Seattle Municipal Court Hon. Karen Donohue, Presiding

Probations Service Division

Select your probation unit:

The Probation Services Division is committed to protecting the public interest and safety by reducing the incidence and impact of crime by probationers. The role is accomplished by:

  • Assisting the courts in decision making through the probation report and in the enforcement of court orders.
  • Providing services and programs that afford opportunities for offenders to change behavior.
  • Brokering community referrals for a broad range of therapeutic intervention programs including substance abuse, mental health, domestic violence, homelessness and unemployment.

For hours, locations and contacts for the various units, click here, or on the unit header.


Locations    Hours    Contacts

    Domestic Violence Probation

Locations    Hours    Contacts

    Seattle Veterans Treatment Court Probation

Locations    Hours    Contacts

Probation Judge: The Honorable Karen Donohue has been assigned by the Judiciary as the Probation Services mentor Judge.

Probation Director: Betty McNeely

Front Desk

The Administrative staff provides customer service to the public, defendants, and the court staff. The Administrative staff covers the reception desk, process defendant files, and ensures that court documents make it to their identified location. They are a vital part of the probation process.

Be a Probation volunteer. Visit our volunteer opportunities page.


Our probation staff is part of the Domestic Violence Team.

Click here for location, hours of operation and forms for Domestic Violence Court.

The Domestic Violence Unit in Seattle Municipal Court Probation Services supervises individuals who have been charged and sentenced to domestic violence and/or child abuse offenses in the City of Seattle. Probation Counselors assigned to this unit use a balanced, accountability and rehabilitation centered approach designed to aid victims of domestic violence and hold offenders accountable for their violent behaviors with the assistance of the justice system and community-based social service agencies.


On September 20, 2010, Seattle Municipal Court launched the State's fifth veteran's court program. The intent of a Veterans Court is to balance the needs of veterans for treatment as a result of substance abuse and/or mental health disorders with the need to safely protect the surrounding community. The goal is to provide non-violent offenders with effective treatment and, at the same time, hold people accountable for their actions. The court is a partnership between the Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington State Department of Affairs, the city of Seattle prosecutor's office and criminal defense agencies. VTC probation will consist of a monitored a long term therapeutic treatment program addressing the mental health and/or substance abuse issues of the veteran defendant. Through the support of the structured court, the City expects to see a reduction in recidivism and an increase in services obtained through the VA and community based providers.

Our probation staff is part of the Veterans Court Team, click here to contact them

Click here for location, hours of operation and forms for The Seattle Veterans Treatment Court.

Probation Services Unit

Locations    Hours    Contacts

    Community Service Monitoring

Locations    Hours    Contacts

    Day Reporting

Locations    Hours    Contacts


The Seattle Municipal Court Probation unit is the largest in the state of Washington. We monitor non-domestic violence (DV) cases such as DUI, Theft, Non DV Assault, Property Destruction, MIP etc. The probation officers have extensive experience dealing with drug addiction, mental illness and other disorders. We strive to decrease recidivism and ensure community safety by helping defendants utilize services/programs in the community to better their lives.
The Seattle Municipal Court and Probation have created numerous programs to assist defendants in the community: GED program, resume assistance, Theft awareness class etc. SMC also has a Court Resource Center available to defendants and to the public and offers information on housing, DSHS benefits, alcohol and drug treatment and many other services. There are numerous volunteers that assistant defendants to fill out housing applications, find shelter, sober support meetings etc.

Pre-Trial Diversion

Contact us via email
The Pre-trial Diversion Program (PDP) is a program offered at the discretion of the Seattle City Attorney's Office. It may be offered to defendants without significant prior criminal records who have been charged with certain offenses. The program requires a defendant to complete a specific set of requirements, and upon successful completion the defendant's charges will be dismissed. Depending on the circumstances of a given case, in addition to paying court, clerk, program fees, defendants must meet additional obligations. Defendants may be required to do community service and pay restitution where appropriate.


The Community Service Program is designed to provide a way for defendants to repay either infraction or criminal financial obligations to the community through service rather than financial payment. For defendants, this provides an alternative means of repaying financial debt. For the Court, the goal of offering the program is twofold: first, to provide a service to the public and second, to avoid uncollectible debt. Community Service is also used to hold defendants accountable for violating criminal laws as an alternative to jail.

Community service sites are selected by the SMC Community Service Coordinator, based on whether an agency is safe, legitimately serves the community, and provides appropriate supervision. The agency worksites should be a non profit and tax exempt charitable organization (501c.3). Among other selection criteria, the agency does not supplant paid workers and agrees to consider referrals from SMC without regard to race, color, gender sexual orientation, religion, national origin, creed, marital status, age, or presence of sensory or mental disability.

The Community Service Program is a key part of SMC's efforts at restorative justice.


Day Reporting has two components: pre-adjudication and post conviction.

Pre-sentence Day Reporting is an alternative to confinement for persons who do not have the money to post bail or for persons who have had a poor history of court compliance.
A goal of the Pre-sentence Day Reporting is to reduce jail costs. Judges allow defendants - pending their court date - to report daily to the day reporting program until their court date or until their court ordered obligation is complete. While on day reporting, client's needs are assessed. They can be referred to services such as DSHS for food, medical care, and chemical dependency treatment. Additionally, day reporting clients are referred to our Resource Center for housing referrals, GED program resume preparation, and court ordered classes.

Post conviction Day Reporting is focused on those that have been convicted. The program works closely with the probation counselor to bring about positive change. This is achieved through a combination of accountability measures while working with the defendant to acquire services.
One of the primary goals of day reporting is to stabilize the defendant by providing assistance with substance abuse; mental health; and housing. Our courts have used the program as a sanction for non compliance: drug and alcohol use; failure to participate in treatment; and failure to perform community service. The program is also used to monitor behavior pending placement in substance abuse treatment and mental health treatment.

Community Court Probation

Locations    Hours    Contacts

    Mental Health Court Probation

Locations    Hours    Contacts

    Electronic Home Monitoring

Locations    Hours    Contacts

"A nontraditional approach to address traditional problems"

Seattle Community Court serves "chronic public system users" - offenders who repeatedly commit low-level crimes, fail to comply with sanctions, fail to appear for Court, and use jail days when they could more effectively be rehabilitated through alternative strategies.

Our probation staff is part of the Community Court Team.
Click here for location, hours of operation and forms for Seattle Community Court.


The Mental Health Court (MHC) is a dedicated court, with an assigned presiding judge, mental health professional and probation staff with mental health expertise, prosecutor and public defender.

Our probation staff is part of the Mental Health Court Team, to contact them, click here.

Click here for location, hours of operation and forms for Seattle Mental Health Court.


Sentinel contracts with the court to provide Electronic Home Monitoring. Electronic Home Monitoring is part of the Court's Alternatives to Confinement project that provides graduated sentencing options. The program supervises an individual's confinement to their home unless they are allowed to participate in Court authorized activities.

Probation Forms

Selected probation forms

    Work Crew

Locations    Hours    Contacts

    Probation Volunter Coordination

Locations    Hours    Contacts


Work Crew is an alternative to confinement program that has been cleaning Seattle streets since 1995. The program may vary from general litter clean up to the cleaning of illegal dumping sites. The work crew has been a part of many City beautification projects.
Work Crew allows the defendant to pay back the community through physical labor in a structured environment in partnership with the State of Washington Department of Corrections.
Defendants are ordered to perform a specified number of days on Work Crew by the Judge. The Work Crew operates 7 days a week (7:30am - 3:30pm), and defendants receive 8 hours credit for each day worked.

    Probation Services has operated a Volunteer/Intern program for over 20 years. The program not only works with many schools and programs, but also with private citizens who are interested in giving back to the community through public service. Volunteers/interns have a wide range of experience and are placed in positions around the Court that match their skill sets Typically, the program ask that volunteers/interns commit to a minimum of six months of service, although many stay longer.

Link to volunteer opporuinities page

Public Defense Screening

Locations    Hours    Contacts

    Jail Services

Locations    Hours    Contacts


Additional Probation Services Division Information

Public Defense Services (Chapter 10.101 RCW)

Persons charged with a criminal, jailable offense may be eligible for a public defender at the publics expense, if they qualify financially. Click here for additional information.
Seattle Municipal Court Judges are provided a defendant's financial status so it can be determined if a defendant can or cannot afford their own attorney. If they are found indigent and cannot afford their own attorney they will have benefit of a public defender attorney at public expense. If they are not indigent they will have to hire their own private attorney at their own expense.

Financial Screening

Some defendants are referred for indigency/financial screening by Financial Compliance (Revenue Recovery) or for a more in depth financial screening by a Judge.


PR - Personal Recognizance Screening in the King County Jail at Booking.

PR release is designed with the philosophy that people will return to court based on their promise to do so, without posting bail or bond. In courts of limited jurisdiction such as SMC, there is a presumption of release. The screener determines which in jail persons are most likely to return by using interviews, probable cause statements, a points assessment, background investigations, PR guidelines and history of previous compliance. Other concerns regarding the PR release are the danger to others, or self, if released.

Public defense Screening

To see if a defendant qualifies for public defense services PR Screeners interview in jail defendants and out of custody defendants by phone to see if a defendant qualifies for the use of a Public Defender in a SMC criminal case at the public's expense.


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Municipal Court of Seattle, 600 Fifth Avenue, Seattle, WA 98104-1900    Directions to the Court
Hours: M-F 8-5    Court Contact: (206) 684-5600 or Customer Service