If you have been arrested for a DUI in Seattle then you’re facing a couple unique DUI issues that only arise in Seattle. From the area you were arrested, to the arresting agency, to where you were taken for the breath test. All of these will factor into your Seattle DUI charge in one way or another. To learn what happens in the Seattle DUI courts continue reading.
The first factor that needs to be considered is where were you arrested. If you were arrested within the City limits of Seattle than most likely you will be facing a DUI charge in the Seattle Municipal Court. However that is only true if you were arrested by the Seattle Police Department for the DUI. If you were arrested on either I-5, 520, or I-90 than chances are your DUI case will be in one of the King County District Court cases.
Now as I stated above if you were arrested within the City limits of Seattle than chances are you most likely will be in the Seattle Municipal Court. However recently that has started to change with the Target Zero task force, and the driver sober or get pulled over DUI campaigns. Both the Washington State Patrol and King County Sheriff’s Unit have been pulling people over within the City limits of Seattle. So if you were arrested by a Washington State Patrol for example than you case would be in the King County District Court and not the Seattle Municipal Court.
So what happens if you were arrested by the Seattle Police Department for the DUI? First of all you will most likely be given a court date within the next few days. The Seattle Police Officer will provide that to you. It looks like a citation and at the bottom of the citation is the date and time of your court date. I’m always surprised when someone calls me following a DUI arrest by the Seattle Police Department and they had no idea they had court in a day or two. In fact most Seattle Police Officer’s won’t say anything following the DUI arrest. So make sure you check on it, or contact a DUI Lawyer so they can.
Currently if you’re facing a DUI charge in Seattle Municipal Court the first hearing will be on a Tues, Wed, or Thurs in room 1002 in the Seattle Municipal Court house. As of writing this blog the current Judge in the courtroom is Judge Kondo. She will preside over the arraignment where you will enter a formal not guilty plea in front of the court, and she will address any bail, ignition interlock, or SCRAM conditions.
So what happens if you were arrested by a Washington State Patrol or a King County Sheriff? If you were arrested for DUI by either of these agencies then you DUI case will be in the King County District Court. There are several district courts in King County. Depending on where the law enforcement officer is stationed and files your police report will determine where your case is. For example there are several Troopers that patrol the area of Ballard and Fremont. If you get arrested for a DUI in either of those areas you would think your DUI case would be in the Seattle District Court. However several of those troopers file their cases in the Redmond District Court. Any DUI lawyer worth their salt will be able to tell you where the DUI case will be filed depending on how the Trooper is.
Now unlike the Seattle Municipal Court and the Seattle Police Officer. If you get arrested by a State Patrol Trooper than you will not be given a court date. It will be mailed to you. This depends on several factors like when the Trooper files the report, when the Prosecutor gets around to filing the charge, and what the Court room schedule is like. Currently there is about a 30-45 day turn around from DUI arrest to your first court date. So be sure to check your mail often because the only notice of this court date will be mailed to you.
This is the Seattle DUI court process in a nutshell. Obviously there is more to it and it is more complicated especially when you factor into the different prosecutors, the different Judges, and the different court procedures of each court. A experienced DUI lawyer who exclusively practices in the Seattle area will be able to answer those types of questions.
About the author: Matthew Leyba is a DUI lawyer in the Bellevue Seattle area of Western WA. He has been named a Rising Star in the field of DUI Defense by both his peers, and the Seattle Met Magazine an honor less than 2.5% of all Attorneys receive. Additionally he is rated as the highest 10/10 Superb DUI Lawyer by Avvo.com