Arrested for a DUI? What to expect…
If you have been arrested for Seattle DUI there are likely two separate legal actions against you:
- The Department of Licensing may seek to revoke or suspend your drivers license
- You may have to appear in court where you will face criminal charges
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 Department of Licensing intends to suspend or revoke your license effective 60 days from your arrest.
- You may request a hearing to contest this suspension that must post marked within 20 days of the arrest. A nonrefundable $200 fee and the DOL hearing application form must be submitted.
- Your license may be suspended from 90 days to 4 years, based on prior offenses and your blood alcohol level plus you may be required to have SR-22 insurance.
What happens if I contest my license suspension?
- A hearing will be held within 60 days of the date of 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 stop you
- Whether you were under lawful arrest
- Whether you were read your rights
- Whether your alcohol level was over the legal limit or whether your refused the breath test
2. Criminal case action
If you are formally charged, your first court date will either appear via a summons through the mail or on a ticket issued to you at the time of your arrest. Find your next court date & court location.
What happens at your arraignment?
- Your first court appearance is your Seattle DUI 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 your next hearing?
- If you didn’t 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 may happen at this hearing:
- You can continue your case to another pre-trial hearing for a variety of reasons.
- You can pled guilty as charged or accept any plea deal that you get offered.
- You can maintain that you are not guilty of this crime and set your case for trial.
What happens if you set your case for 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 then the case will be dismissed. However if you are found guilty then RCW 46.61.5055 will determine your minimum sentence.