What happens at the first DUI Court appearance in Washington?

The first Court appearance in a DUI case is called arraignment. It is when DUI charges are formally filed against you. At your DUI Arraignment Court Hearing the Judge or prosecutor will go over basic information about you (full name/date of birth – want to make sure got right person) and your legal constitutional rights at DUI Arraignment (some Courts will have a form that you will sign and submit to the Court – right to speedy trial, jury trial, presumption of innocence etc..)

Your attorney will then (1) acknowledge receipt of the DUI complaint from the prosecutor, (2) waive any formal reading of the DUI complaint/charge in open Court and (3) enter a not guilty plea to the Court on your behalf. The Judge will then determine if there was probable cause (PC) for the stop/arrest (by reviewing police report) which can always be challenged in a later Motions Hearing. (judge must find PC at arraignment to set below conditions of release)

The Judge will then proceed to set conditions of your release pending the outcome of your case and this may include fairly Standard DUI Condition s such as:

  • Not operating a motor vehicle without a valid license or insurance;
  • No refusal of a breath/blood/drug test upon reasonable request of law enforcement officer;
  • No new criminal law violations or alcohol-related infractions;
  • No consumption of alcohol, THC, controlled substances or non-prescribed medications;
  • No driving with a BAC over .08 within two hours after driving;
  • Appear for all scheduled court dates;
  • Report any change of address to the court.
The conditions ultimately set depend on your prior driving/criminal history and the specific facts (i.e. breath test reading, driving, accident) of your case. The concern is whether or not you are a threat to the community (i.e. will continue to drink and drive) or you are a flight risk (not likely to show up for court). The Court can also impose additional conditions to minimize and/or mitigate your potential threat to the community or to secure your appearance such as: Requiring the IID (ignition interlock device) on any and all vehicles you may drive; Impose EHM (electronic home monitoring – house arrest); Impose Scram (alcohol monitoring device); Set Bail ($500.00+);
You are typically before the Judge for only a few minutes. Although, you may spend awhile waiting for your turn. Every Court has different procedures. However, most will take those defendants with a private attorney first.