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Disclaimer: The Domestic Violence Defense, DV, Alcohol, Assault, or other defense information presented at this site should not be considered formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer or attorney client relationship.  Any results set forth here were dependent on the facts of that case and the results will differ from case to case.  Please contact a Washington State domestic violence lawyer or attorney for a free initial consultation.  This web site is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the State of Washington.

My DV defense law firm serves the following Western Washington communities, among others: Snohomish County, King County, Skagit County, Alderwood, Arlington, Bellingham, Bothell, Brier, Camino Island, Darrington, Edgewood, Edmonds, Everett, Gold Bar, Granite Falls, Index, Lake Stevens, Lynnwood, Marysville, Mill Creek, Monroe, Mountlake Terrace, Tulalip, Mukilteo, Silvana, Smokey Point, Snohomish, Stanwood, Sultan, Woodway, Anacortes, Bow, Burlington, Clearlake, Concrete, Hamilton, La Conner, Lyman, Marbelmount, Mount Vernon, Sedro Wooley, Bellevue, Kirkland, Lake Forest Park, Mercer Island, Redmond, Seattle, Shoreline, Woodinville.

I also serve the following Zip Codes: 98011, 98012, 98020, 98021, 98026, 98033, 98034, 98036, 98037, 98043, 98046, 98052, 98072, 98082, 98087, 98201, 98203, 98204, 98205, 98206, 98207, 98208, 98213, 98223, 98241, 98251, 98252, 98256, 98258, 98259, 98270, 98271, 98272, 98273, 98274, 98275, 98287, 98290, 98291, 98292, 98293, 98294, 98296
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Experienced and Aggressive Criminal Defense
The criminal case will begin with the Prosecutor s office filing a complaint with the Court.  In District Court and Municipal Court this often means just filing their copy of the citation you received.  Other times, they will put together something called a "Leach Complaint," which specifically lays out the elements of the crime charged.  In Superior Court, they will file a document called an Information - which will have all of the elements of the crime and a brief statement of facts they intend to prove.

Your first Court appearance is called an Arraignment.  In District and Municipal Courts, you will typically go to this hearing by yourself.  In Superior Court, you will need an attorney to accompany you.  Regardless, this is the hearing where the Court will explain what you ve been accused of and give you the choice to plead Guilty or Not Guilty.  Always plead NOT GUILTY!

The Court will set your next court hearing, called a pre-trial and may also set a trial date as well.  The Court will also make a determination on your release status and whether or not you will be appointed a public defender.

Between your Arraignment and Pre-Trial, you should sit down with your attorney and go over the police reports and other evidence (collectively referred to as "discovery").  During this meeting (or meetings) your lawyer should lay out his or her strategy and come up with a list of evidence or witnesses that you will need to help defend you.  The Prosecutors will often make an initial offer on the case at this point.  Don t be surprised if this offer of settlement is not very good, as good first offers are a rarity.  Remember that this is a starting point for negotiations.

You may have multiple Pre-Trial hearings depending on the facts of your case.  These hearings can cover lots of different areas but are really designed to keep the Judge informed on the status of the case.  You will need to talk to your lawyer about what he or she hopes to accomplish during these hearings and how that will help your case.

If an agreement has been reached with the prosecutor then you can either set a hearing to enter a plea of guilty or, in District or Municipal Courts, you can change your plea during the Pre-Trial hearing.  Since each Court has its own culture, your attorney will be able to explain what the correct procedure will be.

If you decide that the best way to resolve the case is to bring it to trial, then you can advise the Court at Pre-Trial.  Often, the best offers of settlement come just a day or two before trial (sometimes on the morning of trial).

Obviously, this is a little over simplified but it will serve to give you a basic idea of what s coming.  The best way to reduce the stress of facing a criminal charge is learn as much as you can about what will happen.  Being able to have an Attorney you can talk to, one that understands the criminal system, is critical.  Never be afraid to ask questions - that s what your lawyer is there for!

What will happen?






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Call 866.529.5383

Fax 360.322.7360


The Cahoon Law Office
3405 - 172nd Street NE, #5-242

Arlington, WA 98223

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122 East 5th Street
Arlington, WA 98223
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