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Can an arraignment in a drug possession charge be waived in district court?

Everett, WA |

I was charged in Whitman County district court with possession of marijuana. However, I live 300 miles away from there. If I hire an attorney, can I waive my appearance at the arraignment. My ticket says "mandatory appearance".

I am 18 years old and charged as an adult.

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Attorney answers 4


CrRJL 4.1(g) allows your attorney to waive formal arraignment in District Court. Some courts have local rules that modify this rule. It is very common for a court not to allow this on DUIs or other designated offense. It should not be a problem with a Possession of Marijuana charge. Contact an attorney in the Spokane area to get help with this.

The answer provided is for educational purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. You should consult an attorney for legal advice regarding the facts of your specific case and designed to help you with your personal needs.


Yes. I recommend hiring a lawyer immediately. There is a provision in the law to waive arraignment in District Court, but as a practical matter you must have a lawyer retained prior to the date. If you do not have a lawyer, you must appear, plead not guilty, and the court will assign future court dates, including a trial date. Waiver of Arraignment only applies to District and other Limited Jurisdiction courts, NOT Superior Court. Additionally, ALL later dates require appearance, unless the court tells you specifically your appearance waived.

Your question shows as a "Snohomish County Criminal question". Local practices may vary. My policy is to file pleadings waiving arraignment only after being retained (i.e. meeting my client, agreeing on a fee, and payment of the fee). I recommend you research lawyers in that community, and talk to at least three before deciding who to hire. Consider lawyers from the nearest larger town also. if you don't feel entirely comfortable with a lawyer, go to the arraignment and plead "not guilty". The judge will ask about your plan for counsel. Be sure to get a lawyer well before your next court date. If you can't afford to hire, ask for a public defender. Good luck.

I am licensed in Washington. I only practice law in this state. I limit my practice, and my answers on this site, to criminal matters in Washington state, and local questions from the courts north of Seattle where I practice. Any advice is provided for informational purposes, and does not form an attorney-client relationship. Any answers provided by lawyers not licensed to practice law in Washington, purporting to answer questions of Washington state law or the practice of the courts of this state, are probably either too general to be helpful, or unethical under Rules of Professional Conduct in this state. Please contact a local, experienced criminal defense lawyer practicing in the community where your question arises.


If it was less than 40 grams of Marijuana it should be possible to waive arraignment by hiring an attorney. If it is a felony charge filed in District Court you may not be able to waive arraignment.


Yes. Court rules allow it, and our office typically does this for minor cases such as yours.
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