Getting arrested is no fun, no matter where you are. But there are some places in Washington state where you might have an easier time with a criminal charge than others. Why? It might be because the prosecuting attorney is tougher on crime or because the police department is better equipped to handle criminal cases. City, county, and state agencies handle crime differently. You will not choose where law enforcement files charges against you, but you should have an idea of what’s ahead based on the location where you get arrested.
Filing a Criminal Case
The Washington State court system exists on several levels. Each court has a specific jurisdiction. When the police or prosecuting attorney file criminal charges against a defendant, they will file in the court that has the right jurisdiction for that charge.
Courts of Limited Jurisdiction
There are two separate courts of limited jurisdiction in the Washington State court system.
District Courts: These are county courts serving both incorporated and unincorporated areas within the county. Your case may be filed in King County court even if you are picked up in a rural, unincorporated area within county borders. The court’s jurisdiction covers the following types of crimes:
- Misdemeanors and gross misdemeanor cases,
- Traffic infractions,
- Non-traffic and parking violations, and
- Certain domestic violence protection orders.
Municipal Courts: Also, courts of limited jurisdiction, municipal courts have authority over misdemeanors and gross misdemeanors that occur within a municipality.
The next level of court is the Superior Court, with one in each county. A Superior Court also handles criminal cases occurring within its respective county, including felony cases and juvenile proceedings. Cases that are heard in a court of limited jurisdiction may be appealed to the appropriate Superior Court.
No Matter the City You Get Arrested In…
…you need a criminal defense attorney who knows the court system. There’s no reason for you to go through this alone when you can hire a lawyer to represent your best interests.
Call (425) 747-0582 for a free consultation with lawyer Sarah Cho at Peak Justice. She gladly uses her experience and training to assist clients like you with criminal defense, DUI cases, and protection orders. From her office located in Bellevue, Washington, Ms. Cho represents clients throughout the Seattle area.
Defense You Can Trust When Your Future Is at Stake