Individuals arrested for a DUI in Seattle will want to work with experienced counsel. The court process can be complicated and confusing. An attorney can help shepherd you through the process and explain to you everything that is happening and what you can expect.
Generally, there are five stages to the court process for a drunk driving case in Seattle. The following is a brief overview of what you can expect at each stage. Because every DUI case is fact-specific, you should talk to a Seattle DUI attorney to learn more about your case.
- Arraignment. If you are arrested for a DUI, you likely received a citation with a notice of an arraignment. An arraignment just means your first court appearance where you will enter a plea -- typically "not guilty." After you enter a plea, the judge will ask the prosecutor if he or she seeks any conditions for your release from custody. You should know that prosecutors can seek very severe conditions even for first time offenders. That is why it is critical to have a DUI attorney by your side.
- Pre-Trial Conference. At this conference, you or your representative can engage in negotiations with the prosecutors to resolve your case. If the negotiations lead to a favorable deal, you can quickly resolve the case. Otherwise, the case may be moved forward to trial. You should know that prosecutors are hardened negotiators and you will want an experienced advocate representing your interests.
- Evidentiary Motions. At an evidentiary hearing, a judge will hear testimony and arguments about whether to grant or deny your evidentiary motions like whether the authorities had probable cause in making the arrest, admissibility of sobriety tests, etc. The judge will not decide innocence or guilt at this hearing.
- Readiness Hearing. The final hearing before trial, the court will determine whether the case is "ready" for trial. For example, the court may consider the availability of witnesses to determine if your case is ready for trial.
- Trial. If attempts to settle the case have failed, the case will proceed to trial. You should know that only a small percent of DUIs cases actually get this far. You will definitely want to work with experienced counsel at this point.
If you have been arrested for a DUI in the Seattle or King County areas, you will want to seek help from an experienced attorney. Contact Wolff Criminal Defense at 425-284-2000 to learn how we can help you.