Preparing for your DUI Arraignment

What happens when you are pulled over for driving under the influence? what if you didn’t go to jail, and you aren’t sure if you were even arrested? How do you know if you will be charged and when?

In Washington State and the city of Seattle, the Statute of Limitations to charge a person for DUI is 2 years. The Statute of Limitations is the time limit, beginning from the date of arrest, for the prosecutor to file DUI charges.

Once charges have been formally filed against you, a DUI arraignment will occur. When an arraignment will occur depends. If you are taken into custody, you will be arraigned usually within 48 hours. But, if you are out of custody, some officers will give you this date at the time you are arrested. Other agencies might mail you your arraignment date, in which case you will generally receive a date in the mail within 20 – 30 days or so. If your DUI arrest involved a blood test these sometimes will take longer before charges are filed. In any case, it is a good idea to have hired an attorney by your 1st Court appearance, if possible.

At a DUI Arraignment, the Judge or prosecutor will go over basic identifying information, and your legal constitutional rights such as your right to speedy trial, right to a jury trial, and presumption of innocence, etc.

After acknowledging receipt of the DUI complaint from the prosecutor, your attorney will waive your first appearance, demand discovery from the prosecutor and enter a not guilty plea to the Court on your behalf. After reviewing the complaint, if the Judge determines that there was probable cause for the stop or arrest, he will then proceed to set conditions of your release pending the outcome of your case.  These findings can always be challenged in a later Motions Hearing. Some fairly Standard DUI Conditions include:

  • Not operating a motor vehicle without a valid license or insurance;
  • No refusal of a breath/blood/drug test upon reasonable request of law enforcement officer;
  • No new criminal law violations or alcohol-related infractions;
  • No consumption of alcohol, THC, controlled substances or non-prescribed medications;
  • No driving with a BAC over .08 within two hours after driving;
  • Appear for all scheduled court dates;
  • Report any change of address to the court.

The conditions ultimately set depend on your prior driving/criminal history and the specific facts of your case. The court is primarily concerned with whether or not you are a threat to the community or you are a flight risk and the Court can impose additional conditions to minimize and/or mitigate your potential threat to the community or to secure your appearance at future hearings.

Every Court has different procedures. However, many will take those defendants with a private attorney first. It is a good idea to have hired an attorney by your 1st Court appearance.

If you have questions regarding a DUI or think you might be facing criminal charges, you may want to discuss your circumstances with a Criminal law attorney.  At Blair & Kim, PLLC our attorney’s are experienced litigators and dedicated to helping clients achieve positive resolutions in their DUI cases.

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