Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

AGO 1988 NO. 9 >

1.  !ih*If a city or town police officer arrests a person for a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor violation of state law within the city or town limits and delivers that person to county authorities for prosecution, the county has no authority to charge the city or town for booking, jailing, or prosecution of the person, unless the city or town has agreed by contract to assume some of those costs.2.  The Court Improvement Act of 1984 (Laws of 1984, Chapter 258) does not require cities and towns to agree to reimburse counties for costs of booking, jailing, or prosecution where the city or town chooses to charge persons for violations of state law, even where the city or town could have chosen to prosecute for parallel violations of city or town ordinance.3.  Where a city or town has repealed a portion of its municipal code, defining a crime or crimes equivalent to offenses listed in RCW 46.63.020, but has not reached agreement with the county for apportionment of costs associated with those offenses, the county may not unilaterally assess costs against the city or town.  The county may bring court action to force the city or town to meet its obligations under the Court Improvement Act of 1984 (Laws of 1984, Chapter 258), and may be entitled in appropriate cases to recoup portions of costs incurred since the effective date of the Act.