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While misdemeanors are considered less serious and thus punished less severely than felonies, a misdemeanor conviction can still have serious implications. For example, a conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) will remain on a person’s criminal record forever. DUI will also become a permanent part of one’s Department of Licensing record and can have serious implications for a person’s auto insurance premiums.

Other misdemeanor convictions can prevent a person from becoming a citizen of the United States, or even worse, could possibly lead to deportation for non-U.S. citizens.

Washington State has two classes of misdemeanors:

  • Simple misdemeanors, which are punishable by up to ninety days in jail and a fine of $1,000
  • Gross misdemeanors, which are punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a fine of $5,000

It is therefore important that a person facing a misdemeanor charge consult with a Tacoma criminal defense attorney as early as possible. Over the past 20 years, the criminal defense lawyers at The Law Offices of Krupa & Clark, have successfully represented clients in thousands of misdemeanor cases in federal, state, and municipal court in Tacoma, Pierce County, Thurston County, King County, and throughout Western Washington.

Below are examples of some of the common misdemeanor charges our misdemeanor defense lawyers in Tacoma have defended. Please feel free to call at (253) 345-4506 or contact us about how we can help you with your misdemeanor charge.


Malicious mischief can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the monetary value of the damage to the property. For a person to be found guilty of malicious mischief, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person knowingly and maliciously (i.e. without justification and with intent) caused physical damage to the property of another.

If the damage caused is less than $750, the prosecution will charge as a gross misdemeanor. If the damage caused is between $750 and $5,000, the prosecution will charge as a Class C felony; finally, if the damage exceeds $5,000, the suspect will be charged with a Class B felony. Malicious mischief is taken especially seriously by the prosecutor when committed against a family or household member.


Obstructing a police officer is a gross misdemeanor, meaning that one faces up to 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine, if convicted. An individual can be found guilty of this crime if they hinder, delay, or obstruct any officer of the while they are acting within their official duties.


Essentially, disorderly conduct occurs when an individual has caused a disturbance in public or has breached the peace in a public place.

Some examples of disorderly conduct include:

  • Disrupting a lawfully assembled meeting
  • Abusive language which creates a risk of violent assault
  • Willfully obstructing traffic without lawful authority
  • Fighting or being unreasonably noisy within 500 feet of a memorial service or funeral

Disorderly conduct is a misdemeanor in Washington, meaning it is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.


For a discussion of traffic misdemeanors and gross misdemeanors, including negligent driving in the first degree, reckless driving, driving under the influence (DUI), and physical control. Please see our traffic crimes page for more information.


Theft in Washington is separated into different categories or degrees. First and second degree theft are generally considered felonies (please see our fraud and theft pages for additional information). Third degree theft is a gross misdemeanor and will be charged if the item or service stolen is worth less than $750.

This charge can sometimes be settled in Washington through a procedure known as “Compromise of Misdemeanors.” After adequately compensating the owner for the item, a person may petition the court to dismiss the charge if the owner acknowledges that he or she has received satisfaction for their loss.

Tacoma Criminal Defense Attorneys


The team at Krupa & Clark are excited to announce some new changes in our practice.  Steven Krupa will be leaving the firm to explore new opportunities effective June 30, 2020.  As of June 1, 2020, the name of the firm will be changed to the Law Offices of Michael Clark.  The firm will continue to focus on helping people who have been injured through the negligence of others, as well as other matters. The team, and especially Michael Clark, want to thank Steven for his years of dedicated service to his clients and the greater bar association, as well as for his friendship. We are proud of our association with Steve and look forward to seeing what the next chapter has in store for him.

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The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.