Arrested for DUI in Seattle? Show up to Court with a Lawyer

I recently appeared on the arraignment calendar in the Seattle Municipal Court for a DUI. While I was waiting another case was called. I happened to be listening to the arraignment and I was quite surprised what happened? Long story short, if you get a DUI in Seattle you better show up with a lawyer.

As I was saying I was at the arraignment calendar in Seattle Municipal Court. The arraignment calendar in Seattle Municipal Court is not like the arraignment calendar in King County District for a DUI. Unlike King County District Court where there 40-50 DUI arraignments heard, SMC only has 5-10. So it is a pretty small calendar, and they handle it very quickly.

In this case the defendant in question showed up without a DUI Lawyer. Usually there is a public defender there to stand in as the attorney for the day. But for some reason this particular defendant did not want to be represented by the public defender for the day. He said his breath test was below the legal limit and therefore he didnt need a DUI Lawyer and he was going to handle this himself.

So the Judge allowed the defendant to appear pro se. The defendant pleaded not guilty as he should. But that is when things took a turn for the worse. The Prosecutor asked the Judge to impose bail, and an ignition interlock requirement due to the alleged driving. The defendant obviously had never been arrested for a DUI in Seattle before, so he did not know what to say.

The Judge then decided to impose bail AND the ignition interlock requirement. Again the defendant didnt know what to say. Before he could put a sentence together the Judge called the next case. And there you have it. Even if you get arrested for a DUI and your alcohol level is below the legal limit. In Seattle you’re subject to the same conditions of release that another Court would impose on someone who had multiple DUI’s.

The moral of the story is this. Always show up to Court with a DUI Lawyer. This is not some trick by the DUI Defense bar to try and scare people into hiring us. Literally horrible things happen when you go at it by yourself. And this defendant was just another example of someone not taking their situation seriously just because they happened to get arrested for a DUI and their breath test was below the legal limit.

Matthew Leyba is the owner of Leyba Defense PLLC. A DUI Law Firm located in the Seattle Bellevue area of Western Washington focusing on representing those accused of DUI and other traffic offenses. If you have been charged with a DUI contact our office immediately to set up a free consultation.