Serving Skagit,
Island, and
Whatcom Counties
National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
The National Trial Lawyers Top 100

Superior Court

Which Crimes are Charged in Superior Court?

In general, Superior Court deals with felony criminal charges. Felony criminal charges are considered serious criminal cases. A conviction for a felony criminal charge will automatically result in the loss of a number of Constitutional rights that you possess by virtue of being an American citizen, such as, the right to bear arms, the right to participate in the electoral and judicial process.

In the State of Washington, felony charges are broken down into one of three classes that range from A to C. A Class "A' crime is the most serious and a Class "C" is the leas. The felony crimes are charged by the maximum amount of prison time that can possibly be imposed.

  • Class A Felony

    For a Class A felony the maximum penalty could be 25 years to life in prison and a $50K fine. (Examples of Class A felonies include Rape in the First Degree, Rape of a Child, Robbery in the First Degree, Murder.)

  • Class B Felony

    For a Class B felony the maximum penalty can be 10 years in prison and a $20,000 penalty. (Examples of Class B felonies include Theft in the First Degree, Residential Burglary, Vehicular Assault)

  • Class C Felony

    For a Class C Felony the maximum penalty is 5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. (Examples of class C felonies include Felony DUI, Malicious Mischief in the Second Degree, Attempted Felony Elude)

Despite the possible extreme time limits and fines that are attached to a felony conviction, the State of Washington uses a sentencing grid system. The term of jail/imprisonment associated with a conviction for any particular felony is determined by examining an individuals criminal history to determine a "score". The score ranges from zero (0) to nine (9). Once a score is determined the sentencing grid will determine the range of jail/prison associated with a conviction.

State of Washington Sentencing Manual

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How Does a Felony Case Usually Begin?

Crimes charged as a felony may begin in a variety of scenarios. However, the usual way a felony case begins is either by an "arrest and charging" or by "summons".

72 Hour Investigative Hold

When a person is arrested by law enforcement for a suspected felony crime they will generally be placed in custody for a 72 hour period. During this period the police and the prosecution will continue and/or conclude their investigation into the alleged crime. Law enforcement will then forward their paperwork to a prosecutor who has the same 72 hour period to file formal felony charges and request continued custody or specific bail/bond amount. You will have a right to a hearing (arraignment - touch this and it should go down to arraignment) if criminal charges are filed within the 72 hour period. If the prosecutor does not file criminal charges you will be released without conditions. However, the prosecutor can still file charges at a later date (within the limits of the statutory period).

Information and Summons

In some cases prosecutors (the State) will file criminal charges by filing and mail (serving) you an information and summons. An information will inform you as to what crime(s) the State of Washington is alleging that you have committed. A summons is a document informing you when you must appear in court for an Arraignment hearing (same thing as above).

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Where is Superior Court?

Skagit County Superior Court
205 W Kincaid St #202
Mount Vernon, WA 98273
(360) 336-9320

Island County Superior Court
Law and Justice Building
101 NE 6th Street
Coupeville, WA 98239

San Juan County Superior Court
350 Court St
Friday Harbor, WA 98250-7901
(360) 378-4017

Snohomish County Superior Court
3000 Rockefeller Ave
Everett, WA 98201
(425) 388-3411

Whatcom County Superior Court
311 Grand Avenue, Suite 301
Bellingham, WA 98225
(360) 676-6777

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