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How does the court proceedings work when someone goes to jail to malicious mischief 3rd degree in WA state?

Ferndale, WA |

He stayed in jail overnight and is in court right now. Is it ultimately the judge's decision whether or not he will have another court date (assuming he is convicted/accused) or can he just be set free with a fine and not have to go through any further legal proceedings?

Is there anyway that the owner of the damaged property get involved to help if he is accused of malicious mischief? What is that procedure?

Thank you

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Attorney answers 1


Usually, if someone is taken to jail by the police for this kind of offense, they will appear in front of a judge within 72 hours and the judge will usually allow the person to go free if they promise to remain out of trouble and come back to court when directed to do so. Sometimes, the court also requires that the person pay bail or post a bond with the clerk fo the court to get out of jail.

This entire process I am describing is called an arraignment, and if the person chooses to plead guilty and be sentenced, there will be no further court hearings. The judge will impose a sentence and that may mean more jail, fines, and possibly probation, but the case will be over then as far as court dates go. But if they plead not guilty, the court will set a pretrial hearing which will happen at a later date.

As far as involvement by the victim, the defendant should not try to make any contact at this stage or try to do anything with that person. If the victim feels intimidated, the victim could complain to the police and a witness tampering charge would result. Also, if the judge imposed a no-contact order at arraignment, contacting the person could wind you back in jail with a new criminal charge, violating a no-contact order.

As an attorney for many people in this situation, I have negotiated settlements called "compromise of misdemeanor" where the victim is paid restitution and then the court dismisses the case. But if the victim is unwilling to sign releases or receive restitution from the victim, a compromise settlement may not be possible.

I hope I have answered your questions well enough. The facts in your question did not provide me as much detail as I needed to fully comprehend what is happening in your situation.

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