Scales Yakima County Prosecuting Attorney
128 North 2nd Street, Room 329
Yakima, Washington 98901

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Frequently Asked Questions

Questions by Victims

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?

No, you don’t need a lawyer. Go to the Yakima County Superior Court Clerk’s Office, Room 323, County Courthouse, 128 N. 2nd Street, Yakima WA 98901, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Ask for an application for a Protection Order. The application, hearing, order, and service of the order on the person are free.

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

In most cases, crimes must be reported to the Sheriff’s Department, a 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 in Yakima, it should be reported to the Yakima Police Department. If the crime was committed in any unincorporated area of Yakima County, or in an area where the Yakima County Sheriff is the contracting law enforcement agency (such as the City of Naches), the crime should be reported to the Sheriff.

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

The decision to drop charges in any criminal prosecution can only be made by a prosecutor with the approval of a judge. The victim's wishes alone will not dictate whether or not a case will be filed or dismissed. One reason for this is that some criminal charges affect more than one victim, and the other victims may wish to proceed. Another reason is that sometimes the victim has been intimidated or pressured to drop the charges, or believes that such a request will stop any retaliation. If our office did not proceed in such cases, victims would continue to be intimidated and hurt. If you would like to discuss your case, you should speak with the prosecutor handling the case.

I was the victim of a crime. Can I get money for what I have lost?

If the defendant is convicted of the crime, and in some other special dispositions, the court can order the defendant to pay restitution. Restitution is money equal to the victim’s loss. These are typically awarded as restitution:

  • Cost of destroyed, lost, or damaged property,

  • Medical and counseling bills,

  • Cost of surveillance and investigation tools, such as video tapes, and

  • Lost wages due to injury from the crime.

Some types of loss, such as pain and suffering, are usually not awarded as restitution. You should contact a non-government attorney if you want help obtaining pain and suffering damages.

In addition, the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries has a program called the Crime Victims Compensation Program. It will provide funds for victims of crime to help pay for medical and counseling costs that are a result of the crime. This program is a source of last resort for victims not otherwise covered by insurance or medical coupons.

I was the victim of a crime, and the defendant was ordered to pay restitution to me. Since then, I have more medical and counseling bills. Will the defendant pay for those too?

In some cases, the court will consider changing the amount of restitution the defendant must pay. The Crime Victims Compensation Program may also provide financial help if you have ongoing treatment or counseling. Our office can provide the form you need to get this help.

Why am I not getting my restitution check?

If the court ordered the defendant to pay restitution to you, but you are not getting money, it could be because the defendant is still in jail or prison, or the defendant is not making any money to pay to the court, or the defendant isn’t paying for some other reason. You may have to wait a long while for money. Various departments, including the Washington State Department of Corrections, are then responsible for collecting money owed to victims. The Clerk of the Court where the case was filed will send the money to you as it is received. If you are not receiving your restitution you should contact that Clerk’s office to make sure it has your correct address. If the defendant has community supervision or probation, you can also call the defendant’s community custody officer or probation officer about the lack of payment.

How do I collect restitution when I know the defendant is working but isn’t paying?

The defendant is responsible to make his or her community corrections officer or probation officer aware of his or her living and employment status. If you have additional information about the defendant, the community corrections officer or probation officer would like to be informed. If the defendant is not being supervised, contact the Clerk's office of the court in which the case was heard.

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

Our Office can give you the name of an adult defendant and the next court date if we have filed charges against the defendant. To obtain this information, call our Felony Division office if the crime was a felony (most serious crimes) or our District Court Division office if the offense is not a felony. If the defendant was a juvenile, call our Juvenile Division office.

What is the status of my case?

You should receive some information from someone in our office. If not, or if you want more information, please call our office and ask to speak with the prosecutor handling the case. The office telephone numbers and addresses are in the Office Divisions section of this website.

Do you have a witness protection program?

No. We can help by giving victims and witnesses the names and telephone numbers of both government and non-government organizations that can provide other types of aid, but we cannot promise security.

What kind of counseling services do you provide?

The Victim/Witness Assistants in our office are trained in crisis response and victim awareness. However, they are not trained counselors. We do provide a list of counselors in the area that provide services to victims of crime.

Is the prosecutor my attorney?

No. The prosectuting attorney represents the State of Washington and Yakima County, not individual persons or businesses. The prosecutor will listen to your concerns and take into consideration your wishes. However, the prosecutor must weigh all the aspects of the case and makes the final determination.

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Updated November 19, 2010