If you have been arrested for a DUI in the Seattle Bellevue area and you’re facing the first court hearing. Should you bring your own DUI Lawyer or just use the attorney of the day to answer the charges. In my opinion I think that if you’re planning on retaining your own Attorney, you should get that Attorney on board ASAP and bring them to the DUI arraignment. And here is why.
First of all this post is not meant to bag on the public defenders that appear at these DUI arraignment calendars. In fact if you get arrested for a DUI in Seattle and you go to the DUI arraignment in either Seattle Municipal Court or the Seattle District Court chances are I know the public defender that would be appearing on that calendar. And for the most part they are very good lawyers who are going to do the best job they can.
However if you’re in the market for a private DUI Attorney and if you’re contemplating holding off on that decision until after your arraignment. My advice is to make the decision as soon as you can or feel comfortable. and have your own attorney appear with you at the DUI arraignment. I think this is important for a couple of reasons.
First the public defender or attorney of the day is going to be extremely busy. In the Seattle District Court for example they will probably be helping anywhere from 30-45 other defendants that day. Obviously with so many other people they are not going to be able to speak in detail with each defendant, and something might be overlooked.
Secondly one of the factors a Judge will consider in setting bail, or an ignition interlock device, or worse yet a SCRAM bracelet. Is whether the defendant has any ties to the community? This would include occupation, number of years resided in Washington State, whether they own a home, married, children, etc. Anything that would show the defendant is not going to flee the State and will appear at all the mandatory hearings. An attorney you have met prior to that court date is going to know more about your background and will be able to explain this to the Judge more easily then some Attorney who just met the defendant that afternoon.
The last reason to bring your own Seattle Attorney to a DUI arraignment is you will get out of Court much much sooner. In fact if you have hired your own Attorney then the Judge will call those defendants first. So if there is a DUI arraignment calender of say 40 people. If you don’t have your own attorney then you will have to wait to the end of the calendar before your case is called. That is probably a difference of at least 2 hours. This may seem like a trivial reason but if you have to take time off work, or if the meter is going to expire after 2 hours then time saved is worth it.
About the author: Matthew Leyba is the owner of Leyba Defense PLLC, a DUI Law firm located in Seattle, WA. He is rated as a 10/10 by Avvo.com among Seattle DUI Lawyers, and has been named a Rising Star in the field of DUI Defense by Super lawyers Magazine, and the Seattle Met Magazine, an honor less than 2.5% of all Attorneys receive.