Seattle Municipal Court begins phased reopening on July 6, 2020

Seattle Municipal Court (SMC) is resuming limited in-person operations beginning July 6, 2020, in accordance with General Administrative Order 2020-08. Our highest priority remains the health and safety of employees, attorneys, court participants, and visitors.

Court services and hearings will resume under a phased reopening plan that will continue throughout the summer. Limited in-person services and hearings will resume in the first week and expand in following weeks.

Facial coverings will be required for all, and social distancing and temperature check measures will be in place. Individuals who are not feeling well or have a fever should stay home and contact the court by phone (206-684-5600) to reschedule their hearing.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, court operations have been limited to in-custody only appearances at Courtroom 2 of the King County Jail, to ensure that in-custody individuals continued to have the opportunity to present motions for release and that their cases progressed as quickly as possible under the emergency circumstances.

In order to most effectively process a large backlog of cancelled hearings, SMC has worked closely with the Seattle City Attorney’s Office and King County Department of Public Defense to identify and prioritize urgent cases in its reopening schedule. SMC is working to implement video/telephonic hearing options for both criminal and infraction hearings in coming months, though individuals will still be able to conduct their hearing in-person if they choose. Jury trials are on hold until at least August 24, 2020.

For tickets and infractions, SMC has suspended the late penalty through at least July 30, 2020. The court is not referring outstanding tickets to collections through at least July 30, 2020. Tickets can be paid online and by calling 206-233-7000. SMC has suspended the $3.60 transaction fee for telephone and online payments.

Parking and infraction ticket hearings are only being held through written statement at this time. Members of the public can request a written hearing to contest or mitigate their ticket by following the instructions on the back of their ticket, or by calling (206) 684-5600 Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. A hearing notice will be mailed with instructions for how to submit a written statement online or via mail. In-person contested ticket hearings may resume after August 10, 2020, and in-person mitigation hearings may resume after August 24, 2020.

In-person probation and day reporting remain suspended. Probation counselors will continue to communicate with their clients via phone through at least August 24, 2020, and Probation Services will provide electronic home monitoring services as needed at the courthouse. Community service and work crew obligations have been extended, and work crew activities have been suspended until further notice.

The Community Resource Center will remain closed through at least the end of July. Information on where to obtain resources and support is available online.