BENEFITS OF THE LFO PROGRAM
- Collection of restitution due to victims.
- Collection of monies ordered that benefit other programs (i.e., crime victims, drug fund, and court costs).
- Improved compliance of payment and other terms of sentences, thereby improving chances for successful re-entry.
Defendants - Frequently Asked Questions
- Restitution are those costs imposed by the court to compensate victims who were either injured and/or suffered loss of or damage to property as a result of the offense.
- Non-restitution LFOs are the fees and fines ordered by the court. The most common fees and fines are Victim Penalty Assessment and the DNA database fees. Other elements may consist of things like court costs, costs of defense or jury fees.
- Interest accrues on restitution from the date of the judgment and during the entire period of incarceration, or until the principal is paid in full. The current rate is 12% annually.
You can pay in-person with cash, money order or cashier’s check. No personal checks. Make the money order or cashier’s check payable to: “King County Clerk.” To pay in person, come to one of the Clerk's Office Locations (directions here) Monday through Friday, 9:00 to 4:30.
You can pay by mail with money order or cashier’s check only. Personal checks are not accepted. Make the money order or cashier’s check payable to: “King County Clerk”
On the front of the money order or cashier’s check, print:
- Your Name as it appears on the court order
- Each case number that you are making a payment on
- The $ amount you are paying next to each case number
If you would like a receipt mailed to you, send a self-addressed and stamped envelope with your payment.
Mail payment to:
King County Superior Court Clerk
516 3rd. Ave, Room E-609
Seattle, WA 98104
Send an email to LFOColl@kingcounty.gov with your updated address. Please include your case number in the email.
Contact the LFO Collections Service staff to see if we have your current address. You are responsible for making monthly payments and will need to remember to make them even if you do not receive a statement. Statements will be mailed every three months to your last known address.
You may have been ordered to pay restitution at a hearing post-conviction. Restitution accrues interest at the rate of 12% per annum, beginning from the date of judgment until the principal amount is paid in full. An appellate Court may have added costs in a mandate.
Generally, all co-defendants together are responsible for the total amount of restitution owed until paid in full.
If your payment amount is not set by the court, please reach out to us to discuss your options. The court wants to see consistent monthly payments. Please be prepared to complete a Financial Declaration form and return it with the required supporting documentation. Keep in mind that in order to see your outstanding LFO amount decrease, your monthly payments will need to be more than your monthly interest accrual.
If it is determined that an overpayment was made, a refund check will be issued and mailed to your address on file.
You will need to compare your payments with the court's payment history and provide evidence that your account is in error. Examples of "evidence" are court receipts or a copy of the front and back of a cancelled money order or cashier's check.
In Person: Come to the Clerk's Office in the King County Courthouse, 516 Third Ave, Room E-609, Seattle. Go to the Accounting counter and request a payment history. The cost is 50 cents per page (cash or check only).
By Mail: Include the following information when requesting a payment history: 1) Case Number, 2) Name and Address, 3) a $10.00 deposit fee, per case number, and 4) a self-addressed stamped envelope with sufficient postage. Send the request to: King County Clerk's Office, Attn: Accounting, 516 Third Ave, E-609, Seattle, WA 98104
Fees: A deposit of $10.00 is required for each case number. Only checks that include the name and address of the payer imprinted on the check, will be accepted. If the total payment history cost is less than $10.00, the excess will be refunded to you within two weeks.
Victims - Frequently Asked Questions
Department of Corrections (DOC) may be responsible for monitoring the legal financial obligations (LFOs) while the defendant is under DOC supervision or in DOC custody (prison). If funds are deposited into the Trust Account of the defendant who owes LFOs while in DOC custody, DOC usually deducts 55% of the deposit for payment of their LFOs among other fines.
After the defendant is released from supervision and/or custody the Clerk's Office is responsible for collection.
No, the defendant makes restitution payments directly to the Clerk's Office. The Clerk's Office will then issue and mail a check to the victim. The process may take several weeks.
Although restitution may be part of a court ordered sentence or disposition, victims are not guaranteed payment. Payments are dependent on the defendant's financial resources. Collecting restitution can be a lengthy and frustrating ordeal for victims who are attempting to recover emotionally, physically and financially in the aftermath of a crime.
Once payment is made, funds will be mailed to the last known address on file for the victim. In the event there are multiple victims, the payment amount will be pro-rated to each victim when disbursed.
The Clerk does not issue checks for less than $10.00 per victim because this is not economically feasible. Therefore, the clerk will wait until there is a more substantial amount to disburse. It is very important that the Clerk's Office has your correct address so payments can be forwarded as quickly as possible.
You will need to provide documentation to the Clerk's Office of your address or name change. Downloadable instructions are available here.
If the defendant has financial resources and fails to make timely payments, actions taken may include, but are not limited to the following: 1) garnishment or attachment of wages or other assets, 2) property liens, 3) Notice of Violation resulting in a court appearance, and 4) the victim also has the right to pursue collections on his/her own (see below).
You may pursue collection of restitution from the defendant in the same manner as a civil judgment. This is your right as a victim. All funds collected must be deposited into the Registry of the Court for distribution to victims and accurate maintenance of accounting records.