2 Procedures Prior to Arrest and Other Special Proceedings
CrRLJ 2.1: COMPLAINT--CITATION AND NOTICE
(1) Initiation. Except as otherwise provided in this rule, all criminal proceedings shall be initiated by a complaint.
(2) Nature. The complaint shall be a plain, concise and definite written statement of the essential facts constituting the offense charged. It shall be signed by the prosecuting authority. Allegations made in one count may be incorporated by reference in another count. It may be alleged that the means by which the defendant committed the offense are unknown or that he or she committed it by one or more specified means. The complaint shall state for each count the official or customary citation of the statute, rule, regulation or other provision of law which the defendant is alleged therein to have violated. Error in the citation or its omission shall not be ground for dismissal of the complaint or for reversal of a conviction if the error or omission did not mislead the defendant to his or her prejudice.
(3) Contents. The complaint shall contain or have attached to it the following information when filed with the court: (i) the name, address, date of birth, and sex of the defendant; (ii) all known personal identification numbers for the defendant, including the Washington driver's operating license (DOL) number, the state criminal identification (SID) number, the state criminal process control number (PCN), the JUVIS control number, and the Washington Department of Corrections (DOC) number.
(b) Citation and Notice To Appear.
(1) Issuance. Whenever a person is arrested or could have been arrested pursuant to statute for a violation of law which is punishable as a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor the arresting officer, or any other authorized peace officer, may serve upon the person a citation and notice to appear in court. Criminal citations shall be on a form entitled "Criminal Citation" prescribed by the Administrative Office of the Courts. Citation forms prescribed by the Administrative Office of the Courts are presumed valid.
(2) Release Factors. In determining whether to release the person or to hold him or her in custody, the peace officer shall consider the following factors: (i) whether the person has identified himself or herself satisfactorily; (ii) whether detention appears reasonably necessary to prevent imminent bodily harm to himself, herself, or another, or injury to property, or breach of the peace; (iii) whether the person has ties to the community reasonably sufficient to assure his or her appearance or whether there is substantial likelihood that he or she will refuse to respond to the citation and notice; and (iv) whether the person previously has failed to appear in response to a citation and notice issued pursuant to this rule or to other lawful process.
(3) Contents. The citation and notice to appear shall include or have attached to it: (i) the name of the court and a space for the court's docket, case or file number; (ii) the name, address, date of birth, and sex of the defendant; and all known personal identification numbers for the defendant, including the Washington driver's operating license (DOL) number, the state criminal identification (SID) number, the state criminal process control number (PCN), the JUVIS control number, and the Washington Department of Corrections (DOC) number; (iii) the date, time, place, numerical code section, description of the offense charged, the date on which the citation was issued, and the name of the citing officer; (iv) the time and place the person is to appear in court, which may not exceed 20 days after the date of the citation and notice, but which need not be a time certain.
(4) Certificate. The citation and notice shall contain a form of certificate by the citing official that he or she certifies, under penalties of perjury, as provided by RCW 9A.72.085, and any law amendatory thereto, that he or she has probable cause to believe the person committed the offense charged contrary to law. The certificate need not be made before a magistrate or any other person.
(5) Initiation. When signed by the citing officer and filed with a court of competent jurisdiction, the citation and notice shall be deemed a lawful complaint for the purpose of initiating prosecution of the offense charged therein.
(c) Citizen Complaints.
Any person wishing to institute a criminal action alleging a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor shall appear before a judge empowered to commit persons charged with offenses against the State, other than a judge pro tem. The judge may require the appearance to be made on the record, and under oath. The judge may consider any allegations on the basis of an affidavit sworn to before the judge. The court may also grant an opportunity at said hearing for evidence to be given by the county prosecuting attorney or deputy, the potential defendant or attorney of record, law enforcement or other potential witnesses. The court may also require the presence of other potential witnesses. In addition to probable cause, the court may consider:
(1) Whether an unsuccessful prosecution will subject the State to costs or damage claims under RCW 9A.16.110, or other civil proceedings;
(2) Whether the complainant has adequate recourse under laws governing small claims suits, anti-harassment petitions or other civil actions;
(3) Whether a criminal investigation is pending;
(4) Whether other criminal charges could be disrupted by allowing the citizen complaint to be filed;
(5) The availability of witnesses at trial;
(6) The criminal record of the complainant, potential defendant and potential witnesses, and whether any have been convicted of crimes of dishonesty as defined by ER 609; and
(7) Prosecution standards under RCW 9.94A.440.
If the judge is satisfied that probable cause exists, and factors (1) through (7) justify filing charges, and that the complaining witness is aware of the gravity of initiating a criminal complaint, of the necessity of a court appearance or appearances for himself or herself and witnesses, of the possible liability for false arrest and of the consequences of perjury, the judge may authorize the citizen to sign and file a complaint in the form prescribed in CrRLJ 2.1(a).
The affidavit may be in substantially the following form: THE STATE OF WASHINGTON ) ) ss. No. ________ COUNTY OF _________________) AFFIDAVIT OF COMPLAINING WITNESS DEFENDANT: Name ____________________________ Name ____________________________ Address _________________________ Address _________________________ Phone ___________ Bus. __________ Phone ___________ Bus. __________ WITNESSES: Name ____________________________ Name ____________________________ Address _________________________ Address _________________________ Phone ___________ Bus. __________ Phone ___________ Bus. __________ Name ____________________________ Name ____________________________ Address _________________________ Address _________________________ Phone ___________ Bus. __________ Phone ___________ Bus. __________ I, the undersigned complainant, understand that I have the choice of complaining to a prosecuting authority rather than signing this affidavit. I elect to use this method to start criminal proceedings. I understand that the following are some but not all of the consequences of my signing a criminal complaint: (1) the defendant may be arrested and placed in custody; (2) the arrest if proved false may result in a lawsuit against me; (3) if I have sworn falsely I may be prosecuted for perjury; (4) this charge will be prosecuted even though I might later change my mind; (5) witnesses and complainant will be required to appear in court on the trial date regardless of inconvenience, school, job, etc. Following is a true statement of the events that led to filing this charge. I (have)(have not) consulted with a prosecuting authority concerning this incident. On the ____ day of ___________, 19__, at _______________________. (location) _____________________________________________________________________ Signed _______________________________ SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN TO before me this ____ day of ___________, 19__. ______________________________________ Judge
(1) Original. The original of the complaint or citation and notice shall be filed with the clerk of the court.
(2) Time. The citation and notice shall be filed with the clerk of the court within two days after issuance, not including Saturdays, Sundays or holidays. A citation and notice not filed within the time limits of this rule may be dismissed without prejudice.
[Amended effective March 18, 1994; July 2, 1996; September 1, 1999; November 21, 2006; May 6, 2008.]
CrRLJ 2.2: WARRANT OF ARREST OR SUMMONS UPON COMPLAINT
(a) Issuance of Warrant of Arrest.
(1) Generally. If a complaint is filed and if the offense charged may be tried in the jurisdiction in which the warrant issues, and if the sentence for the offense charged may include confinement in jail, the court may direct the clerk to issue a warrant for the arrest of the defendant unless the defendant has already been arrested in connection with the offense charged and is in custody or has been released on obligation to appear in court.
(2) Probable Cause. A warrant of arrest must be supported by an affidavit, a document as provided in RCW 9A.72.085 or any law amendatory thereto, or sworn testimony establishing the grounds for issuing the warrant. Sworn testimony shall be recorded electronically, stenographically or by any reliable method. The evidence shall be preserved. The court must determine there is probable cause to believe that the defendant has committed the crime alleged before issuing the warrant. The evidence shall be subject to constitutional limitations for probable cause determinations and may be hearsay in whole or in part.
(3) Ascertaining Defendant's Current Address. (i) Search for Address. The court shall not issue a warrant unless it determines that the complainant has attempted to ascertain the defendant's current address by searching the following: (A) the District Court Information system database (DISCIS), (B) the driver's license and identicard database maintained by the Department of Licenses; and (C) the database maintained by the Department of Corrections listing persons incarcerated and under supervision. The court in its discretion may require that other databases be searched. (ii) Exemptions from Address Search. The search required by subdivision (i) shall not be required if (A) the defendant has already appeared in court (in person or through counsel) after filing of the same case, (B) the defendant is known to be in custody, or (C) the defendant's name is unknown. (iii) Effect of Erroneous Issuance. If a warrant is erroneously issued in violation of this subsection (a)(3), that error shall not affect the validity of the warrant.
(b) Issuance of Summons in Lieu of Warrant.
(1) Generally. If a complaint is filed, the court may direct the clerk to issue a summons commanding the defendant to appear before the court at a specified time and place.
(2) When Summons Must Issue. The court shall direct the clerk to issue a summons instead of a warrant unless it finds reasonable cause to believe that the defendant (i) will not appear in response to a summons, (ii) will commit a violent offense, (iii) will interfere with witnesses or the administration of justice, or (iv) is in custody.
(3) Summons for Felony Complaint. If the complaint charges the commission of a felony, the court may direct the clerk to issue a summons instead of a warrant unless it finds reasonable cause to believe that the defendant will not appear in response to a summons, or that arrest is necessary to prevent bodily harm to the accused or another, in which case it may issue a warrant.
(4) Summons. A summons shall be in writing and in the name of the charging jurisdiction, shall be signed by the clerk with the title of that office, and shall state the date when issued. It shall state the name of the defendant and the nature of the charge, and shall summon the defendant to appear before the court at a stated time and place. The summons shall inform the defendant that failure to appear as commanded may result in the issuance of a warrant for the arrest of the accused.
(5) Failure To Appear on Summons. If a person fails to appear in response to a summons, or if delivery is not effected within a reasonable time, a warrant of arrest may issue, if the sentence for the offense charged may include confinement in jail.
(c) Requisites of a Warrant.
The warrant shall be in writing and in the name of the charging jurisdiction, shall be signed by the judge or clerk with the title of that office, and shall state the date when issued. It shall specify the name of the defendant, or if his or her name is unknown, any name or description by which he or she can be identified with reasonable certainty. The warrant shall specify the offense charged against the defendant and that the court has found that probable cause exists to believe the defendant has committed the offense charged and shall command the defendant be arrested and brought forthwith before the court issuing the warrant. If the offense is not a capital offense, the court shall set forth in the order for the warrant, bail and/or other conditions of release.
(d) Execution; Service.
(1) Execution of Warrant. The warrant shall be directed to all peace officers in the state and shall be executed only by a peace officer.
(2) Delivery of Summons. The summons may be served any place within the state. It may be served by a peace officer, who shall deliver a copy of the same to the defendant personally, or it may be delivered by the court mailing the same, postage prepaid, to the defendant at his or her last known address.
The officer executing a warrant shall make return thereof to the court before whom the defendant is brought pursuant to these rules. At the request of the prosecuting authority any unexecuted warrant shall be returned to the issuing court to be canceled. The peace officer to whom a summons has been given for service shall, on or before the return date, file a return thereof with the court before whom the summons is returnable. For reasonable cause, the court may order that the warrant be returned to it.
(f) Defective Warrant or Summons.
(1) Amendment. No person arrested under a warrant or appearing in response to a summons shall be discharged from custody or dismissed because of any irregularity in the warrant or summons, but the warrant or summons may be amended so as to remedy any irregularity.
(2) Issuance of New Warrant or Summons. If during the preliminary examination of any person arrested under a warrant or appearing in response to a summons, it appears that the warrant or summons does not properly name or describe the defendant or the offense with which he or she is charged, or that although not guilty of the offense specified in the warrant or summons, there is reasonable ground to believe that he or she will be charged with some other offense, the judge shall not discharge or dismiss the defendant but may allow a new complaint to be filed and shall thereupon issue a new warrant or summons.
(g) Failure to Issue Warrant---Dismissal.
Upon five days' notice to the prosecuting attorney, the court shall dismiss a charge without prejudice if (i) 90 days have elapsed since the citation or complaint was filed and (ii) on the date that the order of dismissal is entered, no warrant has been issued and the defendant has not appeared in court.
[Originally effective September 1, 1987; amended effective September 1, 1991; September 1, 1995; September 1, 2003; September 1, 2006; September 1, 2014.]
CrRLJ 2.3: SEARCH AND SEIZURE
(a) Authority To Issue Warrant.
A search warrant authorized by this rule may be issued by the court upon request of a peace officer or the prosecuting authority.
(b) Property or Persons Which May Be Seized With a Warrant.
A warrant may be issued under this rule to search for and seize any (1) evidence of a crime; or (2) contraband, the fruits of crime, or things otherwise criminally possessed; or (3) weapons or other things by means of which a crime has been committed or reasonably appears about to be committed; or (4) person for whose arrest there is probable cause, or who is unlawfully restrained.
(c) Issuance and Contents.
A search warrant may be issued only if the court determines there is probable cause for the issuance of a warrant. An affidavit, a document as provided in RCW 9A.72.085 or any law amendatory thereto, or sworn testimony establishing the grounds for issuing the warrant must be provided or transmitted to the court by any reliable method. Sworn testimony must be in writing, recorded, or otherwise preserved. The record shall include any additional evidence relied upon by the court. The recording, or a duplication of the recording, shall be a part of the court record and shall be provided if requested or if ordered by the court. The evidence in support of the finding of probable cause shall be preserved and shall be subject to constitutional limitations for such determinations and may be hearsay in whole or in part. If the court finds that probable cause for the issuance of a warrant exists, it shall issue a warrant or direct an individual whom it authorizes for such purposes to affix the court's signature to a warrant. The authorization of the warrant may be done through any reliable method. The warrant may be directed to any peace officer. The warrant shall command the officer to search, within a specified period of time not to exceed 10 days, the person, place or thing named for the property or person specified. The warrant shall designate the court to which it shall be returned. The warrant shall be returned to the issuing court, filed in the court record and available for public review unless ordered sealed by the court. Unless otherwise designated by the issuing court, the warrant may be served at any time of day or night.
(d) Execution and Return With Inventory.
The peace officer taking property under the warrant shall give to the person from whom or from whose premises the property is taken a copy of the warrant and a receipt for the property taken. If no such person is present, the officer may post a copy of the search warrant and receipt. The return shall be made promptly and shall be accompanied by a written inventory of any property taken. The inventory shall be made in the presence of the person from whose possession or premises the property is taken, or in the presence of at least one person other than the officer. The court shall upon request provide a copy of the inventory to the person from whom or from whose premises the property was taken and to the applicant for the warrant.
(e) Motion for Return of Property.
A person may move the issuing court for the return of the property seized under the warrant on the ground that the property was illegally seized, or does not appear relevant or reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of relevant evidence, and that the person is lawfully entitled to possession of the property. The motion shall be filed in the court which issued the warrant and a copy served upon the chief executive of the law enforcement agency that obtained the warrant. Proof of service shall be filed with the court. The prosecuting authority's assertion that property lawfully seized is relevant or reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of relevant evidence shall be binding on the court.
(1) Procedure if Charges Pending. If a motion based on the ground that property was illegally seized is made or comes on for hearing after a complaint or citation and notice is filed in the court in which the motion is pending, it shall be treated as a motion to suppress. If charges are pending in another court at the time a motion made upon any ground is filed or comes on for hearing, the motion shall be transferred to the other court and subject to its rules of procedure.
(2) Procedure if No Charges Pending. If no charges are pending in any court at the time the motion is made, the issuing court shall set the motion for hearing not less than 30 days from the date of the filing or service of the motion, whichever is later.
(3) Procedure if Motion Granted. If the motion is granted, the property shall be returned unless the prosecuting authority seeks review within 14 days.
(f) Searches of Media.
(1) Scope. If an application for a search warrant is governed by RCW 10.79.015(3) or 42 U.S.C. subsection 2000aa et seq., this section controls the procedure for obtaining the evidence.
(2) Subpoena Duces Tecum. Except as provided in subsection (3), if the court determines that the application satisfies the requirements for issuance of a warrant, as provided in section (c) of this rule, the court shall issue a subpoena duces tecum in accordance with CRLJ 45.
(3) Warrant. If the court determines that the application satisfies the requirements for issuance of a warrant and that RCW 10.79.015(3) and 42 U.S.C. § 2000aa et seq. permit issuance of a search warrant rather than a subpoena duces tecum, the court may issue a warrant.
(g) Motion for Suppression.
Absent prejudice to the defendant, procedural noncompliance with rules of execution and return does not compel invalidation of a warrant or suppression of its fruits.
COMMENT: CrRLJ 2.3 was adopted in 1987. The technology utilized by the courts, law enforcement and attorneys for transmitting and preserving documents and recorded testimony has significantly evolved. Telephone, facsimile, electronic mail and digital recording methods are widely used. Statute and court rule allow for the use of digital signatures. The rule continues to require that the court receive the sworn evidence from the prosecuting authority or police officer and issue the warrant through any reliable method that preserves the evidence and the warrant. Because technology continues to evolve, the various methods of transmitting the sworn evidence and issuing the warrant are not specified in the rule. General Rule 31, Access to Court Records, sets forth the provisions for public review of court records. [Originally effective September 1, 1987; amended effective September 1, 1995; September 1, 1997; September 1, 2014.]
CrRLJ 2.4: COMPLAINT--CITATION AND NOTICE-- SUFFICIENCIES
The complaint shall not be deemed insufficient for lack of formal caption or commencement or a formal conclusion, or any other matter not necessary to a plain, concise and definite statement of the essential facts constituting the specific offense or offenses with which the defendant is charged, nor for lack of any other matter not necessary to such statement, nor need it negative any exception, excuse or proviso contained in any statute creating or defining the offense charged.
(c) Copy of Complaint or Citation and Notice.
When a complaint or a citation and notice has been lost or destroyed, a copy or substitute thereof, certified by the court, may replace the original, and the case shall proceed without delay from that cause.
The court on motion of a party may strike surplusage from the complaint or the citation and notice.
(e) Bill of Particulars.
The court may direct the filing of a bill of particulars. A motion for a bill of particulars may be made before arraignment or within 10 days after arraignment or an appearance by a defendants lawyer pursuant to rule 4.1(d), or at such later time as the court may permit.
The court may permit a complaint, a citation and notice, or a bill of particulars to be amended at any time before verdict or finding if substantial rights of the defendant are not prejudiced.
CrRLJ 2.5: PROCEDURE ON FAILURE TO OBEY CITATION AND NOTICE
The court may order the issuance of a bench warrant for the arrest of any defendant who has failed to appear before the court, either in person or by a lawyer, in answer to a citation and notice, or an order of the court, upon which the defendant has promised in writing to appear, or of which the defendant has been served with otherwise received notice to appear, if the sentence for the offense charged may include confinement in jail.
[Amended effective September 1, 1991; November 21, 2006.]