Skagit County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Skagit County. See below for more information about criminal cases in Skagit County.
Skagit County Required Court Appearances
In Skagit 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.
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.
Burden of Proof
The burden of proof is always on the prosecution in a criminal trial. In other words, the prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime. The defense must only prove that there is a reasonable possibility that the defendant did NOT commit the crime. If the prosecution cannot prove that the defendant committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, the jury will be instructed to find the defendant not-guilty.
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.
Can I request a Plea Agreement?
In Skagit 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.
Sentencing in Skagit County
In Skagit 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.
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 Skagit County a public defender will be appointed by the judge if you cannot afford private representation.
Who is the prosecutor for Skagit County?
Depending upon the case, the prosecutor for Skagit County criminal cases will either be a representative of Skagit 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.
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.
Arraignments in Skagit County
During an arraignment in Skagit 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 Skagit 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 Skagit County the defendant may be sentenced at that time or the sentencing may take place at a later date.
Where can I get help for my Skagit 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 Skagit 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.
Skagit County Criminal Court hearings
Criminal hearings in Skagit County will take place at the Skagit County Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the Skagit County Criminal Court Locations.
Skagit County Criminal Court Locations
Skagit County Superior Court
Address: 205 W Kincaid Street, Room 103, Mount Vernon WA 98273
Skagit County Superior Court – Juvenile
Address: 611 S 2nd Street, Mount Vernon WA 98273
Phone: 360-336-9360 Fax: 360-336-9409
Skagit County District Court
Address: 600 S 3rd Street, PO Box 340, Mount Vernon WA 98273
Phone: 360-336-9319 Fax: 360-336-9318
Anacortes Municipal Court
Address: 1218 24th Street, Anacortes WA 98221
Phone: 360-293-1913 Fax: 360-293-4224
Burlington Municipal Court
Address: 311 Cedar Street, Suite A, Burlington WA 98233
Phone: 360-755-0492 Fax: 360-755-2391
Mount Vernon Municipal Court
Address: 1805 Continental Place, Mount Vernon WA 98273
Phone: 360-336-6205 Fax: 360-336-6254
Sedro-Woolley Municipal Court
Address: 325 Metcalf Street, Sedro-Woolley WA 98284
Phone: 360-855-0366 Fax: 360-855-1526