What kinds of cases does the Spokane City Prosecuting Attorney prosecute?

The Office of the Spokane City Prosecuting Attorney prosecutes violations of the Spokane Municipal Code including misdemeanors, gross misdemeanors and civil infractions arising from traffic and non-traffic matters.

Felonies and most offenses committed by juveniles within the City of Spokane are prosecuted by the Spokane County Prosecuting Attorney.

Can a citizen receive legal advice from the Office of the Spokane City Prosecuting Attorney?

No.

Can I drop the charges?

No. The City of Spokane has charged the defendant with a crime, not you. Although the decision to prosecute a case is made by this office, we do consider the wishes of victims when making that decision.

Will I have to testify?

If you are a victim or a witness of a crime, you may have to testify at trial. However, most cases are settled without trial.

How does the criminal justice process work?

When a crime is reported, the police are responsible for conducting an investigation. After completing the investigation, the police may charge an offender by issuing a criminal citation or they can submit a charging request to the prosecuting attorney.

If a charging request is submitted, the prosecuting attorney reviews the report and decides whether to charge an individual with a crime. A criminal case begins when a charging document is filed with the court. The document sets forth certain information about both the defendant and crime(s) that have been charged. In most cases this is the ticket issued by the officer.

If you are being held in jail, you will have a first appearance hearing. The purpose of this hearing is to advise you of the charge(s) against you and to consider issues related to pretrial release, including bond and No Contact Orders in domestic violence cases.

One of the first hearings in a criminal case is the arraignment. At the arraignment, the defendant is formally informed of the charge(s) against him or her and is asked to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty.

The next hearing is the pre-trial conference. The purpose of this hearing is to make sure that everything is in order prior to going to trial. The parties may file motions and address any other issues. Additionally, this is the opportunity to make sure that discovery has been exchanged by both parties. The parties will determine if there will be a negotiated settlement or if the case will be set for trial. Most cases are settled at the pre-trial conference.

If the case is not settled it will be set for trial. The length of a criminal trial can vary depending upon the nature of the charges, the number of witnesses, and numerous other factors. Most trials in Municipal Court last less than three days. For misdemeanors and gross misdemeanors, the jury is made up of six persons. In a criminal case, the jury must be unanimous in reaching a verdict.

I've been charged with a crime. Now what?

A person charged with a criminal offense has a right to an attorney. If you cannot afford to hire an attorney, you can ask that a public defender be appointed to represent you. If you would like to have a public defender represent you, contact the Spokane City Probation Department to be screened for financial eligibility. You may also represent yourself.

If you have an attorney, the prosecutor is required to talk to your attorney and is prohibited from discussing the case with you without your attorney present.

You have the right to remain silent regarding the facts of your case. If you waive that right and talk about your case, the prosecutor may take note of what you say and use it against you later.


Contact Information

Office of the City Prosecuting Attorney
909 West Mallon Avenue
Spokane, Washington 99201

Phone: 509.835.5988
Fax: 509.835.5927
cityprosecutor@spokanecity.org

Prosecutor's Office hours:
Monday through Friday
8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Relicensing Program's Office Hours:
Monday: 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.
Tuesday: 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Wednesday: 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.
Thursday: 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Friday: 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.