Franklin County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Franklin County. See below for more information about criminal cases in Franklin County.
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.
Franklin County Criminal Court hearings
Criminal hearings in Franklin County will take place at the Franklin County Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the Franklin County Criminal Court Locations.
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.
Prosecutor in Franklin County
In Franklin County, the prosecutor is an attorney representing Franklin County. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent Washington. For the most part, the prosecutor in Franklin County has discretion to both decide whether to file charges and also negotiate a potential plea deal with the defendant.
Sentencing in Franklin County
In Franklin 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.
I need help for my Franklin County criminal case
The best place to get information about your criminal case is from an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint one to represent you which will assist in your case. For general information about your case the Franklin County court clerk is able to provide general information about your specific case (e.g. date/time hearings, mandatory appearance, what will take place and what you will be required to do). The court clerk for Franklin County will NOT be able to provide legal advice for your case, only an attorney can provide legal advice. The court clerk can provide legal information (like the information found on this website) about your case but cannot provide advice about what you should do in your legal manner.
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.
What is the Burden of Proof?
The term “Burden of Proof” means that the prosecutor is required to prove the guilt of the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecutor cannot provide proof of the defendants guilt, then the judge or jury in a trial must find the defendant not guilty. In the United States the principle innocent until proven guilty derives from this that the defendant is assumed innocent and the prosecution has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty.
Franklin County Arraignments
An arraignment is a court hearing. In Franklin County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Franklin 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 Franklin 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.
Required Court Appearances in Franklin County
Any required court appearances in Franklin County Criminal Court must be attended by the defendant. Failure to appear in court at your required date and time may result in the judge issuing an arrest warrant.
Can I request a Plea Agreement?
In Franklin County you may be able to enter into a plea agreement depending upon the severity of the charges. It is also dependant upon the prosecution willing to accept a plea agreement. You can ask your attorney to attempt to negotiate a plea agreement with the prosecution to avoid having a jury trial along with the potential for a more serious sentence. Approximately 9 out of 10 criminal cases usually end in a plea agreement.
Appealing a guilty verdict
A defendant may appeal a guilty verdict to an appellate court. This is not a request to have another trial, but a request for an appellate court to review the case and determine that it was handled in a correct legal manner. There are a number of outcomes in an appeal including an upholding of the conviction, a finding that errors were made resulting in a retrial or resentencing or possibly a complete disimissal of all charges.
Franklin County Criminal Court Locations
Benton & Franklin Counties Superior Court – Juvenile
Address: 5606 W Canal Drive, Suite 106, Kennewick WA 99336
Phone: 509-783-2151 Fax: 509-736-2728
Franklin County Superior Court
Address: 1016 N 4th Avenue, Room 306, Pasco WA 99301
Franklin County District Court
Address: 1016 N 4th Avenue, Pasco WA 99301
Phone: 509-545-3593 Fax: 509-545-3588
Pasco Municipal Court
Address: 1016 N 4th Avenue, Pasco WA 99301
Phone: 509-545-3491 Fax: 509-543-3494