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Grays Harbor County District Court
 

Grays Harbor County District Court

Montesano Office:
County Courthouse
102 W. Broadway
Room 202A
Montesano, WA 98563
Tel. (360) 249-3441
Fax (360) 249-6382


Aberdeen Office:
Pearsall Building
2109 Sumner Ave.,
Room 201
Aberdeen, WA 98520
Tel. (360) 532-7061
Fax (360) 532-7704

District Court Probation:
Room 105
County Courthouse
Montesano, WA 98563
Tel.(360)249-6868
Fax (360)249-6871

Public Information About Court Proceedings

Your district court judges and staff have available at the court offices pamphlets providing information on the following topics:
Court Introduction

Office Hours:  8 AM to 12 PM / 1 PM to 5 PM
(closed 12 - 1 PM for lunch)
Aberdeen Office: 
District Court #2 
Open Monday through Friday
(except legal holidays).
Montesano Office: 
District Court #1 
Open Monday through Friday
(except legal holidays).


Overview of the Court System in Grays Harbor County

The District Court of Grays Harbor County consists of two full-time judges, an administrative support staff of eight, and an adult probation department of two. The judges serve four-year terms after election by county voters. There are two courtrooms and court offices, one in Montesano at the courthouse, and one in Aberdeen at the Pearsall building. The probation department has a separate office in Montesano.

District Court's Montesano Office:
County Courthouse
102 W. Broadway, Room 202A
Montesano, WA 98563
Tel. (360) 249-3441   Fax (360) 249-6382

District Court's Aberdeen Office:
Pearsall Building
2109 Sumner Ave., Room 201
Aberdeen, WA 98520
Tel. (360) 532-7061   Fax (360) 532-7704

District Court Adult Probation:
County Courthouse
102 W. Broadway, Room 106
Montesano, WA 98563
Tel. (360) 249-6868   Fax (360) 249-6871


Cases Heard in District Court

The District Court caseload includes:

  • Criminal misdemeanor violations (includes Driving Under the Influence and Domestic Violence) involving up to a $5,000 fine and/or up to one year in jail.
  • Traffic, non-traffic and parking infractions.
  • Preliminary hearings in felony cases.
  • Small claims cases up to $5,000.
  • Civil actions involving $75,000 or less (concurrent with Superior Court)
  • Protection against unlawful harassment cases.
  • Name changes.
  • Domestic violence protection orders (concurrent with superior court).

Cases Filed in District Court
  2011 2010 2009
Traffic Infractions 10,933 10,272 12,865
Driving Under the Influence 296 275 383
Other Criminal Traffic 791 805 1,166
Criminal Non-traffic 907 909 988
Felony Preliminary Hearings 116 143 142
Civil Actions 1,900 1,948 2,292
Small Claims 141 175 285
Antiharassment 120 131 131
Total Annual Caseload: 15,204 14,662 18,254









Court Revenue: Fines, Fees, and Costs
District Court & Adult Probation
2011
$2,566,000  
2010
$2,586,000  
2009
$2,802,000  
2008
$2,939,000  
2007
$2,757,000  
2006
$2,438,000  
2005
$1,826,000  
2004
$2,042,000  
2003
$2,036,000  
2002
$1,802,000  
68%
  from Traffic & Infraction Penalties
17%
  from Criminal & Traffic Fines
8%
  from Criminal Cost Recovery (including Probation)
6%
  from Civil Case Filing Fees
< 1%
  from Other Fees (interest, copying, misc.)


Court Funding and Revenue from Operations:
Grays Harbor County is required to fund the entire cost of District Court & Adult Probation through its general fund. Actual expenditures in 2011 were approximately $1,382,243. The 2005 Trial Court Funding & Improvement Act provided some state funding for local court operations, the legislature recognizing that “trail court are critical to maintaining the rule of law in a free society and that they are essential to the protection of rights and enforcement of obligations for all.” All fees, fines, and penalties & other assessments in civil, infraction and criminal cases are divided according to law between the State and County (deposited in the county general fund). For example, added to each traffic infraction penalty is $7.00 to fund state emergency services and trauma care; $17 to fund the state judicial information system; & $10 auto theft prevention fee. Several other fees & surcharges required by state law impact civil, criminal & traffic cases. Certain assessments against offenders, such as public defender reimbursement, jail room & board and probation supervision fees, are not shared with the state, but a small portion is transferred to the county crime victim’s fund.

Overview of Fine Enforcement Process

Criminal fines, costs and restitution amounts, and probation fees are enforced by judicial process, to hold all offenders accountable for their actions. Payments are allowed. Probation monitors and collects its fees separately. Non-compliance with a time payment agreement in a criminal case may result in a bench warrant being issued, and persons who willfully refuse to pay may be committed to jail and/or to work on a county jail work crew. Persons who are not able to pay due to no fault of their own are given an option to perform community restitution work. In 2011, over 4000 hours of community service (volunteer work) were completed at various public and private non-profit agencies. Failure to comply in a traffic infraction case may result in driver’s license suspension and referral to a state licensed collection agency.


Other Courts in Grays Harbor County

The Superior Court of Washington for Grays Harbor County consists of 3 full-time judges and its administrative support staff. Its courtrooms and offices are located in the courthouse in Montesano. A courtroom for juvenile cases is located at the county's juvenile facility at Junction City near Aberdeen. The judges are elected to four-year terms. The Superior Court has exclusive original jurisdiction in all civil matters involving over $75,000; title or possession of real property; legality of a tax, assessment or toll; probate and domestic matters; original jurisdiction in all felony criminal cases with jail terms of up to 5 years, 10 years, and 20 years to life in a state prison; original jurisdiction in all criminal cases when jurisdiction is not otherwise provided for by law; exclusive original jurisdiction over juvenile matters; orders for protection from domestic violence; appeals from the courts of limited jurisdiction on the record for error of law.

The courts of limited jurisdiction in the county other than Grays Harbor County District Court are the Municipal Courts of each city:

Aberdeen Cosmopolis
Elma Hoquiam
McCleary Montesano
Oakville Ocean Shores
Westport

Each municipal court has a judge appointed by the mayor and/or council to a four-year term. The judges hold court on a part-time basis. A municipal court's jurisdiction extends to criminal misdemeanor and gross misdemeanor violations of city ordinances (includes Driving Under the Influence and Domestic Violence cases) with a maximum fine of $5,000 or less and/or a jail sentence of 364 days or less in a city or county jail; and traffic, non-traffic and parking infractions. Municipal courts do not handle civil or small claims cases, name changes, or protection from harassment cases.


How can I find out more information about my case, including my next court date? What do I do if I lost my traffic ticket or citation?

Start by reading the entire ticket, both front and back. The court’s name, address and telephone number should be printed on your copy. Instructions explaining how to respond are also included. If you have lost your copy of the citation or infraction (“ticket”), your correct name (as it is printed on your drivers license) and date of birth will help locate your records. Some information about your case, including your next court date, may be located on-line. Go to the Washington Courts website (http://www.courts.wa.gov/) and click on “Find Your Court Date.”

Most courts have computer access to an index of cases filed in limited jurisdiction courts in the state. Even if you go to the wrong court office, in most cases court staff should be able to direct you to the correct court location.


Links to other Courts

Washington State Courts

City of Hoquiam, Municipal Court


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