Questions About Your DUI?
| Questions About Your DUI? |
Renton DUI Attorney
What happens now?
Renton DUI Lawyer Jason S. Newcombe
Serving all of King County
What happens after my King County or Renton DUI arrest?
The first thing that you need to understand is that when you have been arrested for DUI here in Washington State, you are really facing two separate prosecutions. The first case is with the Washington State Department of Licensing, and it is critical that your properly preserve your right to challenge this suspension.
If you either provided a breath or a blood sample that was above .08, or you refused to submit to a breath or blood test at the station or the hospital, the WA State Department of Licensing will attempt to suspend your license for a minimum 90 to 365 days.
If this is your first offense, the suspension will be for 90 days if your test was above the .08 legal limit, and for 365 days if you refused to submit to a test altogether. If this was your second ore greater DUI arrest within the last seven years, the mandatory suspension period increases dramatically.
1. Washington State Department of Motor Vehicle Hearing:
To challenge the suspension and attempt to preserve your right to drive in Washington state, you must request a hearing within 20 days after your Renton DUI arrest. Having to file this request is often a complete shock to many of our clients who tell us that the arresting officer never told them of such a requirement.
Unfortunately, the arresting officer is not required to do so by law. Instead, he or she is only required to provide you with the hearing request form, which should have been given to you after you were booked and released. If you did not get a form, we can assist you in finding the form online.
If you had a valid license when stopped were stopped, your driving privileges are NOT automatically revoked as a result of your arrest. Typically, the officer also does not confiscate your otherwise valid Washington state driver’s license simply as a result of your DUI arrest. Instead, the officer punches a hole through it indicating that you have been arrested for DUI and are on a probationary license.
You must properly challenge your DOL suspension.
It is absolutely imperative that you make a timely request for a hearing and challenge the underlying suspension pursuant to your Washington DUI arrest. If you do not request a hearing under the “Implied Consent” law within 20 days of your Renton DUI arrest, your license will almost certainly be suspended for a minimum of 90 days.
Our offices will fight the hearing on your behalf. If you lose the hearing, you license will be suspended for minimum of 90 days once a final written order is issued. Depending on the specific facts of your case, however, you should be eligible for a type hardship permit called an Ignition Interlock Device License ("IID License").
This will allow you to drive any vehicle equipped with an ignition interlock device, commonly referred to as a "Blow and Go". If you drive a company vehicle for work, you can also apply for a waiver or exemption for this vehicle, but your employer must sign the waiver application. When you call our offices, we can verify whether or not you will be eligible for an IID License.
If you refused the breath test, your potential license suspension is for one year. Even if your license is suspended, however, you will probably still be eligible for the Ignition Interlock Device License. If you need an Ignition Interlock Device License, we can assist you in applying for and securing one.
2. Your Renton DUI Arraignment:
The second prosecution that you face after your Renton DUI arrest is in the King County District or Renton Municipal criminal court system. Where you are ultimately ordered to appear will depend in large part on where you were arrested and by which Washington law enforcement agency made your arrest.
For example, if you were arrested by either a Washington State Trooper or a King County Deputy Sheriff, you will most likely be ordered to appear in one of King County's District Courts. If, however, you were arrested by the City of Renton Municipal Police, you will probably be ordered to appear in the Renton Municipal Court.
If you were arrested by Renton Municipal police, you were also probably not released that night. In which case, you were probably either arraigned the next day or made bail.
In any case, the criminal process for actually fighting your Renton drunk driving charge begins at this first hearing, which is called an arraignment. This date is sometime found on ticket issued to you by the arresting officer. Often, however, the matter is simply under “investigation” following your arrest.
If your Renton DUI remains under investigation following you arrest, you will be mailed a notice to appear for your arraignment. Your presence at your arraignment is mandatory. Unlike many other types of misdemeanor criminal charges, a Renton DUI arraignment cannot be waived by your attorney.
As a practical matter, however, unless this is your second offense, most Renton DUI arraignments are pretty straightforward. The most significant thing that happens is that a “not guilty” plea is entered on your behalf and the matter is set for a Pre-Trial Hearing.
The other significant thing that will happen at your arraignment is that the judge will impose various "release conditions" pending your next hearing. If this is not your first offense, however, you should also be prepared to post bail.
The primary function of your arraignment, however, is to advise you of your rights. Any seasoned Renton DUI attorney should be able to tell you what to expect, and what conditions the sitting judge is likely to impose.
3. Pre-trial Hearing
After you arraignment, the matter will be set for a Pre-trial Hearing. At your Pre-trial Hearing, your case will either be resolved through plea negotiations or it will be set for trial. Most Renton DUI cases are resolved prior to going to trial. Our offices have handled hundreds of King County, Renton, and Washington DUI cases over the years.
The simple truth is that there is no way to predict how your case will turn out and whether it will be resolved at your Pre-trial Hearing until our offices have a chance to review your police reports. WA DUI law is very complex. We literally look for hundreds of potential issues in every case. As a result, every case is unique and very fact specific.
4. Suppression Hearing (“Motions Date”):
If your DUI case is NOT resolved at your Pre-trial Hearing, it will be put on a trial track. Prior to your actual trial, however, a “Motions Date” will be set. The Motions Date is a suppression hearing. Prior to this hearing, we will have filed specific motions to suppress many pieces of significant evidence.
After hearing testimony and argument regarding the specific facts of your case and Washington’s DUI laws, the Court will likely suppress some or perhaps much of the evidence against you if your constitutional or statutory rights have been violated. Typically, your suppression hearing occurs anywhere two to three weeks prior to your actual trial. But it may also happen much closer to or much further out than your actual trial date. This depends on a number of circumstances that are not in our control. Many King County and Renton DUI cases are resolved after this hearing but prior to trial.
In the event that your case is not resolved following your suppression hearing, it will proceed to trial. Renton DUI trials are almost always a trial to a jury of six “peers” drawn from the local community.
In order for you to be found guilty, all six juror must be convinced and find beyond a reasonable doubt that you were in fact driving under the influence of intoxicants in Renton, WA on the date in question. If your case proceeds to trial, we will go over in detail what to expect.
In the event that you either plead guilty or are found guilty at trial, the Court will impose a sentence. As detailed on our page regarding “Washington DUI Penalties”, the Court is bound to sentence you to the mandatory minimums based on Washington’s DUI statutes and sentencing guidelines.
But these are only the “mandatory minimums”. The Court is free to sentence you up the maximum penalty allowed under Washington State law, which is 365 days in jail and a $5,000 fine.