Is "arraignment" a mandatory appearance for BUI?

No. In Washington State, District and Municipal Courts require the Defendant's mandatory appearance at DUI or Physical Control Arraignment's. Fortunately, Boating under the Influence (BUI) cases are not included. So if you have timely obtained counsel, your lawyer may file paperwork waiving that initial arraignment hearing and entering a plea of not guilty on "your" behalf. The Court Clerk will then set a pre-trial hearing as your next Court date. Typically 30-45 days from the original arraignment date. (Caveat: some local Court rules might still require your appearance)

If you don't have a lawyer yet, you will still have to appear.

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