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Seattle Municipal Court requires remote hearings for most out-of-custody criminal and infraction cases

Seattle Municipal Court (SMC) is requiring remote hearings for most out-of-custody criminal cases and infraction hearings, effective Wednesday, December 16, 2020, until further order of the court. People with criminal or contested infraction hearings will attend their hearing by video or by phone. Non-contested infraction hearings will continue to be held through written statement.

“For everyone’s safety, I am requesting that all court clients conduct their business online or by video/phone, due to the high number of COVID-19 cases in Seattle and King County,” said Presiding Judge Willie Gregory. “Offering remote hearings and temporarily suspending in-person out-of-custody appearances will allow more people to stay home and help slow the spread of the virus.”

Virtual courtrooms can be accessed on the court’s website. Seattle Municipal Court has offered remote hearings using WebEx video/telephone conferencing since November 2020.

Parking and infraction ticket mitigation hearings are being held by written statement. Contested hearings are now offered by video, phone, or written statement. If you would like to request a hearing, please call (206) 684-5600, Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.- 4:30 p.m., or follow the instructions on the back of your ticket. A notice of hearing will be mailed to you and will include instructions for how to submit your written statement or participate by phone or video.

Seattle Municipal Court is not charging late fees for tickets or referring tickets to collections at this time. Tickets can be paid online or by calling (206) 233-7000. SMC has suspended the $3.60 transaction fee for telephone and online payments.

The Community Resource Center located on the second floor of the courthouse will be closed until further order of the court, though clients may still access services virtually. Community service work crew activities will also be suspended. No weddings will be scheduled at the court during this time.

Anyone who visits the Seattle Municipal Courthouse to attend their hearing in-person will be given information on how to attend by video or by phone instead, and their hearing will be rescheduled if necessary. For court participants who do not have access to technology to appear by phone or video, the court will provide access through a limited-occupancy computer lab.

Find more information on SMC’s modified operations during COVID-19 and how to conduct court business remotely here.