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AGO 1953 No. 496 - March 17, 1953
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Don Eastvold | 1953-1956 | Attorney General of Washington


An appearance fee may be charged against the defendant in a criminal case as part of the court costs.

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                                                                  March 17, 1953 

Honorable Tom A. Durham
Prosecuting Attorney
Whatcom County
Bellingham, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 51-53 No. 496

 Dear Sir:

             Receipt of your letter of March 12, 1953, is hereby acknowledged.  The question presented is whether or not an appearance fee may be charged against a defendant in a criminal case as part of the court costs.

             It is our opinion that it may.


             RCW 10.64.010 provides:

             "After verdict of guilty or finding of the court against the defendant, if the judgment is not arrested or a new trial granted, the court must pronounce judgment.  The defendant shall be liable for all costs unless the court finds otherwise."  (Emphasis supplied)

             RCW 36.18.020 sets forth the particular charges which the clerk is authorized to assess.  Among them is the $3.00 fee for appearance of defendants.  In the case ofState v. Armstrong, 29 Wash. 57, cited inKing County v. Seattle, 195 Wash. 293, the court held that the clerk's fee schedule applied to criminal as well as civil actions.  In an opinion of this office to the prosecuting attorney of  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] Mason county dated July 11, 1945, (a copy of which is attached) the question of charging costs, including clerk's fees, against defendants in criminal actions was thoroughly discussed and it was indicated that criminal defendants were liable for all such costs.

             On the basis of the authorities indicated above, we conclude that it is proper to charge an appearance fee against a defendant in a criminal case as part of the court costs.

 Very truly yours,
Attorney General

Assistant Attorney General

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