Sunday, June 30, 2013

Can't there be a happy medium when it comes to filing DUI cases in King County?

My last blog post discussed an article written by the Seattle Times basically throwing the King County Prosecutors Office under the bus because they don't file DUI charges until 2-3 months after the DUI arrest.  Essentially the Times used a couple repeat offenders as examples of situations where an individual was arrested for DUI in King County, the charge wasn't filed right away and they got arrested again for DUI and injured someone.  All before the King County DUI charge was filed.

Well the Seattle Times and anybody else who complained about the practice of the King County Prosecutors office when it comes to filing DUI charges got their way.  Tomorrow morning in Redmond District Court there will be over 130 arraignments on the arraignment calendar.  This is almost 3 times what is typically is.  From my understanding the King County Prosecutors Office is no longer going to stagger DUI cases when it comes to filing.  

From now on every DUI case gets filed at the same time.  It will be an endless cycle and it will be much more the norm to see arraignment calendars with over 100 people.  That is all fine and dandy except there is no way any Court in King County can handle that kind of volume.  Regardless of what the Judges think.  It is just not feasible.  So what will happen?

Well the calendars are not going to get finished and one of two things will happen.  The Judge will make the defendants came back later that day, or the arraignment will get rescheduled to another date.  Either way it will be a colossal waste of time for the defendant and their defense attorney.  Imagine sitting in Court all morning for 3 hours.  Your case is not called and the Judge tells you regardless of what other plans you had, regardless if you have to go back to work, regardless of anything else you have going on.  You have to put it on hold and come back from your arraignment because we scheduled too many people and you're the odd person out.  

Hopefully it doesn't come to that, and there can be some kind of happy medium with the Court and the King County Prosecutor's office where the DUI filings get staggered.  The arraignment calendars are back to normal size.  And people aren't stuck in Court for 3 hours only to have to come back.

About the author: Matthew Leyba is a Seattle DUI lawyer.  His practice focuses on representing those accused of DUI and other related offenses.  He is rated a 10 out of 10 by Avvo, and named a Rising Star in Criminal Defense by Seattle Met Magazine.    

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