Prosecuting Attorney's Office

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Prosecuting Attorney's Office

Prosecutor: Rich Weyrich
Victim Witness Division FAQ's


Q - I want a protection order to keep my husband [or wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, or other person] away from me. Will the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office do this for me?

A- Advocates are available to answer questions you may have in this regard.

Q - I feel that a crime has been committed. How do I press charges? May I report a crime directly to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office?

A - In most cases, crimes must be reported to the police department or other law enforcement agency which has jurisdiction over the city or county where the crime occurred. For example, if the crime occurred inside the city limits of Mount Vernon, it should be reported to the Mount Vernon Police Department. If the crime was committed in any unincorporated area of Skagit County, or in an area where the Skagit County Sheriff is the contracting law enforcement agency (e.g., ), the crime should be reported to the Skagit County Sheriff’s Office. The law enforcement agency then conducts an investigation. When the investigation is complete, they forward their report to our office in the form of a referral. The Prosecutor reviews the case and makes a determination as to whether or not a crime has been committed. Charges are filed or the case is declined for further investigation or lack of evidence.

Q - I am a victim in a criminal case and I want to drop charges. Can I do that?

A - The charging decision in any criminal case rests solely with the prosecutor. The victim's wishes alone will not dictate whether or not a case will be filed or dismissed.

Q - I was the victim of a crime. Can you tell me the name of the defendant and the defendant’s next court date?

A - The Prosecuting Attorney’s Office can provide you with the name of the adult defendant and the next court date if charges against the defendant have been filed. To obtain this information, call the Prosecutor’s office at (360) 416-1600. You may be asked several questions in order to verify the specific case you are looking for. You will also be asked to confirm or update your address and phone number. For district or municipal court dates, you can try this link with the defendant’s name:

Q - What is the status of my case?

A - You can determine the status of a case by calling the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office at (360) 416-1600. You will be asked several questions to determine your relationship to a current or past case. We can tell you whether a case is open, closed, pending (i.e. waiting for a prosecutor to review it for charges) or in bench warrant status. We can also inform you of upcoming court dates. It is important that you update your address and contact information when you call so that our database is current.

Q - Is the prosecutor my attorney?

A - No. The Prosecuting Attorney and his deputies represent the State of Washington in criminal cases. As a victim or witness, you participate in the process by your truthful statements and testimony to help prove the elements of the crime which the Prosecuting Attorney has charged.

Q - What is a pre-trial interview?

A - A pre-trial interview is an informal meeting between a victim or witness and the prosecutor and/or defense attorney for any given case. The prosecutor often chooses to talk or meet with victims or witnesses while considering alternatives for case disposition or preparing for trial. Defense counsel will often seek to talk with victims or witnesses in order to determine what the nature of their trial testimony will be.

Q - How do I find out if a person charged with a crime is still in jail?

A - The Skagit County Jail has an interactive jail roster available on the Internet at Inmates are listed by name. Specific information can be obtained by clicking on an inmate’s name.

Q - Is there a way to be notified when a person is released from jail?

A - If you would like to be notified when a person is released from jail, you should sign up with the Washington Statewide Information and Notification System. This is more commonly referred to as the VINE system. You can register to be notified at or 1-877-846-3492. You will be asked to provide the offenders name, contact information and a PIN number. You can choose any PIN number, but please remember to pick one that is easy for you to remember. When an offender is released you will be notified by phone or email. Phone notification repeats for a period of time or until a PIN code is entered. This is an automated system that is regularly adding detention facilities to its database.

Q - Why does this case keep getting continued?

A - It is not uncommon for cases to be continued several times throughout the course of prosecution. Some cases can take up to a year or longer to bring to resolution. The judge may grant continuances, or delays, at the request of the defense or the prosecution. Some of these continuances are granted over objections raised by opposing counsel.

Listed below are some reasons that might force a case to be continued:

  • Attorneys, law enforcement personnel, or expert witnesses are unavailable on the original trial date set by the court
  • Lab results are still pending
  • Negotiations and interviews are still taking place
  • Defense has not concluded their investigation
  • Health issues that might keep a defendant from appearing in court
  • Courtrooms are already scheduled for other matters
  • Miscellaneous motions before the court
  • Determination and Location of key witnesses
  • Changes in representation by counsel

This is not a complete list, but does show several of the factors involved in taking a case to trial.

Q - Why am I a witness? I didn’t see the crime occur.

A - Witnesses often provide important information even though they may not have seen the crime. If you wonder "why" you are a potential witness, ask the prosecutor handling the case.

Q - If I am subpoenaed to testify, do I have to talk in front of the defendant in court?

A - Yes. The defendant must be present in court to hear testimony from all the witnesses. The lawyer for the defendant will ask you questions after the prosecutor does.

Q - I made a written statement; why do I have to testify?

A - The Defendant has a constitutional right to hear what you have to say in open court.

Q - Who will be with me in court?

A - You may bring friends or relatives with you to court, and they can probably sit in the courtroom while you testify, unless they are also witnesses. Witnesses testify one at a time and generally wait outside the courtroom for their turn. Our Victim/Witness Advocate may also be with you in court in some circumstances.

Q - What do I do if I can’t attend court as a witness on the date stated in the subpoena?

A - If you have a conflict, you should contact the Prosecutor’s Office immediately to discuss your conflict. We will attempt to work with you and your schedule, as much as possible.

Q - Does the County reimburse me for wages lost when I am a witness?

A - You are entitled to a nominal witness fee and payment for mileage if you drive to court. You will need to sign in at the Skagit County Clerk’s Office immediately before or after your scheduled testimony. The Clerk’s Office will tally your fee and send you a check in the mail within a few weeks.

Q - Where do I park as a witness in a criminal case?

A - There are several places to park surrounding the main courthouse complex. There is a parking lot directly behind the main courthouse and another just north of the Prosecutor’s Office. We suggest you park inside a parking lot to avoid being ticketed on the street.

Q - How long will I be in court as a witness?

A - Your courtroom time, while actually testifying, may not take long; it depends on many factors. Most of the time you will just be waiting for your turn to testify. We try to schedule testimony so that your wait is limited, but previous testimony or unexpected motions can change the schedule after you arrive. You and your family and friends are encouraged to bring a book or magazine to read while you wait.

Q - An investigator for the defendant wants to interview me. Can I refuse?

A - The defendant’s lawyer or an investigator may contact you. Defense counsel has the right to interview witnesses prior to trial. The purpose of a defense interview is to determine the nature of trial testimony. You may speak with the defense without the prosecutor present. You may refuse the interview, although that may prompt a court order for a formal deposition. The decision is completely up to you. We suggest that you always know the identity of the person to whom you are speaking. Ask for identification. If you are not sure to whom you are speaking, ask for their name and phone number and call our office and speak with a Victim Witness Advocate at (360) 416-1600 for assistance. If you wish the prosecutor to be present you may request that defense contact our office to set an interview for them. Our office will then set a time where a pretrial interview can take place in our office and a prosecutor will be present during the interview.

Q - What if I have to testify as a witness in a criminal case?


Tell the truth! This is the single most important advice any witness should remember. Dress neatly! A neat appearance and proper dress in court give an important first, and lasting, impression. Think about the incident, relax ... speak clearly! You have nothing to fear when giving true answers. When you are asked questions, give your answer as clearly as possible.

Q - How do I get reimbursement for the losses/damages I sustained as a victim of crime?

A - Compensation by the State:

If you have suffered a loss that is medical in nature, or wages lost because of a physical injury, and if these injuries are the result of criminal activity, then you may be eligible for compensation through the Crime Victims Compensation Program. This program is run by the State of Washington. It is not a requirement of the program that the offender be criminally convicted, or even criminally charged. The application for compensation is available online at You may also pick up an application at our office. A victim witness advocate will assist you in filling it out.

Restitution from the Offender:

In order to receive restitution from the Court, the offender must be charged and convicted of the crime which resulted in your loss. The statue which authorizes restitution states that restitution must “be based on easily ascertainable damages for injury to or loss of property, actual expenses incurred for treatment for injury to persons, and lost wages resulting from injury. Restitution shall not include reimbursement for damages for mental anguish, pain and suffering, or other intangible losses, but may include the costs of counseling reasonably related to the offense.”

Restitution is determined by the Court based on information provided by the prosecutor and by the defendant. If you are seeking restitution, it is essential that you provide proof of loss to the prosecutor’s office. Proof of loss may be established by documentation which may include a Victim Loss Statement with receipts, estimates, bills, pictures, comparison price quotes, etc. There are time limitations on the Court in ordering restitution, so you should submit your claim as soon as possible. You may be required to testify in a restitution hearing to prove your claim.

Once restitution is ordered by the Court, the responsibility for collecting payments from the defendant belongs to the Skagit County Clerk or the Department of Corrections. The defendant is required to make payments on restitution to the Skagit County Clerk. The Clerk will mail the payment to you. It is important for you to maintain current mailing information with the Court.