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

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Frequently Asked Questions

Questions by Witnesses

Why am I a witness? I didn't see the crime occur.

Witnesses are not only "eye witnesses". You may have seen the crime happen or may know something about it. You may also know something about a piece of evidence, or may know something that contradicts another witness's testimony. If you wonder why you are testifying in a particular case, ask the prosecutor handling it; there is probably a common-sense reason.

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

The County Courthouse parking lot   is to the north, just across B Street from the Yakima County Courthouse. There is a public parking lot at the corner of 2nd Street and A Street, and there is public parking along most streets surrounding the Courthouse, but parking in that lot and on many of the streets is limited to 2 hours.

As a witness, do I have to talk in front of the defendant in court?

The defendant has a constitutional right to be present in court to hear what all the witnesses say.

Who will be with me in court?

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. In some cases, a Victim/Witness Advocate from our office may also be with you, if you request. Talk with the prosecutor about that.

How long will I be at court as a witness?

Your time at court varies greatly from case to case. Some witnesses will be at the courthouse for more than a day. You are encouraged to bring a book or magazine to read while you wait.

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

Look at the bottom of the subpoena. There should be the name and telephone number of the person you should call as soon as you are aware of the conflict. In many cases, we are able to arrange for a witnessís testimony to be at the most convenient time for the witness.

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

You will receive a witness fee and mileage for appearing as a witness if there is a trial. The amount of the witness fee and mileage is set by law, and there is no provision to compensate for loss of wages. Paying a witness's lost wages would require a tax increase to put enough money in the County's budget.

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Updated November 19, 2010