Frequently Asked Questions


Why do case lengths vary?

The length of time your case ends up taking can vary considerably based on factors, such as the type of crime you have been charged with. Keep in mind that shorter cases can be beneficial at times, such as when you are held in custody. A shorter case might allow you to get back to your regular life sooner, depending on the outcome. However, longer cases are sometimes more beneficial for those who are involved in a criminal case. For example, a longer case for alcohol or drug offenses gives you a chance to show that you have been able to remain sober for a long period of time.

What are DUI sentencing provisions?

Washington State has a three-tiered set of DUI sentencing guidelines.

• First-time offenders are subject to a mandatory court appearance. Sentencing includes up to $5,000 in fines, up to a two-year suspension of driver’s license, up to one year in jail and mandatory rehab paid for by the offender.

• For a second DUI, punishment is the same with up to a three-year suspension of driver’s license.

• With multiple DUIs, sentencing includes up to a four-year suspension of driver’s license.

What’s causing the increase in auto accidents?

Researchers and experts attribute the increase to many factors such as an increase in speed limits on highways and interstates, an increase in the number of drivers (adults and teens) and more people taking road trips since the economy began to rebound. However, an alarming number of deaths result from a distracted driver who decided that sending or reading texts needed their attention more than driving.

Is it possible to get a loved one off drugs?

Yes, but it takes commitment from both you and your family member. Most drug addicts can get through the detoxification phase, which generally lasts only a few days. The real work begins after that. Remaining drug free over the long-term presents the bigger challenge to many people who suffer from this addiction.

How big is the problem with distracted driving?

Recent reports from the U.S. Transportation Department offer some perspective on the problem of distracted driving:

* In the highest one-year increase since 1966, more than 35,000 people lost their lives on U.S. highways in 2016.
* Last year 10 percent of traffic deaths involved at least one distracted driver.
* That means the number of distraction-related fatalities rose 8.8 percent from a year earlier.

Additionally, the National Safety Council’s injury and fatality report from 2014 shows that 26 percent of all car accidents in the U.S. were linked to cell phone use.

Why you need an attorney?

Representing yourself in court for a criminal case is an option, but it is not the best one. Having a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer by your side throughout your case is essential. Your lawyer will know how to look for any problems with evidence and handle negotiations. They can also develop defenses during your case. If you are guilty, your lawyer can advise you on ways to minimize any legal consequences you are facing. With a criminal defense lawyer at your side, you will also know what to expect as you go throughout the entire process.

What constitutes "driving under the influence?"

A DUI can apply to anyone operating a vehicle while impaired by alcohol, marijuana or other substances, legal or illegal.

What if I qualify for a public defender?

The answer is simple. Public defenders do not offer the same personalized service that you can get from a firm like ours. Particularly in Washington, where the arrest rate is high, the criminal justice system is cramped, and the public defenders have incredibly heavy caseloads.

What are the several types of Therapeutic Courts?

In Washington, the different types of therapeutic courts consist of: juvenile therapeutic court, adult therapeutic court, family therapeutic court and veterans therapeutic court.

How long does a person have to be crime-free to restore gun rights?

For you to be eligible for firearms restoration, you must be crime-free for at least five years since the felony conviction that resulted in your loss of gun rights.

If the conviction was for a misdemeanor, the period is three years.

That means there cannot be any warrants for your arrest or pending charges.

Additionally, there cannot be a current unrelated issue such as a mental health commitment or a protection order that restricts your firearms rights.

What is deferred prosecution?

The law encourages people with addiction or mental health issues to seek help. With the assistance of a DUI lawyer in Kitsap County Washington, you can petition the court for permission to enter a treatment program instead of receiving a standard sentence. Upon successful completion of a two-year treatment, charges can be dismissed after three years provided you don’t violate the court order.

What are some tips for filing a personal injury claim?

If you suffer a personal injury, your focus should be on healing. Don’t let stress over a legal claim sidetrack your recovery. Here are 5 tips…

  1. Seek medical attention promptly
  2. File a police report 
  3. Limit communication at the scene of an accident
  4. Proceed with caution when dealing with insurance companies
  5. Keep accurate records of all injury-relayed expenses
What are the steps if involved in an auto accident?

Stay put (wait for authorities/ first responders), call for help (if you’re able), get medical attention, exchange insurance information, choose those you speak with carefully (consult an attorney first), and avoid settling a claim out of court.

What is Therapeutic Court?

In Washington, several departments (including the Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery, as well as the Department of Social and Health Services) combine efforts in a system of therapeutic courts where many drug-related charges are adjudicated.

When Can Firearm Rights Be Restored in Washington?

 Under Washington law, it’s possible for many people with misdemeanor or felony convictions to restore their gun rights. After all, a past mistake doesn’t necessarily have to follow you for the rest of your life. Eligibility for firearms restoration will generally depend on two factors.

  1. The type of conviction
  2. How long you’ve been crime-free since you were convicted or released from custody
What does drug treatment involve?

Numerous programs for treatment exist. Since everyone has different needs, it’s essential to choose the right program. Even so, many programs contain similar elements, including the following:

  • A detoxification (withdrawal) program
  • A mental health evaluation
  • A mental health treatment program (if needed)
  • Behavioral counseling
  • Follow-up care to prevent relapse
What are 5 things I should remember if pulled over by law enforcement?

(1) go to a safe spot,
(2) ask why you are being pulled over,
(3) remember your right to remain silent,
(4) know your roadside sobriety test rights and (5) stop at police checkpoints.

Is treatment an alternative to going to jail?

If your loved one qualifies, Washington uses therapeutic courts to help rehabilitate people addicted to drugs. Teaching new coping skills, better life skills and ways to change their attitude about drugs often changes the course of a drug addict’s life. Other elements could be added to the treatment program in order to help your family member re-enter society and remain drug free.

Were you charged with a DUI based on a blood test?

If so, you need an attorney who understands all the issues with blood tests. 

An attorney who is not trained in the science of blood tests will tell you your blood was above the limit, so you need to plead guilty.  I am trained in the science of blood testing.  I can spot all the issues and there usually are plenty.  Attorneys have known for some time that there are a number of issues that occur during the collection of blood samples and in the testing of those samples that results in incorrect and artificially high blood alcohol concentrations being reported by crime laboratories.  Crime labs throughout the country have been having significant issues.  The Washington State crime Lab has had significant problems.  I am trained in the Gas Chromatography machines that the crime lab uses to test blood.  Below are some photos of me at a lab testing blood, and learning all the ways a reported blood result should be questioned.  Don’t put your future in the hands of someone who does not understand the science.

Primary Practice Areas

Personal Injury Law

LaCross & Murphy, PLLC, represents injured victims throughout the Kitsap County and Port Orchard, Washington, area. We stand up for people who have been injured in car crashes, slip and falls, on-the-job accidents, through dog bite injuries, and more. We take on the legal issues of your case so you can focus on your family and your recovery. Learn More

Criminal Law

LaCross & Murphy, PLLC, is led by skilled trial attorneys who have extensive experience handling criminal law matters. Our firm is located in Port Orchard, and we represent individuals facing misdemeanor and felony offenses throughout the surrounding Washington areas. We take a team-oriented approach to representing our clients so we can best address your legal needs. Learn More

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