Kittitas County Criminal Court

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

Kittitas County Arraignments

An arraignment is a court hearing. In Kittitas County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Kittitas County Criminal Court and the judge will read the charges that were filed against the defendant. The judge will also read the rights the defendant has and ask the defendant if they understand both the charges filed against them and their rights as a defendant in the case. In Kittitas County a plea of Guilty, Not Guilty or No Contest may be entered. In a guilty or no contest plea the sentencing of the defendant may take place at the same arraignment hearing or a later date may be scheduled for sentencing. For a not guilty plea, a date will be set for a trial.

If guilty, who sentences the defendant?

If the defendant is found guilty after the trial, the defendent will be sentenced. In some cases, this can occur at the same hearing the defendant is found guilty in court, in other cases a separate hearing will be required. Often the prosecution will request a particular sentence for the defendant and the judge will determine whether to enforce this sentence or impose a different sentence for the defendant.

Kittitas County Criminal Court

Kittitas County Criminal Court

What if I can’t afford an attorney?

The 6th Amendment guarantees you the right to an attorney whether or not you can afford one. If you cannot afford one, a public defender will be appointed by the court to represent you.

Appealing a Criminal Conviciton

A defendant may appeal a criminal conviction to an appellate court. In an appeal, the actual trial is not redone, but the appellate court hears arguments that the criminal case was not handled in a legal manner at the original criminal court. The appellate court can either uphold the conviction, or determine that errors were made and may request a retrial, a resentencing of the defendant or that the charges be dismissed.

Where can I get help for my Kittitas 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 Kittitas 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.

Prosecutor in Kittitas County

In Kittitas County, the prosecutor is an attorney representing Kittitas County. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent Washington. For the most part, the prosecutor in Kittitas County has discretion to both decide whether to file charges and also negotiate a potential plea deal with the defendant.

Jury by Trial Right

The US Constitution (Article 3 along with the 6th Amendment) ensures an accused defendant the right to a jury trial. This applies to crimes that have a $500 fine or a potential sentence of six months in jail (aka Serious Crimes). This right to trial by jury can also be waived by a defendant.

What is Jury Deliberation?

After both the prosecution and defense have presented their cases, the judge in the case will provide instructions to the jury about what they must decide. The jury will be dismissed to the jury room where they will deliberate about the guilt or innocence of the defendant. After reaching a unaminous decision, they return their decision to the court where it is read aloud in the courtroom. If the jury is unable to reach a unaminous decision, the jury is deadlocked, also known as a hung jury, in which a mistrial will be declared.

Kittitas County Criminal Court hearings

Criminal hearings in Kittitas County will take place at the Kittitas County Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the Kittitas County Criminal Court Locations.

Kittitas County Required Court Appearances

In Kittitas 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.

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.

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.

Kittitas County Criminal Court Locations

  • Kittitas County Superior Court

    Address: 205 W 5th Avenue, Suite 210, Ellensburg WA 98926
    Phone: 509-962-7531 Fax: 509-933-7667

  • Kittitas County Superior Court – Juvenile

    Address: 205 W 5th Avenue, Suite 211, Ellensburg WA 98926
    Phone: 509-962-7516 Fax: 509-962-7667

  • Lower Kittitas County District Court

    Address: 205 W 5th Avenue, Suite 180, Ellensburg WA 98926
    Phone: 509-962-7511 Fax: 509-962-7575

  • Upper Kittitas County District Court

    Address: 700 E 1st Street, Cle Elum WA 98922
    Phone: 509-674-5533 Fax: 509-674-4209

  • Cle Elum Municipal Court

    Address: 700 E 1st Street, Cle Elum WA 98922
    Phone: 509-674-5533 Fax: 509-674-4209

  • Roslyn Municipal Court

    Address: 700 E 1st Street, Cle Elum WA 98922
    Phone: 509-674-5533 Fax: 509-674-4209

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