Overview of Court Procedures in DUI & Related Cases
What Kinds of Proceedings Can I expect if I’m Arrested for DUI?
In Washington, two separate proceedings typically begin if you are arrested or charged
with a driving offense and blow a BAC or provide a blood test over the legal limit
or refuse to provide a breath sample. First, you will likely be cited into court
to answer to your charge.
Department of Licensing Administrative Hearing
In addition to the criminal charge in court, the Department of Licensing (DOL) will
likely begin an administrative process to suspend or revoke your right to drive for
a defined period of time. You have a right to have a DOL hearing and will need to
pay careful attention to the time limits for requesting that hearing. If you don’t
request the hearing in time, you can lose your right to fight the suspension or revocation.
In most cases, our flat fee includes representation in both the criminal case and
the civil, administrative DOL hearing.
First Court Appearance and Arraignment
Typically in Southwest Washington Court, bail and release conditions are determined
by the judge at the first appearance and additional appearances are scheduled. At
the first appearance, the judge makes a determination about whether to set bail or
other conditions of release and additional court appearances will likely be scheduled.
It is often important to have an attorney at this first appearance as courts are
getting heavier handed with pre-trial release conditions. Recent statute changes
require strict monitoring and release conditions in some cases, particularly where
there are prior alcohol-related, driving offenses. Having an attorney present at
the first appearance can make a substantial difference in trying to avoid more stringent
In a misdemeanor case, at the first appearance, we will typically enter a plea of
not guilty to preserve all the client’s rights. This is standard procedure. In
felony cases, however, another hearing (called arraignment) typically follows within
a short time period. At arraignment, the state will present the formal charging
instrument and the person being accused will be asked to enter a plea. In either
case, getting an attorney involved before entering a plea or speaking with the judge
can help you protect your rights, help you to avoid giving the prosecutor statements
that can be used against you, and preserve all of your options.
Pre-Trial Court Hearings and Procedures
During the time after first appearances and before trial or pre-trial hearing dates,
your attorney will gather information from the state, including the police reports
and any other evidence the state may use in its case. Some kind of pre-trial hearing
is usually scheduled. In regular DUI and misdemeanor cases, this gives the parties
a chance to see if they can resolve the case before trial and to handle or schedule
for pre-trial matters, like motions to suppress evidence.
Aggressive attorneys typically conduct an independent investigation during the pre-trial
stage and will interview state’s witnesses. If legal issues helpful to the defense
can be raised, the attorney will often file motions. Sometimes pre-trial motions
are used as bargaining chips. Your aggressive DUI lawyer will use available angles
obtain the best available offer for pre-trial settlement, if you are at all interested
in settling the case. If you are focused on fighting the charge, your aggressive
DUI attorney digs in, fights important pre-trial battles and prepares to attack the
government’s case during trial. Ms. Dalton is an aggressive DUI lawyer, skilled
and experienced in trial and motions.
Making all of your court appearances is extremely important. Prosecutors often file
additional charges of bail jumping when defendants miss court and this can seriously
complicate trying to resolve a case.
Trial, Pleas and Alternative Resolutions
Depending on the circumstances, some cases may be resolved without entering a guilty
plea to a charge or by entering into treatment programs that can drastically reduce
the amount of jail time that might otherwise be imposed. The options vary, depending
on the seriousness and the type of charge, and can include deferred prosecutions,
and drug or mental health and treatment alternatives. Your attorney can advise you
as to whether any of these options might be available to you.
Aggressive criminal defense services available in Southwest Washington areas including
Clark County, Vancouver, Camas, Washougal, Battleground, Ridgefield, Cowlitz County,
Skamania County, and other areas.
Ms. Dalton is a skilled and experienced fighter who takes the time to find out what
clients want and need and fights for the best result possible.
Get help now by calling 360-213-0013 for your free initial consultation.
The Law Office of Nicole T. Dalton, PLLC -HOME PAGE
2904 Main Street, Suite 100, Vancouver, WA 98663
Phone 360-213-0013 - FAX 360-213-0714
Whether you choose to fight your case or you are looking for damage control ... having
an experienced, skilled, and aggressive DUI attorney will provide you with the ability
to make an informed decision and choose your best available option with confidence.