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If you have been arrested for DUI anywhere in King County by either a State Trooper or King County Sheriff’s Deputy, your case will likely be filed in King County District Court (KCDC).
DUI filings in KCDC, which used to be backed up for over a year, now take on average two to four months following arrest. The officer therefore may not have given you a date to appear in court, but he should have given you the Request for DOL Administrative Hearing Form.
You should consult with an experienced King County DUI defense attorney as soon as possible, before your court date. The penalties for a DUI conviction in King County are increasingly harsh and include license suspension, jail time, fines and monetary fees, ignition interlock requirements, and SR-22 insurance requirements. Although KCDC 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.
If you face a DUI charge in King County, it is essential that you speak with a DUI lawyer who understands the current state of King County DUI and Washington DUI law as well as the customs of its courts. The King County bench has rulings on the admissibility of breath tests and refusal evidence that may differ from those in other courts, which in turn benefit your case. You need an attorney who is familiar with these rulings, and up to date with breath test admissibility in King County as well as other area courts.
You also need a DUI attorney who understands how the new Draeger breath test equipment works, and how to attack its reliability.
A strong DUI attorney must also be a skilled and experienced trial attorney. There is simply no way to develop the ability to attack the Government’s BAC witnesses (BAC technicians and state toxicologists) without trial experience.
There are currently several divisions of the King County District Court: South (Kent/RJC, Burien, Auburn), East (Bellevue, Issaquah, and Redmond), and West (Shoreline, Seattle). DUI and other criminal misdemeanor charges are currently filed in Seattle (downtown), Redmond, and Kent/MRJC courts in King County.
Auburn Division only handles City of Auburn criminal cases; Shoreline Division handles King County and Shoreline traffic infractions and Shoreline misdemeanor offenses, and Burien Division handles King County and Burien traffic infractions and Burien misdemeanor offenses.
Each district has several judges assigned to hear DUI and other criminal matters. The King County District Court bench is known for being tough on DUI and other criminal offenses, particularly when there is prior related history.
If you were arrested by a city police officer, for instance in Federal Way or Kent, within city limits, and not on a highway or freeway, chances are your case will be filed in that city’s municipal court.
At your first appearance (Arraignment) the Court will set conditions of release which may include bail and/or enhanced conditions (Ignition Interlock Device, 24/7 alcohol monitoring, etc). The court will issue a pretrial hearing date, usually about four to six weeks later.
The outcome of your King County DUI case depends on several factors. Was there a breath test or a refusal? What was the Breath Alcohol Content (BAC) reading? Did you do Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs)? Did you admit to drinking? Were there any passengers in the car? Were you cooperative with the officer?
If you have been recently arrested for DUI in King County, or charged with DUI in King County District Court, you need an experienced attorney who is both focused on DUI defense, with knowledge of the policies and customs of the KCDC system and the King County Prosecuting Attorneys that handle DUI cases there.
Dan Satterberg has served as the King County Prosecuting Attorney since 2007. Prosecutors in King County are notoriously tight-fisted when it comes to plea offers. In fact, it appears their deputy prosecutors have been ordered to not negotiate DUI cases at all. Because of this, trial is common in KCDC even for first offense DUIs. More DUI cases go to trial in King County District Court than any other court.
Absolutely. The DUI attorneys at Puget Law Group have the skills, knowledge and experience to aggressively defend you in King County, and we handle DUI cases in King County District Court on a regular basis. DUI Attorneys Dan Gerl and Casey Arbenz are former DUI prosecutors, who along with Nick Andrews and Zannie Carlson, have combined over 50 years of experience fighting DUI charges throughout Western Washington. Although every case is unique, in King County we are able to obtain reductions, dismissals or deferrals on about 95% of DUI-related charges.
In DUI cases, one of the issues that we closely scrutinize is the legal basis for the traffic stop. In this case, Demarcus was stopped for having a green light bulb in his headlights. After thoroughly researching the traffic laws, we found that there was no law that prohibited the use of green colored lightbulbs in headlights, we were able to negotiate a reduction from DUI to Negligent Driving in the First Degree for Demarcus.
“Excellent service and help with all aspects of the law and options relating to my specific case. Definitely felt like a whole team was helping to get the best outcome.”