Frequently Asked Questions
- How do I report a crime?
- I am a victim of a crime. Do I have any rights?
- Will I have to testify?
- Can I drop the charges?
- I have bills as a result of this crime. How can I get them paid?
- When will I receive my restitution?
- I have been threatened or contacted by the defendant. What can I do?
- An attorney or investigator has been contacting me about the case. Do I have to talk to them?
- Can someone attend the interview with me?
- How can I be notified if the defendant is released from jail?
- How do I know when and where to go to court?
1. How do I report a crime?
All crime reports should be made to the law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction over the city or county area where the crime occurred. For example, if your house was burglarized in the city limits of Port Angeles, then the Port Angeles Police Department has jurisdiction. If your house is outside city limits in the unincorporated areas of Clallam County, then the Clallam County Sheriff's office has jurisdiction.
For emergency calls where the crime is in progress, call 911.
To report a non-emergent crime that has already occurred, please call the law enforcement agency where the crime occurred. If not known, then call 360-417-2459.
2. I am a victim of a crime. Do I have any rights?
Yes. You have a number of rights as a victim of a crime. Please see the Crime Victims Bill of Rights if you are a victim, or the Child Victims Bill of Rights, if your minor child is a victim.
3. Will I have to testify?
If you are a victim or a witness of a crime, then you may have to testify in court. However, many cases resolve without actually going to trial. If this happens, you will not be required to testify, as there will not be a trial. If you have concerns about testifying, contact the victim/witness coordinator in our office at 360-417-2587.
4. Can I drop the charges?
No. The State of Washington has charged the defendant with a crime, not you. As you have not charged the crime, you cannot drop the charges. Reporting a crime is not the same as charging a crime. You are always free to inform the deputy prosecutor handling the case of your wishes however.
5. I have bills as a result of this crime. How can I get them paid?
If you have medical bills or funeral expenses resulting from a crime, Crime Victim's Compensation may cover expenses not covered by your insurance company, including deductibles and copays. Generally speaking, you are responsible to pay most other bills. If a defendant is found guilty, he or she could be ordered to pay restitution to you and/or your insurance company. In order to have restitution ordered, you must provide the the Prosecuting Attorney's office with a summary and receipts for your losses. You can always contact the victim/witness coordinator in our office at 360-417-2587 for more information as to restitution.
6. When will I receive my restitution?
Restitution is not guaranteed, nor can we guarantee the amount you will receive and/or the time in which you will receive it. It is very unlikely that you will receive a lump-sum payment for your restitution. Defendants ordered to pay restitution have up to 10 years to pay.
7. I have been threatened or contacted by the defendant. What can I do?
It is essential that you report any contact from a defendant or his or her family/friends to law enforcement and/or the prosecutor's office immediately as this may be a violation of a protection order, conditions on release pending trial or other court order. This may be a violation. If you have evidence of the contact, such as voicemail, caller ID, a letter, or e-mail, save the evidence until law enforcement and/or the prosecutor's office says to do otherwise. If you have not already done so, then you may wish to obtain a protection order. The victim/witness coordinator can also assist you devising a safety plan.
8. An attorney or investigator has been contacting me about the case. Do I have to talk to them?
If an attorney or investigator is contacting you, then they most likely work for the defense. You have the right to speak with them or to decline to speak with them. If you would like us to coordinate an interview, then contact our office at 360-417-2587. You never have to speak with someone simply because they show up at your home/work or call you. Victims and witnesses often feel pressured to talk immediately, but you get to decide when and where an interview may take place, and we can help with that.
9. Can someone attend the interview with me?
Yes. You have the right to have someone of your choosing (generally an advocate, friend, or someone from the prosecutor's office) attend interviews with you, as long as there is not a conflict. An example of a conflict would be that the person you wish to attend the interview is also a witness in the case. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that whoever attends the interview with you may become a witness at trial. If you have someone in mind that you want to attend trial with you, then it is best NOT to have that person attend the interview with you as well.
10. How can I be notified if the defendant is released from jail?
There are two methods. The first and best is to register through the Washington Statewide Victim Information and Notification Service. You can register online or by phone. To register online, go to www.vinelink.com and click on Washington State. Follow the directions. To register by phone, call 1-877-846-3492.
The other method is to contact the Clallam County Prosecutor's office and request to speak to the victim/witness coordinator, and they can notify the jail on your behalf.
You will not be notified unless you register through one of these methods. There is no automatic notification unless you register.
11. How do I know when and where to go to court?
If you are a witness to a crime and you must appear at trial, then you will receive a subpoena from the Clallam County Prosecuting Attorney or another attorney in the case. The subpoena should state where and when you must appear.
When you are subpoenaed for a Superior Court trial, you can check our website for the trials that will be occurring during the upcoming week, or call our Superior Court Subpoena hotline at 360-565-2665. This will give you a complete listing of trials that will be coming up for the week, trials that were previously set for the upcoming week but have been continued, and trials that were previously set for the upcoming week but defendants that have recently plead.
When you are subpoenaed for a District Court trial, you can check the day before trial by calling 360-417-2368 after 5pm, to see if the trial has been continued, or has been resolved.
When you are subpoenaed for a Juvenile Court trial, you can check the day before trial by calling 360-417-2509 after 5pm, to see if the trial has been continued, or has been resolved.
You are normally subpoenaed to appear at the Clallam County Superior Court. Questions about subpoenas can be answered during regular business hours, 8:00AM - 4:30PM, Monday - Friday, by calling our office: 360-417-2301.