Every municipal court has its own local rules and “culture” when it comes to criminal cases. And, depending on the elected officials, court staff, and the experience of the deputy prosecutor, it can have a big impact on the outcome of a DUI or any other misdemeanor case.
In our opinion, Port Orchard Municipal is one of our favorites in terms of efficiency, consistency, and professionalism. There can be challenges when there is staff rotation and a new deputy prosecutor fills the role (those who are right out of law school) due to a lack of experience and perspective but, overall, this court runs very well.
Port Orchard Municipal Court vs. Kitsap County District Court
It is important to differentiate the two courts that are located in Port Orchard. They are less than a mile apart but one is a county court and the other operates for the City of Port Orchard. If the crime occurred (or infraction violation) within the city limits of Port Orchard, your case should be filed and heard at the Port Orchard Municipal Court. However, there are a few exceptions to this and, of course, if your criminal charge is a felony, it will be heard in Kitsap County Superior Court regardless of whether the event was within the Port Orchard city limits.
Both the Kitsap County District Court and Port Orchard Municipal Court will hear misdemeanor and gross misdemeanor criminal cases as well as non-criminal traffic infractions and parking tickets, so it can be confusing to know where you should appear for your court date. It is critical to look at your summons or charging document, which should reference the court where it was filed. If you do not have one of those documents, you can always call the court clerks office in both courts to confirm where your case is being heard. If you hire a private counsel, your attorney will know which court has jurisdiction.
The nice thing about the Port Orchard Municipal judge is that he brings a tremendous amount of experience to the bench. He was a prosecutor for two decades and was doing private criminal defense for a several years prior to being appointed judge. Sometimes, when a judge has only previously worked as a prosecutor (very common in Kitsap County), the rulings can feel skewed in favor of the prosecutor. When a judge has more civil experience or, better yet, has experience in criminal defense, there tends to be a more balanced approach to ruling on motions and critically analyzing probable cause.
The other benefit to Judge Drury is that he moves very quickly. He assumes all of the defense attorneys who appear in his courtroom are experienced and can present their cases efficiently. If you hire a defense attorney who is less experienced in local criminal defense, be prepared for the judge to get frustrated. For us, we love the fast pace because it allows the cases to be resolved quickly and our clients don’t have to sit in court (zoom is an option) or take much time away from work.
If you have a DUI or other misdemeanor case in Port Orchard Municipal Court, feel free to reach out to our attorneys 7 days a week. (360) 792-1000