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In most Counties, Whatcom County, Skagit County and Island County, court immediately follows an arrest for driving under the influence. You can expect to appear in court quickly and need to make serious decisions soon after the shock of the arrest sets in. In Snohomish County the timing of court following the arrest for DUI is not so consistent. Most every city in Snohomish County, Lynnwood, Everett, Marysville, Lake Stevens, Mukilteo, Mountlake Terrace and Edmonds, will all require your presence in court within days of your arrest for DUI. However, the County does not practice this well worn consistency.
If you were arrested by a Washington State Trooper or Snohomish County Sheriff, you will not receive a court date on your release from custody. In such instances you are left to wonder when you will appear in court. Over the years local Snohomish County DUI lawyers have been able to predict when an individual would appear in one of the Counties four District Courts. The answer has always been 4-6 weeks. However, in mid-2016, the appearance dates have been unpredictable. For instance, in our office, we have half a dozen clients who were arrested for DUI in Snohomish County in March and April who have not yet received a court date. This has left these individuals in a state of limbo, unable to schedule work commitments or travel plans because of the uncertainty of when court will require their attendance.
The question then remains, if Snohomish County has previously required DUI defendants to appear in court 4-6 weeks after the arrest, why the lengthy details now? There has been speculation regarding this matter for many months. Some have speculated that the delays are due to under-staffing at the Snohomish County prosecuting attorney’s office. I think this is not correct, however. Recently the Snohomish County Prosecutor has hired some additional prosecutors to add to their staff, therefore increasing the number of prosecutors at their disposal. Others have suggested the delays have been caused by too many cases that remain unresolved in the prosecutor’s office. Yet others have suggested that the reason for the delay in filing new charges against DUI drivers is because of a combination of a high number of unresolved cases and the pending Draeger BAC decision. This last reason for filing delays makes sense to me.
In Snohomish County the Draeger BAC machine is under intense scrutiny. The machine has software that determines the calculations of breath tests, and therefore critical to the accuracy of these tests. Yet the prosecutor’s office would not provide the necessary information needed to evaluation the accuracy of this software. The same could be said for the Washington State Patrol and even Draeger USA. Their refusal to cooperate lead to lengthy litigation that resulted in a Court Order demanding the production of this software. The matter is still pending but the result is that hundreds of DUI cases in Snohomish County remain in limbo. This situation has undoubtedly caused the Snohomish County Prosecutor’s Office severe anxst, as they must not only fight the current litigation but also now have a backlog of DUI cases that will soon need resolving. Because of this, in my humble opinion, the filing of new DUI cases has trickled to a slow drip. As a result, the majority of new DUI cases in Snohomish County are not filed immediately. Those individuals who have been arrested for driving under the influence must now wait an unknown period of time, wondering when their day in court will come. If you are one of these individuals you may no choice but to wait. However, this does give you more time to meet with and research the best DUI attorney in Snohomish County for you. It also gives you more time to save for the retainer, to hire the lawyer. However, do not forget that the deadlines imposed by the Department of Licensing are not affected by Snohomish County’s delay in filing charges in court.
As always, if you have been arrested for DUI in Snohomish County please contact a local criminal defense lawyer and start preparing your defense today. The earlier you prepare the better the results will be.
Call for a Free Consultation: (425) 493-1115 | (360) 336-8722
Following an arrest for DUI in Snohomish County you, like the rest of the world, would expect to receive notice of a court date. This is the normal procedure in every City and County north of Snohomish County. However, Snohomish County doesn't follow the rules when it comes to filing DUI cases as they delay the filing. In 2016 such filings have taken months longer. But why? This blog article examines that question.
Why the Delay in 2016?
The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Further, if you are not a United States Citizens we strongly encourage consulting with an immigration attorney to determine how a criminal charge may affect your immigration status.
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Whatcom County: 218 W. Champion St., Bellingham, WA 98225
Skagit County: 415 Pine St., Mount Vernon, WA 98273
Snohomish County: 2731 Wetmore Avenue, #401, Everett, WA 98201