Cases Heard by the Tacoma Municipal Court
The Municipal Court hears cases involving alleged violations of City of Tacoma ordinances including, but not limited to:
- Criminal charges (domestic violence offenses, assault, theft, drug offenses, etc.)
- Criminal traffic offenses (driving under the influence, physical control, reckless driving, etc.)
- Traffic and parking infractions
The Municipal Court does not hear small claims or civil cases. These cases are heard by the Pierce County District Court located on the sixth floor of the County-City Building.
The Municipal Court does not hear requests for protection orders. These cases are heard by the Pierce County Superior Court's Domestic Violence Office located on the first floor of the County-City Building.
The Municipal Court does not hear divorce or child custody cases. These cases are heard by the Pierce County Superior Court located in the County-City Building.
Victims and witnesses may be subpoenaed to appear in court to testify. In some cases the Judge may order the defendant to pay restitution for damages. Victims seeking restitution must submit documentation (bills and/or repair estimates) regarding damages to the Assistant City Attorney's office located on the second floor of the County-City Building, Room 440, or bring them to court on the defendant's scheduled hearing date. Failure to seek restitution in the criminal proceeding does not preclude a victim from pursuing civil remedies.
Cash Bail/Bail Bonds
Cash bail or a bail bond may be required to be posted before a person can be released from jail pending the disposition of their case. To obtain a bail bond, a person must contact a bail bond company. If the bail is set as cash only, the person must post the cash amount set. Cash bail or a bail bond are generally maintained until the conclusion of the defendant's case. A person posting cash bail may request that the cash bail be returned at any of the defendant's scheduled court hearings. Depending on the circumstances, the Judge may or may not exonerate or return the cash bail.
Fines and court costs assessed by the court are due and payable at the time of the court hearing. Payment arrangements are available and can be made with the approval of the Judge. Approval may be granted to pay the fines and costs over a period of time (a deferred payment plan), by community service, or on the City of Tacoma work crew. When fines and costs are not paid, the court can take one or more of the following actions depending on the type of charges involved:
- send the case to a collection agency;
- order a warrant for the defendant's' arrest; and/or
- notify the Department of Licensing, who in turn may suspend the defendant's driver's license or prevent the renewal of the defendant's vehicle registration.
Learn more about options for making payments
Foreign language interpreters are available for non-English speaking defendants during court hearings. Sign interpreters are available for court proceedings for hearing impaired defendants. Requests for an interpreter may be made by contacting the court prior to the court hearing.
Individuals With Disabilities
All court facilities are accessible to individuals with disabilities. Amplified hearing devices are available for the hearing impaired.
For information concerning wedding ceremonies performed by Tacoma Municipal Court Judges, please call (253) 591-5357 and select option three.