Wednesday, October 2, 2013

DUI arrest in the City of Bellevue....Now what

If you get arrested for a DUI in the City of Bellevue then you case will be filed in the King County District Court - East division.  Even though it is a District Court the Prosecutor will be the City of Bellevue.  Typically if a defendant's case is in a District Court then the Prosecutor would be the County of the arrest.  So it can get a little confusing.  Here is the basic info regarding this Court.

Your arraignment date will typically be a month or so after your Bellevue DUI arrest.  Unlike the City of Seattle Attorneys Office in the Seattle Municipal Court or even the King County Prosecutors Office it takes the City of Bellevue a little bit longer to file a DUI charge.  Once they decide to file the DUI charge then you will receive a notice of Court date from the County indicating the date and time of your hearing.  Usually it is about two weeks away and you're required to be there.  If for some reason you cannot make it (i.e., you're out of town, or in treatment) then a continuance request can be made to change the date of the arraignment.  However this date will not be moved if you're simply too busy or you have to work.

The Courthouse itself is pretty small.  There are two Courtrooms occupied by Judge Garrow, and Judge Steiner.  Both have been Judges for quite some time so they know what they are doing.  The line can get a little long in the mornings, especially during trial week because there is only one metal detector and it always seems to be really sensitive.  FYI take off any belts, and watches.  Mine always seem to set the thing off.

As far as the actual DUI case in Bellevue goes.  The Prosecutors are tough to work with.  If you have a breath test over a .10 then they are not going to offer a reduction unless there are serious legal issues.  And even the reduction they do offer will more often than not be to reckless driving and not the lower charge of negligent driving 1.  

Lately it seems like I have been going to trial a lot on DUI cases in Bellevue.  My opinion on the juries out there are they are really conservative.  The last pool I had they were highly educated, a lot of Microsoft employees, engineers from Boeing, etc.  They were older.  Looking back on it there was only 3-5 potential jurors under the age of 35.  This can make for a difficult jury, especially in a DUI case where these types of jurors tend to not be as familiar with having a drink or two at dinner, or at least not be sympathetic to it.  Additionally since they work in fields involving math, and science they are more likely to place greater weight on the breath test results, field sobriety test results, and any other expert testimony offered by the Prosecutor.  I will say they are smart.  So a defense expert would not be lost on them.

Overall this is a pretty tough place to have a Bellevue DUI.  The Prosecutors can be tough to negotiate with.  However in my experience since the Bellevue Police Department doesn't have the experience of say the Washington State Patrol when it comes to DUI investigation they are more apt to make mistakes which can be capitalized by the Bellevue DUI lawyer.

About the author: Matthew Leyba is a DUI lawyer in Bellevue.  His practice focuses on representing those charged with DUI and other traffic offenses.  He is currently rated as a Superb DUI Attorney by Avvo, and a Rising Star by Super lawyers Magazine.     

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