Misdemeanors & Gross Misdemeanor

Defining Misdemeanors & Gross Misdemeanor Cases

These case filings include charges such as:
  • Assault 4
  • Cruelty to Animals
  • Driving While License Suspended
  • DUI
  • Negligent Driving
  • No Valid Operator's License
  • Prostitution
  • Reckless Driving
  • Theft 3rd
  • Unlawful Dumping
  • Zoning Violations
Mandatory appearance by the defendant is required. The maximum penalty can reach one year in jail and up to a $5,000 fine.

Step One - Arraignment

Individuals who receive a criminal citation begin by appearing for an arraignment. At arraignment the defendant is informed of the charge, and a plea of guilty or not guilty is accepted. The court may impose certain pretrial conditions. Certain criminal traffic charges may qualify for a bail forfeiture. Agreeing to a bail forfeiture means that the charge will appear on the defendant's driving record and a fine will be assessed but the defendant will not have to appear for another court date. If the defendant pleads guilty, the finding of guilt is entered and the case proceeds to sentencing.

Step Two - Pretrial Conference

If the defendant pleads not guilty, the case is set for a pretrial conference. This allows the defendant time to plan a defense or retain an attorney. Referrals to the public defender are given to defendants that may qualify for a court appointed attorney. If the case is settled at pretrial conference the finding is entered and the defendant is sentenced.

Step Three - Jury or Court Trial

If the case is not settled at pretrial conference it proceeds to trial. The defendant has the right to request a jury trial or a court trial. A court trial proceeds without a panel of jurors and the case is decided by a judicial officer. A jury trial requires the selection of a jury panel, and the decision of guilt or innocence is made by the jury.

Rules & Regulations

Warrants for arrest are issued by the District Court for failure of the defendant to appear for a hearing, or failure to abide by conditions of the court order. The defendant or defense counsel must appear to make arrangements for resolution of the warrant at the the District Court's Operations Division (CCB):
Room 239
930 Tacoma Ave. S.
Tacoma, WA 98402

Cash bail or bail bond posted for a defendant may be held until the case is completed. A judicial officer must exonerate cash bail or a bail bond before the money can be refunded to the poster or the collateral released by the bonding company. This decision is made on a case by case basis. If ordered by the judicial officer, the Court issues a refund check to the person who posted the cash bail. Refund checks take approximately 7 to 10 working days to process.