Frequently Asked Questions - Victim Witness

As victim of crime, I have been notified by your office of all the court dates scheduled for a defendant. Do I need to attend every one of the hearings?

No, it is not mandatory that you attend every hearing. If your testimony is needed at trial, you will receive a Subpoena which will indicate the time and date you need to appear. However, as a victim of crime you have the right to attend any and all hearings. That is why notice is provided for all hearings.

I am the victim of a crime and I want to drop charges, how do I do this?

You cannot drop the charges. The Prosecutor's office, on behalf of the State of Washington , filed charges and we are the only ones that can dismiss the case. However, your input on a case is important, please call the victim advocate or deputy prosecuting attorney assigned to the case to explain your position.

I have received a Subpoena, what should I do?

You should plan to appear in court on the date and time indicated on the Subpoena. You should contact our office as indicated on the Subpoena or check this website to find out the status of the hearing. You should also be aware that court hearings frequently get cancelled, moved or rescheduled. That is why you need to check in as instructed.

Do court dates frequently change?

Yes they do. If you have questions as to when a court hearing is to be held, please contact our office immediately.

Why have I received multiple Subpoenas for the same case?

Sometimes cases are moved or rescheduled because there is more evidence to be obtained, such as lab reports. It is also possible that a defendant can waive their "speedy trial" time. Which means the defendant agrees that it can take longer than 60-90 days set out by law to complete the case. Also, in Chelan County criminal cases are only heard during specific weeks each month and the cases are heard in order of those who have the least amount of time remaining available for trial.

What is "Speedy Trial" time?

Washington State law provides that if a defendant is incarcerated, the State has 60 days from the date of arraignment to bring this matter to trial. If the defendant is not incarcerated, the State has 90 days from the date of arraignment to bring the matter to trial.

What does "Waive Speedy Trial" mean?

The defendant agrees to an extension of the time the State will have to complete the case.

What is restitution?

Criminal restitution is money ordered by the court to repay a victim or the victim's insurance company for financial losses resulting from the criminal act. It is the right of a victim to be reimbursed for losses caused directly by the commission of a crime. The law limits restitution to certain kinds of expenses and losses.

How do I get restitution ordered in a criminal case?

You will need to fill out the Restitution Estimate form provided by the Victim/Witness Advocate (or the form may be downloaded from this site). It is necessary to provide as much documentation as possible to substantiate your loss, this may include receipts, estimates for repair, copies of checks, etc. If you cannot locate your records for purchase of an item, provide estimates, or find similar items in local advertisements, magazines or from the internet. If you have made an insurance claim on the loss, please be sure to include that information on the Restitution Estimate so that your insurance company can be reimbursed.

Will restitution payments come directly to me from the defendant?

No. The defendant will make all payments to the Clerk of the Court and the Clerk will then send a check to you. It is important that you keep the Clerk of the Court advised of any change in address you may have so that payments will reach you.

What happens once restitution is ordered?

The defendant is required to make payments in accordance with the Judgment and Sentence and Order Setting Restitution entered in the case. Once released from incarceration, the payments will be monitored by the Chelan County Clerk's Office Financial Recovery Specialist. If arrangements for payments are not made or payments are not received as agreed, the Financial Recovery Specialist will ask that this person be brought before the court for a Probation Violation.

Who should I check with to see if payments are being made?

You should check with either the Chelan County Clerk's Office accountant by calling 509-667-6480 or the Financial Recovery Specialist at 509-667-6566.

If the defendant is sent to prison, will he/she be responsible for making restitution payments while incarcerated?

It is possible for an inmate to be employed within the prison system. A portion of any monies earned will be sent to the Clerk of the Court as payment towards restitution and court fines and fees.

Is there a time limit for requesting restitution?

Yes. Washington State law dictates that if restitution is to be ordered, it must be done within 180 days of the date of sentencing.

Will I automatically be notified when a defendant is released from prison?

No. If you are a victim or a witness to a crime, you must request to be notified of the release of an offender from prison. This is done through the DSHS Victim/Witness Notification Program. If you do not receive an enrollment brochure from the local Department of Corrections caseworker, you may request a brochure by calling 1-800-422-1536 or get more information from the website at www1.dshs.wa.gov/legrel/victimwitness.

This program will notify victims and/or witnesses when an offender is due to be released or of an escape. They do not give notification of moves from one Department of Correction facility to another.