DUI trials in King County….When will the trial actually begin?
If you’re currently facing a DUI charge in King County District Court then there is probably a good chance the case will end up being set for a jury trial. However when that case will actually go to trial is another story. How is that possible you ask? When a case is set for trial aren’t all the parties given a court date with the expectation to appear in court and start the trial. Well not necessarily.
You see here in King County criminal cases in particular DUI cases in Seattle are being set for trial left and right. Due to the increase in cases being set for trial the Courts have become back logged with trials. Any given trial week there can be 15-20 different cases set for trial. With only 2-3 cases actually going forward during that week. So what happens to those other 17+ cases?
Good question. After all isn’t there such a thing as a speedy trial period. You know the right that every defendant has to be brought to trial within a certain period of time. If you’re in custody 60 days, if you’re out of custody 90 days. Well those rights don’t exist in King County anymore.
Due to the number of cases that can’t be brought to trial within their speedy trial period, the Courts are implementing a little known local criminal rule which allows a Judge to continue a case 28 days past the speedy trial expiration as long as they can make up some B.S. excuse about court congestion and how they can’t try the case any place else, and as long as there is no prejudice to the defendant than boom. Good bye speedy trial period and welcome to what is called the “cure” period. Basically some term that Courts can use to keep a criminal case in limbo until they can make time to try the case.
It really is unfortunate and this is a direct cause of the lack of plea bargaining that takes place in King County DUI cases. Prior to all this I remember having a trial set and it actually going on the date it was set for. Imagine that. As a Seattle DUI Attorney actually being able to block out a date in my calendar to be in trial was so nice. The client knew what date exactly to take off work. Heck even the police officer knew exactly when to be in court and for how long.
Well it is not like that anymore and it has become an incredible inconvenient to everyone involved not named the Prosecutor. So if you have a criminal case set for trial in King County, I can tell you with almost 100% certainty that case will not be going to trial on that date chosen. In fact you might have to come to Court another dozen or so times only to be told to come back the following week. It’s like groundhog day.
_ About the author: Matthew Leyba is a Seattle DUI Attorney. He has been recognized as a Rising Star in the area of DUI Defense by the Seattle Met Magazine, an honor less than 2.5% of all attorneys receive in their respective practice area. Additionally he is rated a perfect 10 out of 10 by Avvo.com