District and Municipal Court Division

The District and Municipal Court Division prosecutes misdemeanor and gross misdemeanor crimes, which are defined by law as cases that are punishable by a year or less in custody. The division handles pre-charging review, charging and disposition, trials, and appeals for these crimes as well as appearing for contested infractions. The District Court’s jurisdiction includes all of Kitsap County and the division also prosecutes cases on behalf of the cities of Bainbridge Island and Port Orchard.

The District and Municipal Court Division is supervised by Chief Deputy Prosecutor Justin Zaug. The division receives all gross misdemeanor and misdemeanor referrals made by the Kitsap County Sheriff ’s Office, the Suquamish Police Department (for non-tribal-member suspects), the Port Orchard Police Department and the Bainbridge Island Police Department, as well as any felony DUI referrals that occur in any Kitsap County law enforcement jurisdiction, including municipalities. The deputy prosecuting attorneys review each referral and (1) charge a crime or crimes based on the information in the referred police reports, (2) request additional investigation, or (3) decline to prosecute if the facts do not support criminal charges. Once a referral is charged and filed in the appropriate court, this division handles the criminal prosecution until there is a final disposition such as a guilty plea or trial with a jury verdict.

Most new criminal deputy prosecutors begin their legal career in the District and Municipal Court Division. The supervisors of this division devote a great deal of time closely supervising the new prosecutors on everything from caseload management to trial skills. There are many things to learn as a new attorney, from simple file flow and office standards to the nuances of domestic violence and victim’s rights. The supervisors work closely with the attorneys every step of the way through weekly meetings to discuss difficult cases or to conduct training.

DUI prosecution continues to be a priority for the division. DUI law is complex, constantly evolving and aggressively litigated by defense attorneys. To ensure our approach to DUI prosecution is always up-to-date, well-informed and comprehensive, we assign one experienced deputy prosecutor the primary responsibility of DUI litigation, which also includes prosecuting felony DUI offenders in Superior Court. The DUI deputy prosecutor has the time resources to focus exclusively on tracking changes to DUI law, educating law enforcement on these changes and identifying, and prioritizing prosecution of repeat DUI offenders.

Finally, while prosecuting repeat DUI offenders is a priority for this office, the courts in the District and Municipal Court Division are considered rehabilitation courts and there is much attention and thought given to what is best for the community vis-a-vis the defendant. A case disposition may require the defendant to undergo and successfully complete alcohol or chemical dependency treatment, victim impact panel, defensive driving classes, domestic violent treatment, etc. Because many of the crimes involve suspended driving privileges, defendants are often given an opportunity to clear up their licensing issues and become fully insured, licensed drivers, which is a benefit to them and to the community.