Clark County Criminal Court

Clark County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Clark County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Clark County.

Sentencing in Clark County

In Clark County if the defendant is found guilty (by trial or plea), the defendant will be sentenced. This sometimes occurrs immediately after being found guilty, but can also take place at a later date. In most instances, a judge will impose the sentence that is requested by the prosecution, but they also have the descretion to impose a different sentence.

The Right to Trial by Jury

The Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees the right to a trial by a jury. This is applicable for when the crime can carry a sentence of 6 months in jail OR a $500 fine, these are known as “Serious Crimes”. The defendant can also waive their right to a speedy and public trial.

Clark County Criminal Court

Clark County Criminal Court

Arraignments in Clark County

During an arraignment in Clark County, a defendant appears before the court and the judge reads the charges that have been filed against the accused and also informs the defendant of his/her rights. During the arraignment in Clark County, the defendant can choose to plead one of the following 1) Guilty 2) Not Guilty or 3) No Contest. If the defendant enters a plea of Not Guilty, a date for trial is set. In the event of a Guilty or No Contest Plea in Clark County the defendant may be sentenced at that time or the sentencing may take place at a later date.

Clark County Prosecutor

For criminal cases in Clark County, the prosecutor will be a representative of Clark County. The Clark County prosecutor reviews all evidence and ultimately decides whether to file or dismiss charges in the case. Most of the time, the prosecutor has leeway in plea negotiations and determines how the case will be prosecuted.

Can I appeal a guilty verdict?

If found guilty, a defendant may decide to appeal his case to an appelate court. The appellate court will not retry the case, they will examine the proceedings in the lower court to make sure they were done in a legal manner. The appellate court can either uphold the original conviction, or determine that due to errors made in the original trial, that there must be a retrial, resentencing or a complete dismissal of the charges.

Where can I get help for my Clark County criminal case?

The 6th amendment of the United States Constitution provides a criminal defendant with the right to an attorney. As read in the miranda rights, this means that if a defendant cannot afford to hire a private attorney a legal attorney will be appointed to the defendant to represent him at no cost to the defendant. This is often a public defender. In addition, the court clerk for Clark County will also be able to provide general information about a specific criminal case. The clerk can only provide information and is not an attorney so they cannot provide legal advice, only a licensed attorney can provide legal advice about what the best options for are for your particular case.

Burden of Proof Requirement

In a criminal case in the United States, the burden of proof always requires the prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty. This is a high threshold that must be met by the prosecution when presenting evidence in a case. If the prosecution fails in it’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt the judge must find the defendant not guilty. In a jury trial, the judge will inform the jury what this burden is and their obligation to find the defendant not guilty if they feel the prosecution did prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Clark County Required Court Appearances

In Clark County, there are both required and non-required court appearances for the defendant. At a required or mandatory appearance hearing, the defendant is required to appear in person before the court. Failing to appear at your required hearing may result in a bench warrant being issued for your arrest by the judge.

Right to an attorney

The US Constitution’s Sixth Amendment ensures the right to an attorney regardless of whether or not you can afford one. In Clark County a public defender will be appointed by the judge if you cannot afford private representation.

Where will Clark County criminal case hearings take place?

Criminal cases will take place at the criminal courts of Clark County. See here for the location of the criminal courts in Clark County.

Jury Deliberation

In a jury trial in Clark County, after both the prosecution and defense have rested, the judge will give instructions to the jury and jury deliberations will begin. The jury will convence in a private room to discuss and deliberate the innocence or guilt of the defendant. Once the jury arrives at a unimanous decision, they will inform the judge that they have reached a decision. They will return to the court and the verdict will be read aloud. If the jury cannot reach a unaminous decision, the jury is said to be deadlocked and a mistrial will be declared in the case.

What is a Plea Agreement?

A plea agreement is a deal made between the prosecution and the defendant in a case, where the defendant agrees to plea guilty to a particular charge in exchange for some concession from the prosecutor. In practice, more than 90% of criminal cases end with a plea agreement.

Clark County Criminal Court Locations

  • Clark County Superior Court

    Address: 1200 Franklin Street, PO Box 5000, Vancouver WA 98666
    Phone: 360-397-2201 Fax: 360-397-6109

  • Clark County Superior Court – Family Law Annex

    Address: 601 W Evergreen Blvd, PO Box 5000, Vancouver WA 98666
    Phone: 360-397-2201 Fax: 360-397-6109

  • Clark County Superior Court – Juvenile

    Address: 500 W 11th Street, PO Box 5000, Vancouver WA 98666
    Phone: 360-397-2201 Fax: 360-397-6109

  • Clark County District Court

    Address: 1200 Franklin Street, PO Box 9806, Vancouver WA 98666
    Phone: 360-397-2424 Fax: 360-397-6044

  • Battle Ground Municipal Court

    Address: 109 SW 1st Street, Suite 272, Battle Ground WA 98604
    Phone: 360-342-5150 Fax: 360-342-5159

  • Camas-Washougal Municipal Court

    Address: 89 C Street, Washougal WA 98671
    Phone: 360-397-2125 Fax: 360-833-0818

  • La Center Municipal Court

    Address: 109 SW 1st Street, Suite 272, Battle Ground WA 98604
    Phone: 360-342-5150 Fax: 360-342-5159

  • Ridgefield Municipal Court

    Address: 109 SW 1st Street, Suite 272, Battle Ground WA 98604
    Phone: 360-342-5150 Fax: 360-342-5159

  • Vancouver Parking Violations Bureau

    Address: 415 W 6th Street, PO Box 8995, Vancouver WA 98668
    Phone: 360-487-8454

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