Criminal Procedures and Forms
Being accused of a criminal or serious traffic offense can be a traumatic and upsetting experience. We hope this information will be of help in guiding you through the process and take some of the mystery out of the procedures. We have tried to anticipate and answer your more frequently asked questions.
Your arraignment will be scheduled within 15 days. You will receive a summons in the mail advising you of the date and time of your arraignment.
Prior to your scheduled arraignment, you must report to the Lynnwood Police Department jail to be fingerprinted and photographed. Be prepared to wait; fingerpriting & potos are done based on the jails availability between 11:00 am & 3:00 pm, Tuesday, Thursdays, and Saturdays. BRING YOUR CITATION WITH YOU.
- What is an arraignment?
The arraignment is generally your first appearance in court on the citation or charge. The Judge will inform you of the charge and explain it. The maximum punishment and mandatory minimum punishment, if any, will be stated. You will be asked to enter a plea of not guilty or guilty. No testimony is taken or evidence presented at the arraignment.
- What are my constitutional rights?
- Should I talk to a lawyer before entering a plea?
- If I am financially unable to hire a lawyer, how do I qualify for a public defender?
The application for a public defender is available at the clerk's office and on line. (Application for Public Defender) After completing the affidavit, hand the form to the front desk clerk. The Clerk will review your affidavit form and determine, according to the appropriate financial guideline, your eligibility for a public defender. You will be given information on how to contact and make an appointment to meet with your public defender. You must be available for all meetings as requested by the lawyer.
- If I plead guilty, what will happen?
If you plead guilty it means you admit the charge and the elements to prove the charge. By pleading guilty you waive your constitutional rights and in most cases you will be sentenced right then. However, you may speak on your behalf at sentencing. The Judge will then usually review the police report, if available, and sentence you. Some cases may be continued by agreement to comply with certain conditions such as getting a drivers license reinstated and a sentencing date will be given. If such is the case, it is mandatory you appear at the sentencing date regardless of your ability to comply with the agreed conditions.
- What happens if I plead not guilty?
A not guilty plea denies the charge and none of your constitutional rights are waived unless you expressly wish to do so. You are presumed innocent and the prosecution must prove you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt at a subsequent trial. The next hearing will be a pre-trial conference. You and your lawyer, if you have one, are required to be present. At this conference all motions are heard and a trial date is confirmed. Information about all the evidence in the case and witness names are exchanged. Notice of all court dates whether they be pre-trial hearings or trials will be given in writing in court. Nothing will be mailed to you.
- What happens if I fail to appear at my hearing?
If you fail to appear for your court hearing your bail or bond will be forfeited and a bench warrant will be issued for your immediate arrest. If the bench warrant is issued for $5100. or less, you may appear at the court with your identification, $100 cash, and the bench warrant will be recalled and you will sign for a new court date.
If the bench warrant is issued for $5200 or higher, you must either 1) post bail in the amount of the warrant plus warrant fee or 2) surrender yourself to the custody of the Lynnwood Police Department to be seen my the judge the next morning in custody.
- What should I wear and how should I act in court?
Suitable attire is required. Shoes and shirts are necessary. Halter tops, tank tops, and shorts are not permitted. Hats are to be removed upon entering the Courtroom. No smoking, food or drink will be allowed. Court proceedings are important and all litigants appreciate the judge giving full attention to their case without interruptions from other people in the courtroom, therefore small children may not be present in the courtroom. The court does not provide child care. Upon you arrival, find your name on the calendar outside the Courtroom and then have a seat in the courtroom. The prosecutor and public defender are available for consultation prior to the commencement of the hearing. You do not need to check with the clerk unless your name is NOT on the list. When your name is called, come forward and stand behind the counsel table. Be polite, courteous and remain standing until instructed otherwise by the Judge.