Justice Court Contact Info
Elizabeth K. Shequine
Monday - Friday
10 Reservoir Dr.
Court is held every Tuesday, excluding the 1st Tuesday of the month, beginning at 5:00 PM.
Special Prosecutor for all Traffic Cases – 2nd Tuesday
District Attorney & Public Defender – 4th Tuesday
The Court handles all cases within the Town of Washington and the Village of Millbrook.
Acceptable Payments: Cash, Money Order or Credit Card (additional fee applies)
The Court Clerk may answer questions about court procedures but cannot give legal advice.
The court is created under and governed by the Unified Justice Court Act.
The Town of Washington Court hears formal civil cases when either the Plaintiff or the Defendant resides in, is employed in or has a place of business within the Town.
Defendants are not guaranteed legal representation in civil court as they are in criminal court but may retain legal representation. People with low income may wish to contact Legal Services of the Hudson Valley which is funded, in part, by the US Department of Health and Human Service, the New York State Office for the Aging, and Dutchess County.
VEHICLE AND TRAFFIC COURT
Cases charging the commission of a traffic infraction within the town limits are filed in the Town of Washington Justice Court. Information regarding how to proceed with a traffic ticket may be found on the back of the ticket issued to the motorist. If the motorist responds by pleading not guilty, the Court Clerk will schedule a hearing. The Court conducts non-jury or bench trials for violations, offenses and vehicle and traffic cases. If the motorist pleads guilty by mail, a fine letter will be issued that instructs the defendant on procedure and amount of payment. Under certain circumstances, a defendant may be found guilty and be issued a sentence which may include attendance to the Alive at 25 program or may be sentenced to attend a defensive driving program which can be taken in class or online.
SMALL CLAIMS COURT
The Court hears small claims cases up to a maximum amount of $3000 when the Defendant resides in, is employed in, or has a place of business within the Town. Individuals and sole proprietors of businesses may bring a suit against an individual, corporation, partnership, association or assignee in Small Claims Court by filing a claim with the Court. There is a filing fee of $10 for claims up to $1000 and $15 for claims up to $3000. You may not file a claim in Small Claims Court for over $3000. Small Claims Court is intended to provide a simple, informal and inexpensive procedure for prompt determination of small claims.
LANDLORD / TENANT COURT
The Court hears Summary Proceedings/Evictions when the property and the Respondent are located within the Town. These proceedings include non payment of rent or holdover evictions. Plaintiffs may claim the full amount in dispute as there is no limit on the amount of the claim for which the Court has civil jurisdiction in such cases. The Court hears both residential and commercial landlord/tenant cases. There is a $20 filing fee, and a transcript of judgement is $2.
The Town of Washington Court hears criminal cases originating within the Town and has full jurisdiction for non-felony cases (misdemeanors and violations) to accept guilty pleas or hold trials. On felony charges, the court conducts the arraignment and preliminary inquiry and may set bail or hold without bail. If the charges are not reduced to misdemeanors, the Town Court transfers them to Dutchess County Court for final disposition. The Town Court may not accept pleas in felony cases.
Defendants have the right to legal counsel and to choose a jury trial or non-jury trial for misdemeanor cases. The Dutchess County Public Defender’s Office provides legal services to criminal defendants who have been determined to be indigent.
CIVIL MARRIAGE CEREMONY
A Town Justice may perform civil marriage ceremonies. To schedule a marriage ceremony, contact the Justice Court Clerk at 677-6366.