Thurston County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Thurston County. See below for more information about criminal cases in Thurston County.
Thurston County Criminal Court hearings
Criminal hearings in Thurston County will take place at the Thurston County Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the Thurston County Criminal Court Locations.
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.
Mandatory Appearances in Thurston County Criminal Court
At a mandatory or required court appearance in Thurston County, the defendant must appear before the court. In the event of a “Failure to Appear” the judge may issue a warrant for the arrest of the defendant. Note: not all criminal hearings are mandatory, in a non-mandatory hearing an attorney may appear on your behalf without you being in court.
Who can help me in Thurston County?
For general information about your case the Thurston County court clerk will be able to provide legal information about your specific criminal case. Legal information is not legal advice though, the court clerk will only be able to provide information about your case, like date/time of hearings what will occur at the hearing and what you may be required to do in the hearing. They cannot provide advice about what you should do or what the best legal options may be for your particular case. Only an attorney can provide legal advice and this is your best place for information about your specific criminal proceeding. If you cannot afford to hire a private attorney to represent you, a judge will appoint an attorney to represent you, this is most often a public defender.
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 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.
Thurston County Arraignments
An arraignment is a court hearing. In Thurston County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Thurston 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 Thurston 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.
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.
A Plea Agreement, sometimes known as a Plea Bargain is an agreement between the prosecution and the defendant, where the defendant pleads guilty or no contest often in exchange for a lesser charge or lighter recommended sentence. A large majority of criminal cases end in a plea agreement. In Thurston County you can inform your attorney to negotiate with the prosecution to attempt to come to a plea agreement, but this is dependent upon the charge severity and also the prosecutors willingness to accept a plea deal.
Prosecutor in Thurston County
In Thurston County, the prosecutor is an attorney representing Thurston County. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent Washington. For the most part, the prosecutor in Thurston 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.
Thurston County Criminal Court Locations
Thurston County Superior Court
Address: 2000 Lakeridge Drive SW, Building 2, Olympia WA 98502
Thurston County Superior Court – Family & Juvenile
Address: Physical: 2801 32nd Avenue SW, Tumwater WA 98512
Thurston County District Court
Address: 2000 Lakeridge Drive SW, Building 3, Olympia WA 98502
Phone: 360-786-5450 Fax: 360-754-3359
Olympia Municipal Court
Address: 900 Plum St SE, PO Box 1967, Olympia WA 98507
Phone: 360-753-8312 Fax: 360-753-8775
Tenino Municipal Court
Address: 149 Hodgden Street S, PO Box 4019, Tenino WA 98589
Phone: 360-264-4157 Fax: 360-264-5772
Yelm Municipal Court
Address: 206 McKenzie Avenue SE, Yelm WA 98597
Phone: 360-458-3242 Fax: 360-458-3566
Lacey Violations Bureau
Address: 420 College Street SE, Lacey WA 98509
Phone: 360-491-3211 Fax: 360-438-2669
Tumwater Violations Division
Address: 555 Israel Road SW, Tumwater WA 98501
Phone: 360-754-4190 Fax: 360-754-4138