Analysts at The Seattle Times found that the King County Prosecutor's Office takes almost three months to file charges against a DUI suspect. As a result, the Times found that many DUI suspects reoffend while awaiting charges from a prior DUI.
According to the report, the statewide norm to file DUI charges is only three days. In Seattle, charges are typically brought within a day or two of arrest. In Pierce and Snohomish counties, prosecutors usually take two or three weeks to file charges. However, the median for King County is 84 days. In extreme cases, charges were not filed until only a few days before the two-year statute of limitations expired. The study looked at a four-year time period from 2009 to 2013.
Why the delay in KIng County?
King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg says that his office tries to file charges quickly, but is limited by a large caseload and limited budget. Others say that King County prosecutors take so much time as they reportedly review all evidence first before filing charges. In contrast, Seattle prosecutors file charges based on preliminary evidence and only refine the cases later.
Proposed Laws to Address Delays
As part of the proposed overhaul of Washington DUI laws, lawmakers are looking at cutting the delay in filing charges. For example, the bill would require that DUI charges be brought within three days for a defendant with a previous drunk driving conviction. This would allow authorities to require that safety measures like ignition interlock devices be installed faster.
However, filing charges against someone does not necessarily ensure safer roads. The alleged drunk driver would still need to comply with the requirements like installing the ignition interlock device.
Contact a Seattle DUI Attorney
If you have been charged with a DUI in the Seattle or King County area, you will want to work with an experienced Seattle DUI attorney. The delays in filing charges can be frustrating, and you will want an advocate on your side throughout the DUI process.
Contact the experienced DUI defense attorney at Wolff Criminal Defense. Call us at 425-284-2000 to schedule a consultation to discuss your case. Don't fight your battle alone.