Kitsap County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Kitsap County. See below for more information about criminal cases in Kitsap County.
Right to Jury Trial
For “Serious Crimes”, those that can have a potential penalty of 6 months in jail OR a minimum $500 penalty, the US Constitution guarantees a right to trial by jury. This is guaranteed by Article III of the Constitution and the 6th Amendment. The accused has the ability to waive their right to trial by jury.
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.
Kitsap County Required Court Appearances
In Kitsap 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.
At a sentence hearing the judge will inform the defendant of the sentence that will be imposed. This sometimes occurs at the same hearing in which the defendant is found guilty (either by trial or plea agreement). In can also occur at a later date, most often this is due to the complexity of the case where more time is needed to determine the appropriate sentence.
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.
Where will Kitsap County criminal case hearings take place?
Criminal cases will take place at the criminal courts of Kitsap County. See here for the location of the criminal courts in Kitsap County.
Arraignments in Kitsap County
During an arraignment in Kitsap 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 Kitsap 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 Kitsap County the defendant may be sentenced at that time or the sentencing may take place at a later date.
Who is the prosecutor for Kitsap County?
Depending upon the case, the prosecutor for Kitsap County criminal cases will either be a representative of Kitsap County or a representative from Washington. After reviewing evidence it is the prosecutor’s decision whether to file charges or drop a case. Most prosecutors have the ability to negotiate plea bargains, and determine how the case will be prosecuted.
In a jury trial in Kitsap 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.
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.
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.
Where can I get help for my Kitsap 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 Kitsap 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.
Kitsap County Criminal Court Locations
Kitsap County Superior Court
Address: 614 Division Street, MS-34, Port Orchard WA 98366
Phone: 360-337-7164 Fax: 360-337-4927
Kitsap County Superior Court – Juvenile
Address: 1338 Old Clifton Road, Port Orchard WA 98366
Phone: 360-337-5401 Fax: 360-337-5404
Kitsap County District Court
Address: 614 Division Street, MS-25, Port Orchard WA 98366
Phone: 360-337-7109 Fax: 360-337-4865
Bainbridge Island Municipal Court
Address: 10255 NE Valley Road, PO Box 151, Bainbridge Island WA 98061
Phone: 206-842-5641 Fax: 206-842-0316
Bremerton Municipal Court
Address: 550 Park Avenue, Bremerton WA 98337
Phone: 360-473-5260 Fax: 360-473-5262
Port Orchard Municipal Court
Address: 216 Prospect Street, Port Orchard WA 98366
Phone: 360-876-1701 Fax: 360-895-3071
Poulsbo Municipal Court
Address: 200 NE Moe Street, Poulsbo WA 98370
Phone: 360-779-9846 Fax: 360-779-1584