• Should I enter a Deferred Prosecution on a 1st offense DUI?

    Probably not. Usually, I would recommend against entering a deferred prosecution on a first offense DUI. In Washington State you get one opportunity to do a deferred prosecution in your lifetime. However, there are exceptions , many clients have little choice because of personal, career or employment considerations. I have had doctors, lawyers, executives, police officers and other professionals enter into a deferred prosecution on a first offense, especially when a DUI conviction was not an acceptable option. Often, with these clients, a reduction even to reckless or negligent driving first degree is still an unsatisfactory resolution. I also do not like a deferred prosecution because like a DUI conviction it has a five year probationary period – whereas reckless and negligent driving the maximum probationary time period is two years. Obviously, you must still meet the eligibility requirements of a deferred prosecution. That said, every person’s situation is unique and you should consult with a DUI attorney to find the best option for you.

  • Why do I always have to sign a speedy trial waiver at Court?

    A speedy trial waiver is usually required to get a continuance (postponement) of the Court hearing to another date. This is a very routine procedure.

    Put simply, in Washington State you have to be brought to Trial within 90 days of arraignment or first appearance. This time-frame is shortened to 60 days if you are in Jail. In most DUI or Physical Control cases you will waive speedy trial several times. (you will execute a speedy trial waiver at Court) Typically, this means the 90 or 60 days begins to run anew . Usually, it is in your interest to have more time for your DUI attorney to interview witnesses, investigate and prepare your case as well as try to resolve it. (there are also exceptions to the speedy trial rule that can also extend the time for trial)

  • What’s the difference between “active” probation and compliance?

    Active probation is where you are ordered to report to probation. You will have to meet with a probation officer of the specific Court on a regular basis. (typically monthly – the frequency of meetings really depend on the Court) Probation is the Court’s “eyes” so to speak to ensure that you timely comply with conditions and obligations of your sentence. Active probation tends to be quite costly. In non-active probation or Sentence Compliance as some Courts call it; you are not assigned a probation officer and do not have to contact probation. The Court Clerk essentially monitors the case. In most DUI cases or reductions where no treatment is ordered your case will most likely be placed on non-active or sentence compliance.

  • Why was a Court Hearing set in my old DUI case?

    Generally, it is when you violate the conditions of your DUI or Physical Control probation. The same would apply even if you received a reduction to Reckless or Negligent Driving. The sentencing Court will set conditions of your probation such as the following at Sentencing:

    Complete an alcohol/drug evaluation and follow recommendation, pay all Court fines and costs, report to probation, not drive a motor vehicle without a valid driver’s license and proof of insurance, no driving with breath or blood alcohol concentration of .08 or greater, no refusal of alcohol test of breath or blood upon reasonable request of a law enforcement, no new criminal violations of law, no alcohol or drug related infractions and Ignition interlock device requirements per DOL.

    The most common DUI probation violations: new criminal law violations, failure to do treatment, failure to do victims panel, failure to report to probation, driving without a valid license/insurance and positive UA’s, among many others.

    You should always consult with a DUI attorney before going to the Court Hearing. It is usually a good idea to have an attorney with you.

  • 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.

  • Why does my DUI case keep getting continued or postponed?

    This is a common client question. Typically, I will have 3-6 DUI pre-trial hearings continuances or postponements in every DUI case. You show up at Court and sign a speedy trial waiver and receive a Court date. You will appear before the Judge for a only few minutes and he/she will typically ask you if you understand the speedy trial waiver you signed and reviewed with your attorney. The Courtroom Clerk will then give you a new court date. (typically 30-60 days depending on the Court).

    There are many reasons for setting it over by your DUI attorney. Including interviewing lay witnesses, interviewing officers or troopers, visiting the scene of the DUI arrest and/or field sobriety tests, reviewing the breath test or blood records, reviewing client medical/mental health records, reviewing client vehicle records, requesting/reviewing other DUI reports from officer, reviewing the in-car/breath test room videos, taking photographs of the arrest scene or FST locations, reviewing the police report/videos with client, securing a breath test and negotiating with the prosecutor – among many others.