June 7, 2023


Advocacy. Mediation. Success.

The DUI Courtroom Procedure

Effectively navigating your way by means of a prison prosecution for Driving Underneath the Influence in Washington Point out necessitates a clear knowledge of the DUI court approach. In other terms, recognizing what is coming your way will significantly cut down the quantity of pressure you feel when battling a DUI charge.

Despite the fact that every Court docket Procedure in Washington varies a small on how they take care of the preliminary stages of a legal prosecution, the essential define below will aid you understand the Courtroom process as a whole:

When you get arrested for a crime, you will have various court dates to go through. Your 1st time in Court is referred to as an Arraignment. Your up coming court day is called a Pre-Trial or Standing Convention. You may well also have court docket dates for Motions or Demo.


This is your first time in Court and it really is where you are formally explained to about the fees versus you. In the situation of DUI, you may already know what the demand is just before you even enter the Courtroom. However, there can be added costs that you ended up unaware of like infractions for undesirable driving or added criminal costs the prosecution submitted just after your arrest for DUI.

Relying on Jurisdiction, you will either be mailed a Hearing Discover or you will have to glance on your quotation (about 1/3 from the base) the place it claims Obligatory Court Visual appeal for your court docket day and time. If you are not guaranteed about the day or the time, simply call the Court Clerk’s Place of work (numbers are readily available by using net). The Courtroom you are in is detailed at the leading of the quotation, e.g. a quotation marked “District Court” and the offense took place in Snohomish County , you would do an internet lookup for “Snohomish County District Court.”

Get there a couple of minutes early. Most courts will have a computer printout of all the people today scheduled for courtroom that day, referred to as a docket. These printouts are normally in plain sight in the vicinity of the courtrooms. Next to your title will be a courtroom range. Which is the place you have to have to go. If you get baffled or are not able to come across your courtroom, check with at the Court Clerk’s business – they are normally quite handy.

The moment you get to the appropriate courtroom, be organized to wait. Most Courts will have possibly a video or a paper that explains your rights at arraignment. If it is a paper, they will want you to indicator your identify – stating that you recognize your legal rights.

Ultimately, you will be known as up in entrance of the Judge. You should not Worry. This is not your time to demonstrate what took place – there will be ample time for that later. All the Decide wants to know at Arraignment is no matter whether you understand the cost(s) versus you and no matter whether you want to plead Responsible or Not Guilty. Which is it.

Popular perception would explain to you that if you did anything mistaken, you really should take it uncomplicated on the Court docket Method by pleading guilty and the Court Process will acquire it straightforward on you by not sentencing you as really hard as if you fought the rates. Unfortunately, the Court Procedure is not always dependent on widespread feeling. In actuality, you will most very likely be punished even worse if you plead guilty at arraignment relatively than preventing the cost(s). In other words, DO NOT PLEAD Guilty!

After you have pled Not Responsible, the Court will talk to you about no matter whether you want a attorney. The old cliché about “The guy that represents himself has a idiot for a client” is extremely real. If you really don’t fully grasp the regulations of court and the law relating to DUI (or any other crime) you really don’t stand a prospect against a nicely qualified prosecutor.

Legal professionals occur in two flavors: Private and Community Defenders. You do not will need to have a law firm with you at arraignment. If you are setting up on selecting a personal lawyer, you have to have only tell the Choose that and he or she will be content – but will warn you not to wait way too lengthy to employ them. If you can’t manage a law firm of your personal selecting then you may perhaps qualify for a Community Defender. The Court will have a series of queries for you in purchase to figure out no matter whether or not you qualify based on your revenue, dependants, etc. The draw back with a General public Defender is that you have no handle above who is appointed to your situation. Even if you qualify and have a General public Defender symbolize you, you can normally have a personal legal professional take in excess of at any time. It is pretty frequent for persons with a General public Defender to seek the services of a non-public attorney – so really don’t fret, your Community Defender will not be upset if you substitute them with a personal lawyer – they could even be relieved because it signifies a single considerably less circumstance to manage.

Soon after the Decide addresses the difficulty of your Law firm, the Court will then handle your launch position. If you have a clear file, you will in all probability be produced on your promise to come back. If you have a felony report, the Decide may perhaps impose a bail or bond total to be certain you will come back.

The Court will assign a date when you will need to have to appear back again for your Pre-Demo hearing. If you won’t be able to make it on that date, make positive to explain to the Decide about your conflict so another date can be picked. If a conflict comes up later on, get hold of your attorney immediately so he or she can file a movement for continuance of the courtroom day.

You will go away with Courtroom with a piece of paper telling you the date and time of your future court date. Do not be astonished if this is two to 3 months from your arraignment date. This may possibly seem like a prolonged time but do not hold out – if you want to discover an legal professional start out instantly as it may perhaps take a extended time to find the one particular you want and to get the revenue alongside one another to use them.

The moment you’ve employed your lawyer, that person will need to have to send out in a Discover of Visual appearance, telling the Courtroom and Prosecution that they characterize you. They will also need time to get all of the Police Studies and other files the Prosecution intends on working with towards you (collectively referred to as Discovery). Immediately after your lawyer has all of the Discovery, they will require to sit down with you encounter to facial area and talk about your scenario. Just one of the bizarre guidelines in Washington Condition is CrRLJ 4.7, the rule that enables your law firm to get the discovery in your scenario. The similar rule basically stops them from giving you a copy of the discovery – even although it can be your scenario! This rule is even far more strange taking into consideration the truth that if you were being to fire your lawyer and represent yourself, the Point out would be Needed to give you a duplicate of the Discovery. None the fewer, absolutely nothing prevents your lawyer from supplying you obtain to the Discovery any time you want – as usually as you want they just are not able to send out you household with a duplicate.

Pre-Demo Hearings

These hearings acquire put at Courtroom and in front of a Choose. Their objective is to make guaranteed that no case “slips as a result of the cracks” by creating confident that the scenario is reviewed in a systematic way. In the course of a pretrial, the Judge would like to know what the status of the situation is: Do the events (Prosecutor or Protection) want to enter a Guilty Plea to something, do they want to established a time for a Motion Listening to, do they want to have a Trial, or do they not know what they want and are simply just asking for a lot more time?

These hearings are administrative in mother nature. That suggests that they are fairly low pressure simply because almost nothing will transpire at a pretrial until the Defendant would make it take place. In most scenarios, the Defendant does not need to have to say just about anything other than answering the Choose when the Choose asks if the Defendant consents to what is going on, e.g. inquiring for a continuance or setting a Motion Listening to. You and your attorney will have talked about what is to choose position at the pretrial prolonged before you in fact get there.

Most criminal instances have numerous pretrial dates. There are numerous factors why you don’t want to take care of your situation all through the to start with pretrial: You may have authorized difficulties that will need to be made the decision by a Choose (in the course of a Motion Hearing), your lawyer may well require for a longer time to negotiate with the prosecution, or you may well just not have resolved which way you want to go on your case.

If you are inquiring the Decide to continue your scenario, the challenge of Fast Demo will come up. If you are out of custody, then your scenario ought to be resolved in just ninety times (sixty if you are in custody). When a Defendant asks for a continuance, the Choose will either not want that further time to depend from the 90 times or will check with for a refreshing 90 times -commencing on the date of the continuance request- right before granting the request for continuance. Though this Fast Demo rule is an essential correct – as a useful issue, it extremely not often decides the end result of a scenario. In other text, if your attorney thinks it is really a excellent plan to waive the Fast Demo rule, by giving the State a lot more time to provide you to demo, then it most likely is in your very best fascination.

Motion Hearings

Motions are created legal arguments on why evidence in your circumstance (sometime the whole situation) should be thrown out. There are likely hundreds of motions that could be submitted in a felony situation. Your attorney will know which ones (if any) apply to your certain points.

Motions serve two applications: Initial, if you can suppress proof then you may have a superior prospect of successful if you go to trial. Next, motions are a amazing way to adjust the strength of your scenario consequently earning it a lot more most likely that the prosecution will want to make an offer of settlement that you make essentially want to accept.

A movement hearing seems like a bench trial: They get place in Court and in entrance of a Choose, There could be witnesses, Both equally Defense and Prosecution will make arguments to the Choose and ultimately, the Decide will make a legal ruling on the problem. This is exactly where the similarity to a trial finishes. The stress of evidence at a motion hearing is significantly a lot less that at a demo and the Decide is needed to check out the proof in a motion listening to “in the light-weight most favorable to the Point out.” These two factors incorporate to make a movement listening to simpler for the Condition to earn than the Defense. The purpose powering this unfair edge is basically a very good just one: The heart of our legal program is the Jury Trial. If you get at a Motion Hearing, then you may possibly bypass the Jury Trial solely.


Trials appear in two flavors: Bench and Jury. A bench demo is 1 in which the Judge decides everything. A Jury demo is 1 where 6 men and women (twelve in the circumstance of a Felony) decide what the points are and the Choose decides what the regulation is.

You can waive (give up) your right to a Jury Demo at any time but if you do so then you generally cannot get it back again. If you are at any time requested to choose if you want a Bench or Jury demo, you constantly choose Jury (given that you can usually modify your head) for the reason that if you decide Bench Trial – that’s what you happen to be stuck with.

At trial, the prosecution is essential to prove each individual of the factors of the crime further than a affordable doubt. Your lawyer will go over with you the things (what the state has to show in your circumstance). Your work as a Defendant is to choose no matter whether or not the Condition can confirm every of those things. Can any of the things come to be unprovable if you get at a Movement Hearing?

The outcome of a demo is straightforward: you both earn or you unfastened. If you earn, go home – you happen to be carried out. If you free, then you will typically (although not usually) close up with a very little much more jail time and a small far more fines than if you experienced pled guilty. Is it worth the hazard? Which is a thing for you and your lawyer to decide.


Getting capable to mentally put together for the types of courtroom dates you will experience even though fighting a DUI charge might not do away with the pressure you truly feel, but it will knock it down to a workable stage.

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