Map Of The Generally Unknown Path For Dui And Other Criminal Traffic Charges In Court
a. The initial court appearance will be for an arraignment. You will receive formal notice by mail to appear in court on a specific date and time. Don’t ignore the importance of providing the law enforcement officer with a current address. Be sure and check your mail daily. This notice will usually arrive within 6 weeks of your arrest or traffic stop.
b. During arraignment, you will be formally charged with the crime of DUI (or such crimes as negligent driving in the first degree, reckless driving, hit-and-run or reckless endangerment).
c. After confirming your correct name and date of birth to the court, you will be given a copy of the criminal complaint (the written notice of your charge or charges). Usually your attorney will waive a formal reading of the complaint, acknowledge receiving it, stipulate to probable causes for purposes of the arraignment only, and ask the court to enter a plea of “not guilty.” Accordingly, all your legal rights are preserved for defense purposes.
d. After entry of the plea, the court will set forth conditions for your continued release from custody. The conditions may include: no criminal law violations; no driving without a valid license and insurance; no driving with a BAC level of 0.08 or higher or a THC level of 5 or higher within 2 hours of driving; and no refusals of a lawfully requested breath test. Yet, if you have prior DUI convictions, the court can impose additional conditions. You may be required to post bail, install an ignition interlock device (IID) in your car, be fitted for a scram bracelet (reports any consumption of alcohol), or another condition which the court deems necessary to protect the community. The judge may take you into custody while your case is pending if any conditions are violated.
e. At arraignment, you will also be given the date of out next court hearing – the pre-trial hearing. This is approximately 30 days after arraignment but may be longer and could allow you to choose from a number of available dates and times.
f. The arraignment date will also trigger the clock ticking on your right to a speedy trial. In Washington, you are entitled to have your case brought to trial within 60 days of your arraignment if you are being held in custody, or 90 days if you are not being held in custody. However, recent changes to the law and the courts’ interpretation of those laws have largely diluted this “right.” Whenever you request a continuance, you will be required to “waive” this right to a speedy trial for an additional period of time with a new commencement date that is imposed.
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