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About Us 2018-05-01T21:14:39+00:00


Smith & White, PLLC is an elite criminal defense law firm, with offices in Tacoma and Vashon. When you’re faced with protecting your rights in court, a compassionate advocate with expert advice will ensure the best possible outcome. We have a broad range of experience with any number of criminal cases, including DUI, domestic violence, and drug-related offenses. We are pleased to offer affordable, supportive counsel to our community.


Being charged with a crime can leave you in shock. But making the decision to call a reputable and reliable law firm can help you move forward to reclaim your life.

As a defendant, you need a chance to tell the most thorough story you can. Smith & White will collect evidence, witnesses and information that will help win or reduce your case. By calling us as early as possible in the process, you can help safeguard that no crucial evidence is lost or forgotten.

Our services are different from those of an overworked public defender, or a firm that doesn’t specialize in the criminal matters you face. We have a full staff that includes a former law enforcement investigator, veteran trial lawyers and certified paralegals. We are solely devoted to guiding you through the often difficult and confusing state and federal court systems. We are completely dedicated to eliminating or reducing your jail time, fine, probation, treatment, or other court obligations.


Smith & White, PLLC operates from a main office in Tacoma, while also maintaining an office in Vashon. Our locations offer strategic advantages to those prosecuted in Pierce and Thurston counties. Due to our reputation, we’ve been requested to represent those facing complex felony matters in those areas. Our partners are a daily presence in the Tacoma/Pierce County and Thurston County Courts.

Both partners have held positions in King County courthouses, and are intimately familiar with King County courts. James held a public defender position in Kent before serving in the Seattle courts, while also holding a position at a private DUI defense firm in downtown Seattle. James also has a breadth of experience with Kitsap County courts, and is excited to see that Kitsap has implemented efficient procedures to ensure it’s one of the most progressive courthouses in the state. He’s well-versed in immigration and asylum issues, and has experience defending and working with those living with mental illness.

Derek crafted many of Kent’s current procedures in his time there as a prosecutor, before spending a decade working in Seattle. Due to his stellar work defending a complex case in Thurston County, he is often contacted to handle Olympia and Thurston cases. He has also handled cases in Mason, Kittitas and Benton Counties and is passionate about taking on cases that he feels strongly about, no matter where they are.

Free Initial Consultation

We know that mistakes are made: People make bad decisions. Police make errors. Prosecutors and judges make assumptions. The criminal justice system doesn’t always treat everyone equally. We want to give you every chance to be treated justly. We offer a free initial consultation, no matter what your offenses or history, and offer affordable services to serve a diverse community


“Very thorough, knowledgeable, and informative. Derek went above and beyond to make sure my case had the best possible outcome. Highly recommended!”

Amanda Crist

“James White is a tenacious advocate and a well-respected defense attorney. If you need an attorney, James and his firm will fight for your rights.”

Mike Girdner

“Excellent team. My experience with them was great. Dealing with the legal system can be both overwhelming and frightening. Mr. Smith and Mr. White are both attentive and responsive and helped put me at ease immediately. Thanks to their expertise my case was resolved fairly quickly and in my favor. I am grateful to have been put in contact with them and have had the opportunity to use them on two separate cases. I highly recommend them both.”

Daniel Corrigan

“The Law offices of Smith and White are top notch when it comes to legal advice and criminal defense. They are knowledgeable, efficient and extremely effective at what they do. If you want to win your case or if you feel trouble brewing, call this office for advice.”

Keith White

“James White was all I ever could have hoped for in representation for my DUI case. Professional. Respectful. Thorough. Savvy. He was able to work with the prosecutors to come to a fair resolution. I hope I never have to use him again–but if I do, I won’t hesitate.”

Mr. Draper

“I have worked as opposing counsel with this firm for the last 4 years.  I have always been impressed with their zealous representation and skill.  Should any of my friends or family ask for a criminal defense recommendation, I will be suggesting this fine firm.”

Tye G


Senior and founding partners Derek M. Smith and James J. White have negotiated and litigated tens of thousands of criminal defense cases, including:

  • State Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
  • Federal Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
  • Domestic Violence (DV) Assault & other Domestic Violence Crimes
  • Non-DV Assaults from offensive contact to shootings, including self defense
  • State Drug (VUCSA) Charges from Possession to Delivery
  • Federal Drug Charges
  • Murder and Manslaughter
  • Vehicular Homicide
  • Robbery and Burglary
  • Domestic Violence Violation of No Contact Orders
  • Unlawful Carrying of Firearms, Unlawful Display of Weapons, or Unlawful Possession of a Firearm
  • Federal Weapons Charges
  • Juvenile Matters
  • Asset Forfeiture (property confiscation) from Drug and other criminal allegations
  • Expunging or vacating records and Restoring civil rights