The Criminal Division is responsible for processing higher level and/or court-required criminal and traffic charges which occur within Washington County.
Criminal charging documents may be in the form of a citation (after which a Notice with a court date is mailed to the defendant at the address noted on the citation) or a formal complaint (which is served upon the defendant by a peace officer).
Criminal and traffic cases are scheduled for court at the Washington County Courthouse in Stillwater, with office hours of Monday through Friday 8:00-4:30. Questions regarding your court appearance can be addressed by calling (651) 413-8133.
Examples of court-required charges
Hit and Run; Underage Drink and Drive; Theft; charges involving an accident or endangering life or property (will be indicated on citation).
Your first appearance in court
A first appearance is where you enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. If you plead not guilty, a pretrial or court trial is scheduled. If you enter a plea of guilty, you will be sentenced at that time. The court encourages you to resolve the matter at the first appearance, when the city or county attorney is present to discuss the facts of the case. The Washington County Criminal Defense Panel Program offers representation on cases at misdemeanor level or higher - call (651) 748-9373 for more information.
This is a large volume court hearing, and you can expect to be at the court for several hours.
If you are assessed a fine, you are expected to pay it before leaving or arrange a payment plan.
If the charge is alcohol- or assault-related, you may be required to be assessed by the Corrections Department.
You have a right to an attorney
If you are not comfortable representing yourself in court, you may want to consider hiring an attorney. An attorney is your representative in court. No one else you will see in the courtroom is rightfully entitled or obligated to protect your rights. If you don't think you can afford an attorney, but feel that you need one, you can ask the Court to appoint an attorney to represent you
. You may request the Application Form when you check in for court, complete the form while waiting, and submit it to the Clerk prior to the start of court, or the Judge when your case is called. You will be assessed a co-pay of $75.00 if you qualify for the services.
Failure to Appear Notice
If you fail to pay your fine or appear for the court date, additional penalties may be added. Extended delays may cause a warrant to be issued for your arrest or suspension of your driver's license.
A person charged with a misdemeanor who intentionally fails to appear in court for trial on the charge after having been notified that a failure to appear for court appearance is a criminal offense is guilty of a misdemeanor and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than 90 days or payment of a fine of not more than $1000, or both. Minn. Stat. § 609.49, subdivision 2.
All fines are due on the day they are imposed in court.
If you need reasonable accommodations, an interpreter, or other assistance, call (651) 413-8030 option #1.