The Law Office of Chris Van Vechten

The South Sound’s Most Dedicated Criminal Defense Attorney

Avvo Client’s Choice Award

Criminal Defense

Avvo Reviews

Criminal Defense Law

Christopher Courtlandt Van VechtenReviewsout of 10 reviews

Who We Represent

The Law Office of Chris Van Vechten is a criminal defense law firm that has served as counsel to criminal defense clients who represent every cross-section of our community – professional athletes, politicians and elected officials, the unhoused and the addicted, business owners and working class heroes, soldiers who serve our country, immigrants – documented or otherwise – who seek to join it.

We have represented high school drop-outs, college students, university professors and fellow attorneys, people as young as 10 and as old as 81, residents of countless communities, the famous, the infamous and a lot of people who wish to remain unknown.

Many lawyers employ an “assembly line strategy” for representing the accused, particularly those charged with petty crimes like Assault 4, DUI, or even high volume felonies like unlawful possession of a controlled substance. By contrast, our Tacoma criminal defense law firm strives to provide a criminal defense which is both powerful AND personalized to meet the individual goals/needs of every client, on every case.

This, along with a willingness to go to trial and the ability to win, has kept The Law Office Of Chris Van Vechten in demand across the South Sound for criminal defense law, juvenile defense law, and civil representation for years.

Photo of Chris Van Vechten, Criminal Defense Attorney - Tacoma, WA

The Law Office of Chris Van Vechten – Criminal Defense Attorney – Tacoma, WA

Why I Work as a Criminal Defense Lawyer

“Van Vechten” means “ready to fight”

Van Vechten is a Dutch name which literally means “ready to fight,” “to struggle,” “to crusade” or “to zealously advocate.”

As a criminal defense attorney, I strive to live up to my name…

As a criminal defense lawyer, I strive every day to live up to the name “Van Vechten” by zealously advocating on behalf of our clients. I believe deeply in the right of every person to have a robust and professional criminal defense when they are accused of breaking the law. You probably found this website because you need a defense lawyer to defend a personal freedom, liberty, right or privilege that is under threat. Hopefully you are already committed to asserting your right to retain a private criminal defense attorney, but you may not yet be sure whether you’re ready, willing, and able to “Van Vechten” the matter.

Take some free legal advice:

Contact us for a free case evaluation before you make any decisions.

Law Office of Chris Van Vechten
Based on 15 reviews
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Andrew lekowski
Andrew lekowski
19:59 28 May 21
Great service, 10/10, prepared for our alleged traffic violation as if he was prepared for war. Got the alleged... violation dismissed with zero dollars in fines. Well worth his reasonable and competitive rates.Recommend Chris’s legal services for all situations in King and Pierce County where you need a professional familiar with the law. Great person as well!read more
Neely Sipes
Neely Sipes
21:33 19 Apr 21
He knows the law,he defends you as though you are his only client.answers your call day or night and helps you... understand your rights,without making you feel like you are a waste of his more
owner Pine Tree Park Apartments
owner Pine Tree Park Apartments
03:07 26 Oct 20
Chris really knows the law and has a high rate of winning. Chris is the lawyer to hire! His logic is impeccable He was... incredible at helping me on my case and we won!read more
Rhishikesh Bargaje
Rhishikesh Bargaje
03:48 22 Oct 20
My wife was civilly sued for defamation in Canada. Chris was able to accept service and assist in finding a Canadian... attorney to defend her. We were also pleased with the quality of the nasty letter he sent to the plaintiff's more
Michael Hanssen
Michael Hanssen
21:00 15 Oct 20
He is great! He is great at coming up with a game plan and explains everything very well. He is good about getting back... to you in a timely manor and very professional!read more
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The Law Office of Chris Van Vechten

The Criminal Defense Blog

photo - gunsligner with a revolver

Is Washington’s Unlawful Possession of a Firearm Statute Constitutional?

Washington's unlawful possession of a firearm statutes are unconstitutional as they constitute a due process violation.  Defense attorneys representing those accused of unlawful possession of a firearm should move to dismiss the charges and - if nothing else - preserve the issue for appeal.
Overturn, expunge, vacate your drug conviction

Overturn Your Conviction!

New laws make it easier to overturn your conviction! I was recently retained by an individual to vacate 11 separate convictions from his record that are dispersed across 8 jurisdictions and concern conduct spanning from 1995 to 2018 – all of which, as soon as the courts get through the backlogs created by the chaos of 2020 and these decisions, will be vacated!
Illustration of a police badge

When Is It Legal To Use Force Against A Police Officer?

Historically, a suspect had the right to resist an unlawful arrest by a police officer so long as the force applied was proportional to the threat presented.
Crying Child

How To Beat Speeding Tickets or Moving Violations

Defending against speeding tickets and moving violations can be very dry and technical. A prosecutor or intern may appear in court to prosecute the infraction. Your chances of success dramatically increase if you are represented by a lawyer.
Photo of a small statue of the scales of justice

Should I Just Get A Public Defender?

If you were recently arrested or even arraigned, the decision of whether to keep your public defender or retain private counsel is the most important choice you will make going forward – regardless of whether your ultimate goal is to prove your innocence at trial, or negotiate a plea deal in advance.
The Jury - oil painting by John Morgan

Trial by Jury Must Survive the Pandemic

On March 20, 2020, the Supreme Court of the State of Washington suspended the right to trial by jury until after April 24, 2020. Their reasons for doing so...
A basket of hand soaps with the Law Office of Chris Van Vechten logo thereon

Law Office of Chris Van Vechten Criminal Defense Hand Soaps: Designed for a clean getaway!

The CDC recommends thorough and regular hand washing as the primary step individuals can take to protect themselves and their families from the spread of airborne diseases like COVID-19.
The label from a NIK narcotics identification system test used by law enforcement

This drug test can’t tell the difference between menstrual cramp medication and crack cocaine. Police use it to determine probable cause anyway.

Police use inaccurate and confusing narcotics identification tests to determine probable cause. We win criminal defense cases for our clients when they do.
An old woman with clasped hands

The Family and Offender Sentencing Alternative: Our Most Under-Utilized Tool in the War on Crime

The Parenting Sentencing Alternative allows some nonviolent offenders the opportunity to avoid prison, or get out of prison, in order to parent their children.
A person in handcuffs - Now It's Easier to Vacate a Conviction (including immigration convictions)

Now It’s Easier to Vacate a Conviction (including immigration convictions)

The law has changed following passage of House Bill 1041, sponsored by Representative Drew Hansen, so that more people can apply to have their criminal records vacated and expunged than ever before.
It's a scam - In 2016, the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office launched a new division called the High Priority Offender Unit (HPO).

Pierce County’s High Priority Offender Scam

In 2016, the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office launched a new division called the High Priority Offender Unit (HPO for short).  The idea was that prosecutors would use data from a defendant’s prior criminal history to assess whether this defendant is – compared to other criminal defendants –  disproportionately committing crimes.  By 2017 the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office claimed to have sent more than 650 HPOs to prison, which – they claim –dramatically reduced crime in the community. All of these claims range from suspicious to flat out untrue.
Boxing gloves hanging on the wall

Four Rules to Remember When Fighting the DOL (Department of Licensing)

Four Rules to Remember When Fighting the Washington State Department of Licensing
Estate Planning Devices

Halloween Special on Wills, POAs and other Estate Planning Devices

One of the great failures of the criminal justice system was the Sentence Reform Act, a piece of legislation designed to promote consistency and fairness in the criminal justice system by restraining the power of judges without taking any steps to restrain prosecutors and police.
Indecent exposure - The Naked Truth That You Must Know

Indecent Exposure Laws: The Naked Truth

If you have been charged, expect to be charged, or are currently being investigated for anything resembling indecent exposure, it is important you retain a committed and aggressive attorney who understands the sensitivities of these sorts of crimes as soon as possible.  Failing to do so risks undermining your case and being charged with even more serious offenses.
Bail Jumping is failing to show up to court when ordered to do so. You don't need to be out on bail to be guilty

Defining Bail Jumping

There are many things involved in the criminal justice system that seem to be purposely designed to prevent the defendant from asserting their right to trial. Bail jumping is one of them, because it gives the State the opportunity to charge the Defendant with an additional crime simply by virtue of missing a court date.
Handwritten text: not guilty and a loudspeaker

150 “Not Guilty” Verdicts / Criminal Case Dismissed… and Counting

The Law Office of Chris Van Vechten is celebrating our 150th criminal case dimissed! We're proud of our record and we want to help you with your criminal case.
All White Jury

The Beginning of the End of the All White Jury?

The truth is, despite the wonderful step taken recently by our Supreme Court, the systemic removal of people of color from juries over many generations will likely continue to frustrate efforts to diversify the racial makeup of our juries. But what we might be witnessing today is the beginning of the end.
Incentivized Informants

The Need to Pass a Law to Require Prosecutors to Disclose Information from Incentivized Informants

Read about the needful things to pass a law that needs prosecutors to conceal the informants. Know this law can protect the innocent and ensure fairness.
convicted on a technicality
Police Officer Giving a Breathalyzer Breath Test

The New Rationale for Why the Police Don’t Need a Search Warrant for a Breathalyzer Breath Test

This Washington Supreme Court ruling says Police don’t need a search warrant to make you blow - drivers have no constitutional right to refuse a breath test.

The Need to Decriminalize Some Forms of Theft

The Law Office of Chris Van Vechten would like to propose passing a law creating a new category of theft that constitutes an infraction and mandating that State and Municipal Prosecutors may charge select acts of theft as infractions instead of crimes.
A New Office for a New Year

A New Office for a New Year

2016 was a big year for the Law Office of Chris Van Vechten, marked by some dramatic successes both inside and out of the courtroom. The highlight of course was proving the innocence of a 15 year-old-client who was framed for bringing a loaded and cocked semi-automatic pistol to his high school, in a relatively high profile case that garnered significant regional attention.
Theft in the Third Degree

Theft in the Third Degree

Society is ready to forgive those who have struggled with addiction or anger problems, but theft is a biblical crime that is universally despised and carries with it life-long consequences in addition to serious stigmas.
Male lawyer working in the courtroom sitting at the table

Prosecutor vs Attorney: How Prosecutors Pressure Your Attorney Not To Investigate Your Case

Prosecutor vs Attorney: Prosecutors pressure attorneys not to investigate claims against their clients by offering plea deals. This is prosecutorial misconduct.

Charged as a Juvenile

The Juvenile Justice System is a strange subspecies of the criminal justice system that – for a variety of reasons – only a fraction of defense attorneys venture to try their hand at. Being charged as a juvenile means that the short term consequences of a conviction (called an “adjudication” within juvenile court lingo) are significantly diminished in terms of incarceration.
A gun, and a cap on it.

Our son was framed, and Chris Van Vechten proved it

The Law Office of Chris Van Vechten proved that a 15-year-old defendant accused of bringing a gun to Shelton High School was framed by a classmate.
Criminal Defense - Case Dismissed

Juvenile Gun Case: Van Vechten Forces Prosecutor to Drop Charges

The Law Office of Chris Van Vechten proved that a 15 year old defendant accused of bringing a gun to school was framed by a classmate, compelling the Mason County Deputy prosecutor to drop the charges.
Judge and lawyer discussing the state sentencing guidelines

Adult Sentencing Guidelines for Washington State

Chris Van Vechten breaks down the Washington state adult sentencing guidelines and the Sentencing Reform Act.
drug crimes

Drug Crimes

Despite some highly publicized moves at both the State and Federal Level, the War on Drugs is still very much alive in Pierce, Thurston, Kitsap and King County, particularly for those alleged to be involved in the use and distribution of heroine and methamphetamine.
Smoke Marijuana

Smoke Pot? Own a Car? You should know about this.

In 2015, the Washington State Legislature expanded its open container law to encompass marijuana. House Bill 1276, which predominately concerned one of the Legislature’s favorite criminal subjects – DUI – nevertheless made it a traffic infraction for the registered owner of a motor vehicle, or the driver if the registered owner is not then present, or any passengers in the vehicle…
No Contact Order

No Contact Orders

No contact order restrict physical/verbal contact with other. It can be issued as a condition of bail, bond, or recognition as release or sentence or probation.
moved to new location

We’ve Moved

The Law Office of Chris Van Vechten has moved to new location in Tacoma. Our new address is 306 S 7th St, Suite 208, Tacoma, WA, 98402.

How Easily You Can Be Charged with Burglarizing Your Own House

It surprised you to know that in most states, in some situations, people can be charged with burglarizing. Here is the real burglary violence event...
Happy New Year

Happy New Year

The Law Office of Chris Van Vechten wishes our clients a very Happy New Year. In 2014, it has been a tremendous honor to represent 95% of those who visit us.
V for Van Vechten

V for Van Vechten

Chris Van Vechten is a well-known criminal defense attorney, working in The Law Office of Chris Van Vechten Tacoma.

I Haven’t Even Been Convicted Yet, Why Has My License to Drive Been Suspended?

The collateral consequences of a DUI conviction are numerous and harsh. But often my client’s primary concern is preventing their driving license from being suspended or restoring it upon resolving their matter. Because many DUI defendants struggle to understand...
The Effect of I-594

The Effect of I-594

Washington state's Initiative 594 (I-594) is the most comprehensive attempt to restrict the rights of law-abiding gun owners in the state. Read the blog to learn the facts about the new law (i-594), what it replaces and what doesn't.
Defending DUIs

Defending DUIs

If you have been arrested for a DUI and When it comes to defending DUIs case, you should talk to a DUI attorney about the defense available.
100 Days in Office

100 Days in Office

We are pleased to inform you that The Law Office of Chris Van Vechten has just marked 100 days in this office with a professional service agreement.
Private Counsel or Public Defender

Private Counsel or Public Defender

If you were recently arrested or even arraigned, the decision of whether to keep your public defender or retain private counsel is the most important choice you will make going forward – regardless of whether your ultimate goal is to prove your innocence at trial, or negotiate a plea deal in advance.

Easier than Ever to File for 501(c)(3) Status

The Law Office of Chris Van Vechten was recently retained to assist a Kitsap County youth sports client in applying for 501(c)(3) status. The new 1023-EZ Form makes it easier to apply for tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(3). It can be filed electronically through
Get Help to You Voting Rights Restoration

Get Help Restoring Your Right to Vote for Free

For the month of July, the Law Office of Chris Van Vechten is offering FREE assistance to convicted felons in Washington State who are interested in restoring their right to vote. While restoration of voting rights does not normally require an attorney, Chris is willing to lend assistance to those who have worked to regain their voice, along with their freedom, and want some non-partisan assistance.
Bottled Beer

Why Bottled Beer is Better

Summer is a great time to be outside and to socialize….and law enforcement knows it. Summer bears witness to a noticeable uptick in all crimes and misdemeanors – especially alcohol related. DUI and MIP are the obvious ones – but some alcohol crimes are more esoteric.
speeding ticket

How To Really Get Out Of A Speeding Ticket

Have you chosen to fight the speeding ticket? Your chances of success increases in speeding infractions if you are represented by an attorney. Chris Van Vechten has fought to enforce over a thousand speeding tickets and other traffic infractions. He worked as a Rule 9 Prosecutor in Thurston County District Court and later in Lakewood/UP Municipal. Let him fight for you!