Seattle Municipal Court DUI
Arrested for a DUI by the Seattle Police Department?
Then you will most likely face a DUI charge in Seattle Municipal Court. The Seattle Municipal Court is a limited jurisdiction court hearing all violations of the Seattle Municipal Code in the City of Seattle limits including traffic infractions and both misdemeanor and gross misdemeanor violations of the law. Which includes DUI and most DUI related offenses.
What is the Seattle Municipal Court like?
The Seattle Municipal Court is located at 600 5th Ave in between James and Cherry streets in downtown Seattle. The Municipal Court is the largest limited jurisdiction courthouse in all of Washington State. There are seven elected Judges and six appointed magistrates. However, not all the Judges hear DUI cases as some of the Judges only hear domestic violence cases or mental health court.
What are the Prosecutors like?
The Seattle City Attorney’s office prosecutes criminal cases in the Seattle Municipal Court. The Prosecutors have a reputation for being very tough on DUI crimes, especially if the case involves a high breath test, an accident, or a repeat DUI offender. For example, it is not uncommon for the Prosecutors office to ask for bail and an ignition interlock device requirement on a first offense DUI at the arraignment.
What happens after a DUI arrest made by the Seattle Police?
If you were arrested for a DUI by the Seattle Police then you will be given notice of a court date by the arresting officer. This is unlike many jurisdictions where the Court will mail you a letter a month or two after the arrest notifying you of a court date. The Seattle Municipal Court files DUI cases very quickly and it is not uncommon for a DUI arraignment to occur one or two days after a DUI arrest. Typically the arraignments are scheduled Tuesday – Thursday, and then again on Saturday mornings.
Because these DUI cases get filed so quickly it is of the utmost importance to hire a Seattle DUI Attorney right away so they can appear with you at the arraignment and be prepared to argue for your release if the Prosecutor is asking for bail and/or ignition interlock requirements.
General thoughts about practicing in Seattle Municipal Court
Personally I like to practice in Seattle Municipal Court. When I first started as a lawyer all of my cases were in Seattle Municipal Court. So I quickly became familiar with all of the Judges, the Prosecutors, and the courtroom procedures. For those not familiar with this Court it can be a difficult place to practice, especially DUI cases. There are procedures and forms that are not like any other place in Washington state.
Additionally, because there are so many Judges each one does not rule the same as another when it comes to certain cases. For example just because one Judge suppresses a breath test on a certain issue does not mean another Judge will do the same. That is why it is important to have a DUI Attorney who is familiar with each Judge’s tendencies and legal rulings. Leyba Defense PLLC has appeared in Seattle Municipal Court more than any other Court in Western WA. As a result, we are familiar with every possible scenario that can occur during the DUI process.