Case and court date information
The Olympia Municipal Court is a court of limited jurisdiction. The Municipal Court Judge is authorized by Washington State Statute to preside over the following types of cases:
- non-traffic infractions
- traffic infractions
- criminal misdemeanors
- gross misdemeanors
- orders for protection for victims of domestic violence
The Municipal Court schedules arraignments, pre-trial hearings, non-jury and jury trials, sentencings, reviews, etc. The Municipal Court coordinates related services including legal representation for indigent persons, probation, and interpreter services.
If you received a criminal citation from an Olympia police officer or receive a summons & complaint from the Olympia Municipal Court in the mail, you have been charged with a crime and your appearance is mandatory.
You have been charged with either a gross misdemeanor or misdemeanor crime. In general, gross misdemeanors are offenses punishable by up to one (1) year in jail and misdemeanors are those offenses punishable by up to ninety (90) days in jail. A fine may also be imposed. A fine for a gross misdemeanor may not exceed $5,000 and $1,000 for a misdemeanor. Certain crimes require a minimum stay in jail of one or more days. You will be informed of the maximum/minimum consequences for your crime at the time of your arraignment.
Infractions are non-criminal violations of the law and include such violations as speeding, failure to wear seatbelt, no proof of liability insurance, etc. They can also include non-traffic cases such as animal violations and code enforcement violations. When you receive an infraction from an Olympia police officer or an infraction by mail from the Olympia Municipal Court, you have been charged with a civil infraction.
Please read the back of the citation for instructions. You must respond within 15 days of the date of the citation by either requesting a hearing or by paying the fine in full. After 15 days, a $52 penalty for failure to respond will be added. Unpaid balances will be sent to a collection agency and may result in the suspension of your driver's license. An infraction is not a crime; a warrant could not be issued.
Types of Infraction Hearings
A Mitigation Hearing is where you admit you committed the violation, but wish to explain the circumstances of the infraction. The Judge will not dismiss the ticket but may, depending on the explanation given and your driving record, adjust the penalty you pay. The offense will appear on your driving record.
Please note that if you were cited for Speeding in a School Zone, Passing a School Bus or Speeding in a Construction Zone, by law you are not eligible for a mitigation hearing. You must either pay the full amount of the fine or request a contested hearing.
A Contested Hearing is where you believe you did not commit the violation or that you have a valid defense to the violation. Unless you request that the officer be subpoenaed, the Judge will read the sworn statement of the officer. You may testify, present evidence, and call witnesses on your own behalf. If you desire the officer to be present, please advise the court in writing at least ten (10) days before your hearing date.
As a result of a contested hearing, the penalty may stay the same or the ticket dismissed. If you are found to have committed the offense, the offense will appear on your driving record. You may, at your own expense, have an attorney appear to represent you at your hearing. A public defender is not provided for traffic and parking infraction cases.
Traffic Deferral Option
A deferred finding per RCW 46.63.070(5)(a) allows for the dismissal of the infraction. Not all cases are eligible for a deferred finding and dismissal. If eligible, the infraction will be dismissed at the end of the time period imposed by the judge if you do not commit another infraction or criminal offense and you pay the costs imposed to monitor your case.
A person is only allowed one deferral in a seven-year period for moving violations and only one in a seven-year period for non-moving violations. A finding of committed will be entered with the Department of Licensing if you receive a new violation during the deferral period or you fail to pay the costs imposed by the court.
You must appear at Court Services within the 15-day deadline to determine whether you are eligible for a deferred finding.
Failure to respond/appear/pay
If you fail to respond within 15 days, fail to appear at your scheduled hearing, or fail to pay the penalty, a late fee is added to the original penalty, and you are declared to have committed the offense. These offenses will appear on your driving record, and your driver's license may be suspended. All delinquent cases will be referred to a collection agency.