Seattle DUI Lawyers
Return to Washington State DUI Lawyers
- Phillipson & Lundin: Appeals
WASHINGTON DUI COURT PROCESS
When you are arrested for a Washington DUI, sometimes the criminal process begins immediately, with a court date within a few days of the arrest. Other times, it may be many months or even a year before you will have to go to court. The prosecutor has up to two (2) years to charge you with a Washington DUI. The process starts when you receive a notice of a court date either 1) from the officer directly or 2) more commonly, in the mail from the court. You won’t get much advance notice of your first court date; by law it must be set within 14 days of it being filed in court. For a more visual presentation of the Washington DUI process, take a look at our Washington State DUI Flow Chart.
The first hearing that you will be facing in court is the arraignment. This is the hearing at which the court will enter your plea of “not guilty” and will determine whether or not any conditions of release should be imposed. Conditions of release will be imposed if the judge determines that you are a risk of flight and/or that you pose a risk to the safety of the community. In making this determination, the judge will consider your criminal history, your alleged breath alcohol level and any efforts that you have made to show the court you are not a danger to the community. Conditions of release may include: Bail, Electronic home monitoring (EHM), Restrictions on consumption of alcohol, Imposition of an ignition interlock device, Installation of a breath testing device in the home, Alcohol monitoring ankle bracelet (SCRAM). If it is a first DUI offense, there are usually no bail or EHM requirements. However, it is important to be aware of the practice of the court in which the Washington DUI is charged. For example, a DUI charged in Seattle Municipal Court will likely see more restrictive conditions of release (and a chance of bail) than a DUI prosecuted in other courts. Proper preparation is necessary to avoid any unpleasant surprises at the arraignment.
A pretrial hearing is a preliminary hearing at which the court will inquire about the status of the DUI case. If your attorney has negotiated a favorable resolution of your case, you can enter the resolution at this time. Alternatively, the DUI pretrial hearing this will be the time that your attorney will file evidentiary motions and set a date for them to be heard. In many cases, more than one pre-trial conference will occur in order to provide sufficient time for defense investigation and preparation.
At the evidentiary or motions hearing, the judge will determine what evidence may or may not be used against you if the DUI case were to proceed to trial. At the evidentiary hearing, the police officer will testify and your attorney will cross examine the officer. The court will then hear legal argument about the admissibility of evidence and issue a ruling. The evidentiary hearing is useful in preparing the DUI case for trial and in many cases this procedure leads to a beneficial settlement of the case short of trial.
If a negotiated resolution of the Washington DUI case is not reached, the next procedural step is a DUI trial. Trial is your chance to persuade a judge or a jury that you should not be convicted. A prosecutor will present evidence through witnesses that may include the arresting officer, a Washington State Patrol Breath BAC DataMaster Technician, a representative from the Washington State Toxicologist’s Office and any appropriate civilian witnesses. It has often been said that Washington DUI trials are as complex as a DNA murder trial, given the scientific nature of the evidence offered by the prosecution. Your attorney will cross examine the prosecution’s witnesses and call witnesses on your behalf. Tactical considerations in the presentation of your case will determine what evidence is presented on your behalf and how the prosecution’s evidence is to be challenged. Experience is the best teacher in making these decisions. At the conclusion of your trial, a verdict will be reached and a finding of either “guilty” or “not guilty” will be entered. The goal is, of course, the “not guilty” outcome. But sometimes when a judge or jury decides to find you “guilty,” an appeal needs to be contemplated.
In the unhappy event of a conviction, the law provides for an appeal to a higher court. The arguments and objections that your attorney made at trial and the evidentiary hearing provide the basis of an appeal of your Washington DUI case. Every case raises different factual and legal issues and an attorney with appellate experience will offer good advice regarding this option.
- Morgan, Michael:
Expungement/Vacation of Criminal Convictions
Misdemeanors and Felonies
- Allen, Todd:
Drug Crime Law
Violent Crime Law
White Collar Crime Law
- Callahan Law:
Washington State DUI Forced Blood Draw and Blood Test Warrant
You may have heard that you have the right to refuse to comply with a breathalyzer test if you are pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) in Washington. In the past, a breath test refusal would only result in the suspension of your driving privileges. However, it is becoming more common for law enforcement to obtain a blood test warrant in an effort to collect a blood sample without your consent.
Why would the police subject you to a forced blood draw? The answer is simple—to gather evidence that you were driving while intoxicated. Without a chemical test, the prosecution must prove that you were a “less safe” driver through the officer’s testimony. Because the officer’s observations are subjective, prosecutors need solid evidence that is more difficult to challenge.
This practice is gaining momentum across the country; individuals suspected of DUI may be compelled to take a blood test through the use of a search warrant if they do not cooperate with the officer’s request to take a breathalyzer. Some cities even have judges on call, ready to sign the warrant when asked.
If you were charged with DUI after being forced to provide a blood sample, you need a skilled defense attorney on your side. Your lawyer can look into your case to determine if the warrant was valid. If it was not, there is a chance that you could challenge the blood test.
There are also a number of blood test defenses that can be used on your behalf. Strict guidelines must be followed to ensure that the blood test reading is accurate. If the chain of custody is broken at any time, the preservatives or anticoagulants levels were incorrect, or your sample was improperly stored, your lawyer can fight to have your results thrown out.
- Pelley Law:
Driving Under the Influence in Washington State
You may know that the legal limit in Washington State is .08. What you probably do not know is that you can reach, or exceed that limit after consuming as little as three or four drinks. You probably are also unaware that you can be charged with and prosecuted for DUI even if a test of your breath or blood reveals that you are not legally intoxicated. All it takes is the determination of a law enforcement officer that you were driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or any drug, regardless of the amount of alcohol or drugs in your system. The fact that your doctor may have prescribed the drug you were taking makes no difference under the law; you can still be charged and convicted of DUI if you are found to be under the influence of that drug. If you are under 21 years of age, you can be charged with and prosecuted for “Minor DUI” or Driver Under 21 Consuming Alcohol if you had a breath or blood alcohol content of .02 or more.
Read more: Pelley Law, PLLC | Seattle Criminal Defense Attorney Seattle DUI Attorney « Pelley Law, PLLC | Seattle Criminal Defense Attorney http://www.pelleylawgroup.com/practice-areas/seattle-bellevue-dui-lawyer#ixzz2HJaPITnF
Follow us: @PelleyLaw on Twitter | SeattleCriminalDefense on Facebook
- Schroeter Goldmark & Bender: > Asbestos & Mesothelioma > Consumer Protection > Criminal Defense > Employment & Labor > Maritime Injuries > Medical Malpractice & Nursing Home Negligence > Negligent Supervision > Product Liability > Serious Auto Accidents > Sexual Assault > Social Security > Toxic Torts & Environmental Law > Wage & Hour Class Action > Workers Compensation > Wrongful Death & Serious Personal Injury
- Bennett, Kurt:
Assault Domestic Violence Harassment
Theft Reckless Driving Property crimes
drug offenses RALJ appeals Solicitation
- Edmund, Allen: Being formally accused of a crime is devastating to most people. In today’s computer age, a criminal conviction can follow someone forever. It can adversely affect your career opportunities, housing, citizenship and other important rights. It is vital to have an experienced trial attorney by your side.
- Fiorito, Dan: Charged – What to Expect? In most cases, once you have been arrested for DUI, you will either be released into the custody of a friend or relative or booked into jail. In some jurisdictions such as Seattle, the arresting officer will serve you with a citation for DUI that will include an appearance date. You must appear at this hearing. In other jurisdictions, no citation for DUI will be issued. Rather, the police officer will forward the arrest report to the prosecuting attorney’s office. The prosecutor will review the police report and determine whether to file charges. It may be weeks, or in some cases months, before a charging decision is made. If the case is filed, a summons to appear in court for arraignment will be mailed to your address. You should consult an attorney before the arraignment. If you fail to appear at the arraignment a warrant will be issued for your arrest.
- Flennaugh, Robert: Do I need a lawyer? A: If you are arrested, charged with a felony or misdemeanor, or you are being accused of committing a crime, you probably will need the help of a lawyer. If you feel that maybe your situation doesn’t require a lawyer’s help, why not consult first with a lawyer. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you determine what actions to take in your situation.
- Gross, John: Driving Under the Influence is among the most frequently charged misdemeanors. DUI is a criminal offense in Washington State. It receives separate treatment on this website due to its unique characteristics and complexity. First, DUI laws, unlike most other criminal statutes, prohibit a certain physiological state, regardless of intent. DUI cases involve all of the same procedures and hearings as most other crimes. Like other crimes, illegal searches and seizures by the police are grounds to exclude evidence, including the breath test or blood draw. _____________________________________________________________________________ Issues pertaining to DUI cases often involve the training and certification of the person who administered the breath test as well as the maintenance and functionality of the breath machine itself. In Washington State, the police use the machine called the BAC Verifier DataMaster to detect alcohol on a person's breath. This machine is not infallible and has a margin of error. Consequently, the results of the breath test should often be challenged by a defense attorney. In addition, police and laboratory technicians must follow strict guidelines when administering a breath test or blood draw. If these guidelines are not followed, the breath test or blood draw will likely be thrown out. If this evidence is excluded, it often leaves the prosecutor with no case and a dismissal would usually be the result. The prosecutor may nevertheless chose to go forward with the case based on the police video, the arresting officer's observations, and the results of the field sobriety tests. This is because there are two different ways to convict a person of DUI: (1) by proving that the person was driving and had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or above within 2 hours of driving or (2) by proving that the person was driving and was affected by alcohol to an appreciable degree while driving. For this second method of proving guilt, BAC is not a factor and the prosecutor can still seek a conviction. Like the breath test, the field sobriety tests are not perfect. A defense attorney knows how to challenge the administration of these tests as well as the validity of the tests themselves. In Washington State, DUI penalties are severe. If convicted there is a minimum jail sentence and fine imposed. Over the last few decades, DUI laws have become increasingly strict and it has made defending DUI cases more and more difficult. However, it is still possible for a defendant to either win a DUI case or obtain a favorable result. One option is to go to trial and exclude evidence and/or challenge the admissible evidence. Another option is for the defense attorney to negotiate with the prosecutor to get the charge reduced to a less serious offense or an offense with less severe penalties such as Reckless Driving or Negligent Driving.
- Shawver Law Office: DUI Cases Are Different DUI cases are extremely complicated, and the stakes are high for you, your family, and your driving record. Hiring an experienced attorney is critical to winning your case or minimizing harm to your driving record and privilege to drive. You should also know that the Washington State Department of Licensing may have already started its case against you, so you may need to act quickly to preserve your right to drive. You may also qualify for a deferred prosecution, which usually is your best chance to avoid jail time and a license suspension. When Can an Officer Legally Stop Me for DUI? You can be arrested for DUI whenever a police officer has enough evidence to establish probable cause that your blood-alcohol level is above .08 or if the officer has enough evidence to establish probable cause that your ability to drive a motor vehicle has been affected by alcohol or other intoxicant--this second scenario can occur even if your blood-alcohol level is within the legal limit! How to Successfully Defend a DUI Case After years of criminal defense and trial experience, Mr. Shawver has learned that to successfully defend a Washington State DUI case, all aspects of the case must be examined carefully. The following points are important to every DUI defense: * . Why did the officer pull you over? Unless the officer had a reasonable suspicion to believe that you had committed a traffic infraction or crime, it was illegal to pull you over. This aspect of the case is so important that many times cases are won or lost on this point alone. * . What did the officer tell you about your rights? Under Washington law, a police officer has strict responsibilities to advise you of your rights upon arrest, and to provide you the opportunity to contact an attorney prior to any custodial interrogation (this includes prior to taking a breath test). Failure to properly advise you of your rights may be a factor that is important in your case. * . Was the breath test machine working properly? It is important to obtain all available evidence on the operation and maintenance of the breath-test machine used in your case-this can sometimes lead to undermining this evidence at trial. As an experienced DUI attorney, Mr. Shawver knows that any DUI defense will necessarily involve a thorough examination of the maintenance records of the breathalyzer. These are some of the most important considerations in attacking any DUI charge. There are many other factors to consider in a DUI defense that depend on the facts of each individual case. Washington State Laws Are Harsh! Washington has now made certain DUI's a felony charge, making Washington state one of the most severe states in the country for DUI. Therefore, it is vitally important to have an attorney versed in Washington's complex DUI laws to help you with your case. The penalties include mandatory jail time (even for first-time offenders), license suspension or revocation, and requiring a device called an "ignition interlock" installed in your car. Mr. Shawver began defending DUI cases in Washington in 1996. Many times he has had charges reduced or cases dismissed altogether for his clients. In order to avoid the potentially devastating effects of a DUI conviction, Mr. Shawver does not give up until he has achieved the best possible result. If you are involved in a DUI case, he will work closely with you, and will thoroughly explore all sentencing possibilities, including a deferred prosecution. For Your DUI Defense We offer an elite DUI defense at affordable rates. Unlike many firms, our fee includes representation at the Department of Licensing hearing, processing a deferred prosecution (if appropriate), as well as representation at all review hearings scheduled by the Court. When you have been arrested and charged with a DUI, there is nothing more important than having a skilled, experienced attorney who will fight hard to protect your rights and win your case. We will aggressively defend you against all charges that have been filed, and will keep you informed at every step of the process as we work together to get the best possible result for your case.
- Kotlowski, James: ...it is simply easier to get a "not guilty" verdict with a refusal. However, the other facts do play a major role and your case can still be pretty bad without a breath test.