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What to expect at a Seattle DUI Arraignment

Posted by Aaron J. Wolff | Jul 18, 2012 | 0 Comments

Anyone arrested for suspicion of DUI or physical control by a Seattle Police Officer will have their first appearance (arraignment) within a few days following his/her arrest. The City of Seattle Prosecutor's office typically asks for very stringent conditions so it is absolutely critical that anyone facing a DUI charge in Seattle Municipal Court immediately consult with an experienced attorney prior to their first court appearance.

At the arraignment for a Seattle DUI, the accused will only say a few words. They will confirm their legal name, date of birth and mailing address. The attorney will then enter a plea of "not guilty" on behalf of the defendant. At this point, the judge will determine whether there is probable cause for the charge and then impose conditions while the DUI charge is pending.

There are standard conditions of release for all Seattle DUI charges, including abstinence of alcohol and non-prescribed drugs, not drive without a license and insurance and not refuse a lawfully requested breath or blood test. In other jurisdictions, these are typically the only conditions the judge will impose on a person accused of a DUI. In Seattle, however, a person should expect more.

The prosecutor in Seattle typically seeks additional conditions if a person's breath/blood test was higher than roughly a .13, or if the person has any type of prior alcohol offense(s) or if a person was involved in an accident. In these situations, it is very common for the prosecutor to request the court impose bail and to request the requirement to only operate a vehicle equipped with a functioning interlock device. I have witnessed judges impose the requirement that a person be on a house arrest or even wear an ankle bracelet that is designed to detect alcohol through perspiration. The court could also order a person to be on "day reporting" with the probation department where he/she would have to go to the court and submit to any breath or urine tests to detect usage of alcohol and/or drugs.

When imposing conditions of release for a Seattle DUI arrest, a judge is to determine whether a person is likely to re-offend and whether the accused presents a risk to the safety to the publlic. When the judge believes a defendant possesses these risks, he or she will definitely impose the onerous conditions above. Whenever I meet with a person who faces a DUI charge in Seattle Municipal Court, I always tend to "over-prepare" them for their arraignment. It is better to be prepared for the worst when at an arraignment in Seattle Municipal Court for a DUI charge.

For more information about Seattle DUI cases, please click here.

About the Author

Aaron J. Wolff

A former DUI prosecutor, Aaron Wolff has over 18 years of experience in representing people accused of DUI and is recognized as one of the leading defense lawyers in Washington State. His relentless and passionate advocacy has lead to superb ratings and outstanding reviews from former clients.


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