DUI Lawyers in Pierce County
If you have been arrested for DUI anywhere in Pierce County by either a WSP trooper or Pierce County Sheriff’s Deputy, your case will likely be filed in Pierce County District Court, which is located in the County-City Building in Tacoma.
DUI filings in Pierce County may take anywhere from two weeks to several months following arrest, though typically are filed within a month of the incident. Although the arresting officer may not given you a date to appear in court, he should have given you the Request for DOL Administrative Hearing form.
Although Pierce County may take weeks to file your DUI case, remember that the Department of Licensing (DOL) plans to suspend your license 30 days following your arrest – regardless of whether you’ve yet been charged – and you face automatic suspension unless you request a hearing within 7 days.
What Will Happen With My Court Case?
At your first appearance (Arraignment), the assigned judge will set conditions of release which may also include enhanced conditions, such as bail or alcohol monitoring (Ignition Interlock Device (IID), SCRAM, EHM with Sobrietor). The court will issue a pretrial hearing date, usually about four to six weeks later.
Which Pierce County Judge Will Handle My DUI Case?
There are currently eight judges assigned to the Pierce County District Court: Karla Buttorf, Jeanette Lineberry, Karl Williams, Dwayne Christopher, Claire Sussman, Lizanne Padula, Lloyd Oaks, and Kevin McCann.
Pierce County judges rotate on a semi-regular basis. At any time, four are assigned to hear DUI and other criminal matters; two hear infractions, and one is assigned exclusively to handle Domestic Violence matters.
Following arraignment, Pierce County District Court cases are assigned to a particular courtroom. Once assigned, your case will likely stay in that courtroom, even if that judge rotates to a new court.
Mary Robnett was elected Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney in November 2018.
The Pierce County bench is known for being tough on DUI and other criminal offenses from Arraignment forward, particularly when there is prior related history. Over the past few years prosecutors in Pierce County have tightened standards when it comes to plea negotiations.
Sounds hopeless. Is it?
Absolutely not. The DUI attorneys at Puget Law Group have the skills, knowledge and experience to aggressively defend you in Pierce County, and we defend DUI cases in Pierce County District Court on a regular basis. Six of our DUI attorneys are former DUI prosecutors – no other DUI defense firm can match that invaluable experience. Together, our DUI attorneys have over 100 years combined experience handling DUI charges throughout Western Washington. Although every case is unique, in Pierce County we are able to obtain reductions, dismissals or deferrals on about 97% of DUI-related charges.
See DUI Penalties in Washington State for more information regarding DOL license suspensions, Ignition Interlock Device, how to request an Administrative Hearing to contest your suspension, and how to apply for a Restricted (IIL) License.
DUI reduced to negligent driving despite breath test 3 times the legal limit
Dane was arrested for Physical Control after the arresting officer found him parked on the side of the freeway with his engine running. He failed field sobriety tests and a breath test revealed his blood alcohol was .24 – three times the legal limit.
Dane’s record was spotless and he had faithfully served his community for twenty years as a law enforcement officer. A DUI conviction might have spelled the end of his illustrious career. During a hearing to determine whether or not Dane’s license would be suspended, Dan got the arresting officer to admit under oath that Dane was in fact “safely off the roadway” when he contacted him, providing a strong defense to his Physical Control charge in court.
Although the prosecutor could have proceeded with a DUI charge, Dan was able to point out challenges there as well, and negotiated a reduction to Negligent Driving 1, with no jail time and no additional license suspension – and most importantly, preserving Dane’s law enforcement career.
Recently I hired Puget Law Group. My now wife (then fiancée) was charged with DUI and facing 90+ days in jail and other horrible consequences. Her last lawyer basically told her to prepare for 90 days of jail and threw his hands up. I was ASTONISHED at his lack of help!
Fast forward to her sentencing. We obviously were stressed out. As soon as we arrived at the courthouse, however, my attorney had great news for us: he had negotiated a deal with the prosecutor to get 99% of the mandatory state minimum jail time suspended! He also was able to push this time out so we could spend the holidays together!