Are you being investigated or have you been charged with a crime?
Lisa Martinez Attorney at Law, PLLC is currently taking misdemeanor and gross misdemeanor cases from municipal and district courts in the state of Washington.
Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
Assault 4th Degree
Failure to Disperse
Criminal Trespass 2nd Degree
Disclosing Intimate Images
Criminal Attempt of Class C Felonies (Gross Misdemeanor)
Criminal Solicitation of Class C Felonies (Gross Misdemeanor)
Criminal Conspiracy of Class C Felonies (Gross Misdemeanor)
Failing to Summon Assistance
Theft 3rd Degree
Possessing Stolen Property 3rd degree
Criminal Street Gang Tagging and Graffiti
Defacing a State Monument
Criminal Impersonation 2nd Degree
Lisa's Journey from Police Work to the Courtroom
Lisa Martinez is an attorney licensed to practice in the State of Washington. She was born and raised deep in the heart of Dallas, Texas. After graduating high school, Lisa signed up for the military, replicating her father and brother’s aspirations. This was during the era of “Don’t ask, don’t tell.” She quickly realized her sexual orientation and gender presentation was not something she could conceal or change. Lisa was soon discharged.
Still wanting to continue her family’s legacy, she began applying for law enforcement agencies. She spent some time with a sheriff’s office and police department. Her law enforcement experience gave her insight into the criminal justice system, as well as police procedure and government policy. However, Lisa could not ignore the overwhelming lack of police accountability; this is where her dream of attending law school began.
Lisa left law enforcement to attend college full time. She was a first-generation college student. During undergrad, Lisa volunteered for various non-profit organizations that promoted social justice and equity. In law school, Lisa interned for the NAACP and criminal defense law firms. Lisa then went on to pass the Washington bar exam on the first attempt, achieving an exam score high enough to practice law in any of the participating UBE states.
Soon after passing the bar she assisted a prominent Seattle Civil Rights Attorney with police accountability cases, while seeking full-time employment within the criminal justice realm. Her goal was to learn the landscape of criminal laws and get acclimated to the nature of criminal law in the great northwest. She was hired on as a King County prosecutor within months of passing the bar exam. Lisa was able to further hone her skills to now assist clients involved in criminal investigations and prosecutions.
Lisa started her law firm with criminal defense as her main focus. She is familiar with and accustomed to facing challenges and adversity head on. She is responsive and attentive. She honors her ethical obligations and takes pride in her work.
Lisa Martinez Attorney at Law, PLLC takes on criminal matters in the pre-filing/investigation stage, pretrial, and trial phases. She can also assist in the vacating convictions process, as well as general criminal law legal consulting.
Contact Lisa Martinez Attorney at Law, PLLC for a free phone consultation. Lisa strives to make legal representation affordable for all, with reasonable flat rate fees. Lisa also offers in-person and in-custody/jail consultations for a reasonable hourly fee.
What to Expect
If you have been charged with a crime or are under investigation of a crime, it is normal to have some uncertainty or anxiety about what to expect. This is especially true if you have been mistakenly charged with a crime. The criminal justice system is complex and procedures vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but generally, every case begins with an investigation by a law enforcement agency. Sometimes investigations can take a while, which delays the reported allegations from getting to a prosecutor’s desk.
When someone is under investigation of a crime, but charges have yet to be filed, it is considered the pre-filing phase of the process. This stage can be critical. Officers may still be trying to gather incriminating evidence. Often clients ask if there is any point to retain an attorney at this stage since no official charges have been charged. This is actually a great time to preserve and protect your rights and prepare you for what may come next. In addition, this is an opportunity for you to be proactive and potentially mitigate the evidence being considered against you. Lisa has had success with the outcomes of investigations and pre-filing cases by intervening and acting fast.
Investigations may be subsequent to a witness or victim reporting an alleged incident. At other times officers are present on the scene of an incident and will issue a criminal citation or make an arrest (i.e. observation of someone driving while under the influence).
After an officer meets the standard of probable cause that a crime was committed, they can issue a criminal citation and a summons to appear in court will soon follow. Alternatively, an officer can make an arrest. An arrest can lead to a person being taken into custody to be administratively booked and released or held in jail. If held in jail, a prosecutor will review the officer’s report and decide whether to file charges or decline to file charges. A prosecutor may initially decline to file charges for a variety of reasons. Common reasons for declines are prosecution awaiting additional supporting documents or insufficient probable cause. This may not be the end of your journey however, as prosecution can choose to file at a later time.
After a Prosecutor Files Charges
After a prosecutor makes the determination to file charges, an arraignment occurs. This is the initial court appearance where you will be formally notified of the charge(s) against you and enter your plea of guilty or not guilty. Cases vary, but typically it is customary to enter a plea of not guilty at the arraignment stage. The judge and prosecutor do not take this personally and will not consider you resistant. It is understood and reasonable for someone to enter a plea of not guilty until they have had a chance to consult with their attorney and review the evidence against them. At arraignment you will also receive your next court date.
The next court date starts the following pretrial phase. This is a time for reviewing the case and the evidence against you and deciding how you want to handle the matter. You may attend a series of pretrial hearings while deciding the best course of action. These pretrial hearings are also a chance for the judge to monitor how the case is proceeding and be sure that procedures are being followed. Negotiations are underway at this point as well. Most cases are resolved prior to trial by the prosecutor and the accused reaching an amenable agreement. In fact, in 2018, less than one percent of misdemeanor cases went to a jury trial, as reported by The National Center for State Courts.
It is possible that your case may present reason for a motions hearing. Motions hearings can be based on a variety of legal issues, such as insufficient evidence of a crime, lack of probable cause for a stop, or a violation of access to counsel. The results of a motions hearing will help determine the trajectory of your case. If the hearing outcome is in your favor, evidence may be suppressed and/or your case may be dismissed.
If a case is not resolved within a reasonable amount of time and negotiations have come to a stall, trial is the next phase of the case. Typically cases are jury trials, however, there are times where a bench trial is the more strategic approach. During trial, the prosecutor has the burden of proving every element of the crime(s) charged beyond a reasonable doubt. If the accused is found not guilty, the criminal prosecution is over. But, if the accused is found guilty, the accused is sentenced by a judge.
Hiring an Attorney
If you are being investigated or facing criminal charges, it is important to seek advice from an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. A knowledgeable attorney will explain the procedures applicable to your case, help you understand the charges you are facing, and address your concerns. An attorney should never make you promises or guarantee easy dismissals. It is unethical for an attorney to promise you a specific outcome and this is usually an indication of someone more interested in taking your money upfront rather than working hard on your behalf throughout.
What is the difference between a misdemeanor and a gross misdemeanor?
Every person convicted of a misdemeanor defined in Title 9A RCW shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for a maximum term fixed by the court of not more than ninety days, or by a fine in an amount fixed by the court of not more than one thousand dollars, or by both such imprisonment and fine.
Every person convicted of a gross misdemeanor defined in Title 9A RCW shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for a maximum term fixed by the court of up to three hundred sixty-four days, or by a fine in an amount fixed by the court of not more than five thousand dollars, or by both such imprisonment and fine.
Keep in mind that some charges are subject to mandatory minimum sentences, such as DUIs.