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Criminal law lawyer Ken Blanford is here to guide you through what we know is a scary and very stressful time. One of the questions we hear from clients is: what happens if the oral ruling in court differs from the written order you will receive?

It has happened to all of us.  The Court orally rules, and then you receive the written order.  The written order does not seem consistent with the oral ruling.  Assuming the Judge did not make a mistake, which ruling is the correct one? After the ruling can a judge change their mind?

Washington is a written-order state. State v. Dailey , 93 Wash.2d 454, 458-59610 P.2d 357 (1980). “[A] trial court’s oral statements are ‘no more than a verbal expression of [its] informal opinion at that time … necessarily subject to further study and consideration, and may be altered, modified, or completely abandoned.’ ” Dailey , 93 Wash.2d at 458610 P.2d 357 (quoting Ferree v. Doric Co. , 62 Wash.2d 561, 567383 P.2d 900 (1963) ).

This can be confusing and upsetting on top of an already stressful situation. As you can see above, the judge is within their right to make the change. You should talk to us, as soon as possible so we can help you navigate this issue and get the best possible outcome.

If you are in need of an attorney for DUI or alcohol-related offenses, criminal law, personal injury, domestic violence or traffic infractions, please contact Blanford Law at 253-720-9304, or you can contact us here: We are available when you need us – 24/7.