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

Our Office
Domestic Violence
WA Laws
Community Programs
For Parents
For Kids
Press Releases
Yakima County
Frequently Asked Questions

Questions by Defendants

I have a complaint about my attorney. Who do I contact?

Our office cannot help you. Please contact the Washington State Bar Association at 800-945-WSBA or

Is there a warrant out for me?

If you think that the Yakima County Superior Court, Juvenile Court, or District Court has issued a warrant for your arrest, someone in one of our criminal divisions can tell you if there is a warrant. However, we will not be able to confirm whether any other court has issued a warrant for you. You must contact a Sheriff’s Office or Police Department for that information.

Do I need an attorney for arraignment?

No, although some defendants hire attorneys before the arraignment. An attorney may be able to answer questions you have that the court cannot. If you are not able to hire the attorney before arraignment, the attorney can still appear in the case later. If you are not able to afford an attorney, you may request that the judge appoint an attorney to represent you during the arraignment.

What happens at arraignment?

Arraignments are the hearings that basically start a criminal case. It depends on the court and the case, but these are things that generally happen at arraignment:

  • The judge tells the defendant about his or her rights in court.
  • If it hasn't already been determined, the judge determines whether probable cause exists so that the case may continue.
  • Either the judge or the prosecutor will read the charge or charges to the defendant.
  • The judge asks whether the defendant has an attorney, and appoints one to represent the defendant if requested and appropriate.
  • The judge sets conditions of release from custody -- the conditions may include bail, periodic check-ins with a court-designated monitor, no contact with certain persons, not leaving Yakima County, not possessing or using alcohol or controlled substances, not possessing weapons, not committing new offenses, and more.
  • In some courts, the judge will allow a defendant to enter a guilty plea. In other courts, the judge will enter not guilty pleas for all defendants.
  • The judge will set a new court date or dates for pretrial hearings and/or trial.

What happens at a pretrial or status hearing?

It depends on the court and the case, but usually it is the court’s opportunity to find out from the attorneys whether the case is ready for trial and if so, then how long the trial will take, how many witnesses are expected, and whether there will be special issues. Sometimes the court will hold separate pretrial hearings with witnesses to determine issues such as whether a confession may be used at trial.

How do I take a conviction or adjudication off of my record?

Normally, you cannot have a conviction or adjudication removed (also called "expunged") from your record. However, if you want to try, you should contact a private attorney. If you do not have a lawyer, you can call CLEAR (Coordinated Legal Education, Advice & Referral) at 1-888-201-1014 for a referral to a local attorney.

What is going on with my case?

Defendants should contact their own attorneys regarding the status of the case.

If you have questions about the Yakima County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, please send a message to

If you have questions or comments about the contents of this website, please contact Webmaster Susan Arb by sending a message to


Updated November 19, 2010