays.

If a person is charged with a crime that is not a capital offense, CrR 3.2 provides that he or she generally should be released on his or her own recognizance until the trial. There are exceptions for cases in which the court determines that the person is not reasonably likely to appear for court proceedings, or that the person is likely to commit a violent crime or intimidate witnesses. If the court finds that a person is a flight risk, it is required to impose the least restrictive measures that will ensure that the person will appear at future hearings. In many cases, the court will choose to set a bond that the person must obtain to secure his or her release. If the person cannot obtain the bond, he or she may be subject to pre-trial detention.

When a person is charged with a capital offense, by contrast, CrR 3.2 states that the person should not be released unless the court finds that he or she will appear for later hearings, does not pose a threat to the community, and will not try to interfere with the administration of justice. If the court finds the person to be a flight risk, or if there is a danger of harm or interference, the court can order the person to be detained without bail. In order to impose pre-trial detention without bail on the basis that a person has a propensity for violence, pursuant to RCW 10.21.040, the court must find that there is clear and convincing evidence that the person’s violent tendencies create a substantial likelihood of danger to other people. Anyone detained under RCW 10.21.040 has a right to an expedited review of the detention order.

Avoiding Pre-Trial Detention

In any criminal case, it is critical to retain a knowledgeable attorney who can help mitigate the risk that the defendant may be detained prior to trial. An attorney can gather evidence and facts to support the argument that pre-trial detention is not necessary. In other cases, the role of a lawyer can involve limiting the imposition of any bond or bail or limiting the amount imposed in cases in which a defendant faces the risk of being detained due to a lack of financial resources to obtain a bond or post bail.

Consult a Skilled Tacoma Attorney to Discuss Your Charges

Criminal charges do not automatically result in the loss of a person’s liberty, and in many cases, criminal defendants should not be detained prior to trial. The seasoned criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Smith & White, PLLC can analyze the circumstances surrounding your arrest to help you determine whether you may be able to avoid pre-trial detention. Our main office is in Tacoma, and we are available by appointment at our second office in Vashon. You can reach us through our online form or at 253-203-1645 to schedule a confidential and free meeting to discuss your case.

Client Reviews
I was represented by James White and have been nothing but satisfied with the outcome. Jame is very efficient and eliminates much of the stress that the judicial system can place on an offender. I am very grateful to have such a great attorney and owe him my gratitude for helping me when times were rough. Not only is he professional, but he is also someone you can talk to on a personal level. I highly recommend James White and would undoubtedly use him again in the future. If you are in search of an attorney, do yourself a favor and have the law offices of Smith & White represent you. Mike D.
I contacted James after my charge for reckless endangerment, and right from the start he was informative and reassuring. James worked hard to get me the best possible outcome, and was always very quick to return a call or text. He was straightforward and honest with me about my case, explaining both the good and the bad in a way that was reassuring without being misleading. Overall, I highly recommend Smith and White to anyone who is looking for the most professional representation in their legal matters. Matthew B.
Attorney James White was a beacon of hope for me at a time when my options appeared limited and the likeness of a satisfactory resolution seemed close to nothing. Not only was he able to defend me in a specific sticky situation in which I hired him for, I felt as though he also went above and beyond in efforts to provide me with the best outcome possible. His calm and professional demeanor offered such a great assurance to myself and those I care about around me. I am completely grateful for his service and I most definitely recommend Mr. White. Leyasha J.
Derek Smith guided us through a troubling legal situation with absolute professionalism. This was my first experience with a trial situation and Mr. Smith was able to address all of my questions and concerns in a way that helped address some of the fear I had regarding the legal system. Mr. Smith was highly effective during the trial and the result ended up in our favor. Legal troubles are scary and it was great knowing we had a fantastic legal team on our side to help navigate the somewhat confusing situation. My wife and I emphatically recommend this law firm. Steve B.
Mr. Smith was wonderful to work with. He was professional, knowledgeable and effective!! He takes the time to listen, which is amazing and can be a hard quality to find! He is informative and straight forward, which I truly appreciate! He was quite helpful on another matter that I asked his advise on. Thank you!!! Melika