When to expect a court date following a DUI arrest in King County

One of the most common questions I get asked whenever I speak with someone who was recently arrested for a DUI in King County. Is when will my first court date happen? A few years ago this was more difficult to guess due to the delayed filings of DUI cases that routinely happened in King County. However DUI cases are now being filed more consistently and thus it is easier to tell someone when to expect that unpleasant letter in the mail.

To pinpoint exactly when to expect that first DUI court date. Two things need to be known. First who was the law enforcement agency that arrested you? Secondly was there a blood test involved. So let’s go over all the possible scenarios.

If you were arrested by the Seattle Police Department. Then the arresting officer will give you notice of your first court date personally. This is typically 2-3 business days following the DUI arrest. Your first hearing will be in the Seattle Municipal Court. This assumes there was no blood test involved. Because a blood sample needs to be analyzed by the State Toxicologist office this can delay the filing 2-3 months. If this applies to you then you will receive a letter in the mail from the Seattle Municipal Court in that time frame informing of your a Court date.

If you were arrested by the Washington State Patrol then your DUI case will be filed in one of the King County District Courts. The Courts that would be applicable to hear the DUI case would be in Redmond, downtown Seattle, and at the Regional Justice Center in Kent. Unfortunately it can be difficult to expect where the DUI case will be filed if the arresting officer is not known. In other words lets say you were arrested in Seattle. Conventional thinking would suggest the DUI case would be in the downtown Seattle court, but that is not necessarily true. Depending on how the arresting officer was it could be in Redmond or in Kent. An experienced DUI Lawyer would be familiar with most of the Troopers who arrest in Seattle for DUI and can give advice on where to expect the DUI charge filed based on prior experience with that Trooper.

Lets say you were arrested by a local law enforcement agency in the outlining eastside cities. Such as Redmond, Bellevue, Issaquah, Newcastle, Mercer Island, etc. Typically these cases take a little longer to get filed. Usually around 30 days. So expect a letter in the mail informing of that first DUI court date.

Law enforcement agencies in South King County seem to be a little sooner in filing DUI cases. Des Moines, Tukwila, Auburn seem to file DUI charges relatively quickly. Often times seeing a Judge the next day following a DUI arrest.

The law enforcement agencies in North King County typically file within 30 days. So in Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, etc. You will get a letter in the mail much the same way the Eastside cities do it.

Obviously things can vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. But if you’re facing a DUI offense in King County speak with an experienced DUI lawyer to help navigate you through the process, explain where your DUI case will be, and when to expect that first court date.

About the author: Matthew Leyba is a DUI Lawyer based in Seattle, WA. He practices throughout Western WA and has been rated as one of the best Seattle DUI lawyers by Avvo.com, a nationally renown lawyer rating service. Additionally he has been repeatedly recognized by the Seattle Met Magazine as a Rising Star in this area of DUI Defense, only a fraction of other DUI lawyers receive this award.