What the Governor's Order means for your DUI.
Since March, several orders issued by Governor Inslee have directly impacted District and Superior Courts. When Governor Inslee issued the first “shutdown” order, all court functions except for a few exceptions, completely shut down as courts struggled with safely holding hearings. Almost unanimously, courts resolved this issue by implementing technology that allowed all parties to appear via zoom or some other online software. For people who could not appear via zoom, courts installed plexiglass and created socially distanced seating arrangements. While this was somewhat effective, courts still struggled with commencing jury trials, so much so that some courts have not had jury trials since March. Some courts have found ways to commence jury trials, albeit carefully and with technological assistance.
How does the most recent Order affect court functions?
On November 18th, 2020 Governor Inslee issued another Order shutting down restaurants and again limiting capacity at other facilities. The Governor specifically exempted courts from this Order. In response to the most recent Order, Presiding Judges across the state have reacted by adjusting court operations by suspending jury trials until at least January 11th, reasoning that the pressing health concerns presented by COVID deem the suspension necessary.
The most recent order has not affected courts to the same extent as March's Order, because courts invested in zoom technology. This means your arraignment, pre-trial hearings, motions, and disposition will proceed as scheduled. However, always consult with your attorney and the court website as to whether this applies to your courtroom and your case. Since each presiding judge makes independent decisions your court may be affected in a different way.
Counties Suspending Jury Trials:
- Snohomish County DUI Courts
- Pierce County Courts
- King County Courts
For a comprehensive list of zoom courts please click here.
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