How intrustive into your personal & work life will a Seattle DUI arrest be?

One of the most common questions I get asked from someone facing a DUI charge in Seattle is how much will this DUI impact my life right now in terms of time. Specifically when it comes to going to court, taking time off of work, changing vacation plans, etc. Believe it or not if this is your first DUI offense then you actually have a lot of say about when you go to court, how often, and even whether or not you have to appear.

How often do you have to go to Court on a Seattle DUI

If you’re facing a first offense DUI here in the Seattle area or anywhere in Western Washington for that matter than you will have to go to Court a minimum of three to five times and in some cases possibly more. Your first hearing will be your arraignment. Unfortunately on a DUI charge your presence cannot be waived for an arraignment. The next hearing will be the pretrial hearing. Usually the first pretrial hearing will be continued to another date so the case can be investigated and then negotiated. So in some cases the quickest a case can be resolved would be by the third court date. However it is not common for there to be a sentencing hearing after a person pleads guilty.
Do you have to go to all of your Court dates

As I stated above in Seattle and most other Washington State courts you will be required to attend the arraignment hearing. This is where you enter a not guilty plea, conditions of release are imposed, and you’re given another court date. Sometimes that other court date will not require a mandatory appearance. Often times if I have a client who lives out of state a Judge will waive their presence for this hearing, since nothing of note usually happens. The other types of hearings where a persons presence will be mandatory is when they plead guilty, when they are sentenced, and the jury trial of course.
Can the Court dates be coordinated with your schedule

Yes most definitely. If this is your first DUI offense then you have more say about scheduling the court dates. Heck look no further than the Marshawn Lynch DUI case that is currently going on in California. I read recently that Marshawn Lynch’s DUI Attorney litigated a motion in California on 11/1/13. From the sounds of the article it looks like Lynch’s presence was waived for that hearing. The trial is currently set for the end of December. However the Seahawks will still be playing by then, and it looks like that trial will be continued to the offseason. This is not at all uncommon for schedules to be accommodated in a DUI case. Especially with out of state defendants that have no prior history and they work full time.

If you have been arrested for a DUI in the Seattle area. Yes you will have to go to Court and yes it might be a bit of a nuisance to have to take time off of work. But you can schedule the Court dates well in advance and the Courts can be pretty accommodating about when they are, and in some cases even waiving the presence of the defendant for some preliminary hearings.

About the author: Matthew Leyba has been named as one of Seattle’s best criminal DUI Attorneys in Western, WA by both and Seattle Met Magazine. His practice focuses on representing those charged with DUI and other traffic related offenses.