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103 East Holly Street, Suite 500 Bellingham, WA 98225

Criminal Defense

For the majority of our clients, being accused of a crime is a new and stressful experience for them, as well as their family. The most important first step is to find experienced criminal attorneys. The attorney they hire needs to be someone whom they trust will aggressively defend them against the allegations brought by the government and advise them on the best way to proceed in their case.

The criminal attorneys at Butler Beschen Law PLLC are experienced at fighting charges of all types. We represent people accused of all types of charges, from serious felonies down to simple misdemeanors.

Butler Beschen Law PLLC has created a strong team with all of the most important strengths needed to provide zelouse advocacy. We are prepared to tackle every case with the strongest possible defense no matter how complex the legal issues. Our strategies are designed to fit each individual case to obtain the best possible outcome. The criminal attorneys on our team have been providing criminal defense services in the Bellingham and Whatcom County area for a combined 30 years.

Our clients know that they are in good hands from the moment they step into our office. Everyone on the team is passionate about helping our clients through what is often the most difficult time of their lives. We strive to provide a positive relationship that leaves our clients knowing they are getting the best possible representation by criminal attorneys. Our clients know we are working hard to fight for them and that we have their individual goals in mind. We keep our clients informed of the status of their case and apprised of all updates as the case progresses.

Where we practice: Butler Beschen Law PLLC serves clients in need of criminal attorneys throughout Washington State. We represent clients who are accused of committing crimes in Bellingham, Ferndale, Lynden, Custer, Blaine, Sumas, Granite Falls, Mukilteo, Lynnwood, Edmonds, Stanwood, Arlington, Burlington, Sedro Woolley, Lake Stevens, Mt. Vernon, Whidbey Island, Oak Harbor, Coupeville, Freeland, Camano Island, Snohomish County, Island County, King County, Whatcom County and Skagit County.

As Bellingham criminal attorneys we take cases in: Federal Court Western District (Seattle); Federal Court Eastern District (Spokane); Whatcom County Superior Court; Whatcom County District Court and all Whatcom County Municipal Courts.

Things to Know When Looking for a Criminal Defense Attorney

Fee agreements: Criminal representation can be expensive. Most attorneys set legal fees based on experience handling similar cases in the past and based on the projected number of hours anticipated to handle the case.  It is important to get the fee agreement in writing.  Washington State does not permit criminal defense attorneys to be paid on a contingent basis and most firms will want the fee paid up front.

Criminal procedure: In general, criminal cases follow a standard routine following the arrest. Once the case has been brought, there will be an arraignment.   This is the time for the client to enter a plea of not guilty.  If the client is in custody (jail), a bail hearing will be held to establish the terms and conditions for release pre-trial.  A trial date is then assigned, usually for a date a few months following the arrest, and the discovery process begins.  Discovery is the period of time when the State turns over to the defense (the client’s attorney) all the evidence and information it plans on using in trial against the accused. This is the time the defense attorney will secure witnesses, review the evidence and possibly bring pre-trial motions to suppress some evidence or statements or dismiss the case, etc.  Plea Bargaining can also take place during this discovery phase.  Plea Bargaining is a necessary and very important function that the defense attorney performs for the client. Plea bargaining can change either the charges or the sentencing recommendations–including treatment, jail alternatives or community service in lieu of jail time.  The final stage is either the entry of a plea bargain or going to trial. Often, a continuance (an order which resets the original trial date to a later date) will be sought to allow more time for trial preparation or plea bargaining to resolve the case.


Federal case: A federal case is nothing more than a charge that is brought in federal court. Even traffic tickets can be federal cases if the offense was committed on federal property such as military bases. Most common for Whatcom County would be a drug bust at the border that is charged in Federal Court.

Felony: A felony, in simple terms, is a crime the legislature has determined carries a sentence of more than one year in prison.  Felonies are classed generally in three categories, “A,” “B” & “C,” with “A felonies” being the most serious and carrying the highest level of punishment, including life in prison.  Felonies will only be handled in Superior Court.

Misdemeanors: A misdemeanor, in simple terms, is a crime punishable by one year or less in jail. Misdemeanors can be filed in either a Municipal Court or a District Court.  Common misdemeanors include Domestic Violence and driving offenses, such as DUI. Many misdemeanor offenses carry with them penalties that exceed those of felonies when auto licensing considerations, automatic restraining orders and gun restrictions are taken into account.



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The following information is needed when calling a law office for a criminal attorney:

  • Name and date of birth of the accused
  • Date of arrest
  • Ticket or case number
  • Which court has been assigned (District, Municipal, Superior or Federal Court)
  • Next court date
Butler Beschen Law PLLC
103 East Holly Street, Suite 500
Bellingham, WA 98225 (map it)
(360) 734-3448
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