Tacoma DUI Defense & Pierce County DUI Defense
For Tacoma DUIs in Tacoma Municipal court, Judge Verhey presides over DUI cases. However, she is stepping down at the end of the year and Dwayne Christopher has been elected to her position. It is uncertain how the municipal court will handle DUIs going forward. If they will all be assigned to Judge Christopher or a different Judge or divided amongst the various Judges.
The City of Tacoma has prosecutors who have worked on DUIs for decades. Unlike the County which also handles felonies, the City only has jurisdiction over misdemeanor cases. Therefore, the prosecutors do not rotate to special assault units, drug units, vulnerable victim units, etc. In some cases the same prosecutors are still handling DUIs as when Mr. White worked against them as a student and public defender back in 1995.
That said, hard work and a thorough analysis by Smith and White’s DUI lawyers can win you a reduction in charge. In fact, unlike most courts (Judges) that will reduce a charge on the prosecutor’s say so, Judge Verhey will not accept a reduction unless the DUI defense lawyer can explain to her sufficient grounds to warrant a reduction. In fact, if you hire the DUI defense attorneys at Smith & White, PLLC early enough, upon reviewing your case we may suggest your exercise your Affidavit of Prejudice to force a different Judge to hear your case. Do not be confused by the name, Judge Verhey is a very fair and unprejudiced Judge. However, depending on the specifics of your case, her strong knowledge and familiarity with DUI law may or may not be an advantage to you. It’s also unclear if this requirement will continue after Judge Verhey retires but our Smith & White DUI lawyers will let you know.
Pierce County DUI Defense. In the Pierce County District Court they rotate which judges are assigned to hear DUI cases. However, much like the City of Tacoma, the Pierce County Prosecutors Office has attorneys assigned to the Misdemeanor Unit who handles only DUI cases. While this attorney may be new and inexperienced, he or she will be guided by an experienced supervisor. Currently, Erika Nohavec is the Misdemeanor Division Chief.
For the outlying cities in Pierce County (Puyallup , University Place, Lakewood for example), the prosecution is generally handled by the City Attorney’s office (or the contracted attorney paid to handle these cases by the City Attorney who does not want to handle them). Judge Beall presides over Puyallup DUI cases (and all others). Judge Beall is actually a former defense attorney that worked opposite Derek Smith of Smith & White, PLLC when he prosecuted for the City of Kent. Therefore, they have a long term working relationship.
Judge Susan Adams is the new Judge for the City of Lakewood DUIs (and all cases). She is both former Director of the Crystal Judson Center and a Pierce County District Prosecutor. Her background is mostly in combating domestic violence. As the cities of Steillacomb, University Place and DuPont do not wish to prosecute their own cases, they contract court services, both prosecution and Judge, with the City of Lakewood.
SERVING YOU FROM OUR OFFICES IN TACOMA. For an initial consultation with our Tacoma DUI defense lawyers, call Smith & White at (253) 203-1645. Or email James@smithandwhite.com.