Friday, May 28, 2010

Seattle DUI Arrest.....Now what?

If you have been arrested for a Seattle DUI then there are likely two legal actions against you:
  1. The Washington Department of Licensing may seek to revoke or suspend your drivers license.
  2. You may have to appear in court where you will face criminal charge.

1. Department of Licensing Action

What are my immediate concerns with the Department of Licensing?
  • If a hole was punched in your driver's license, it means the Washington Department of Licensing intends to suspend or revoke your driver's license effective 60 days from your Seattle DUI Arrest.
  • You may request a hearing to contest this suspension but it must be post marked within 20 days of the Seattle DUI Arrest. A nonrefundable $200 fee must be submitted.
  • Your license may be suspended from 90 days up to 4 years depending if you have prior DUI offenses or what your blood alcohol level was. In addition you may be required to have SR-22 insurance once you are eligible to get it reinstated.

What happens if I contest my license suspension?
  • A hearing will be held within 60 days of the date of the Seattle DUI arrest by phone or in person.
  • You will be assigned a hearing officer who will determine the following: whether the officer had reasonable grounds to arrest you; whether you were under lawful arrest; whether you were read your rights; whether your alcohol level was over the legal limit or whether you refused the breath test.
  • If your license gets suspended by the Washington Department of Licensing you may be eligible to apply for an ignition interlock license or an occupational restrictive license.

2. Criminal case action

If you are formally charged, your first court date will either appear via summons through the mail or on a ticket issued to you at the time of your Seattle DUI Arrest.

What happens at my Seattle DUI arraignment?
  • Your first court appearance is your arraignment.
  • This is where the Prosecutor will read the charges against you, and you will formally enter into a plea.
  • The Judge may set bail, and/or impose conditions on your release.

What happens at my next hearing?
  • If you didnt speak to a Seattle DUI Attorney before your arraignment, you need to contact one immediately.
  • The next hearing after your arraignment is a pre trial hearing.
  • Typically one of three things can happen at a pre trial hearing: your case can be continued to another pre trial hearing; you can pled guilty as charged or accept any plea deal to lesser charges; or you can maintain your innocence and set your case for trial.

What happens if I set my Seattle DUI case to trial?
  • You may request either a bench trial heard by a Judge, or a jury trial heard by a group of your peers.
  • Typically you will have several court dates in between your pre trial and jury trial that you may or may not be required to attend.
  • A jury trial on a Seattle DUI case may last 1 day or 1 week depending on the number of witnesses, and evidence that will be presented. You will be required to attend every day of the trial.
  • If you are found not guilty the Seattle DUI charge will be dismissed. However if you are found guilty then the Judge will determine your minimum sentence.

You dont have to deal with this by yourself. Let my law firm Leyba Defense PLLC worry about this. Let us stay up at night thinking about your case. Let us go to bat for you. Let us do everything we can to get this dismissed. A Seattle DUI Arrest is not the end of the world. Let us take care of this for you.