Written by Stryder Wegener
You may have made an unfortunate mistake by violating Washington State’s law on Driving Under the Influence (DUI), but an arrest doesn’t mean the end of your case. You’ll still have an opportunity to defend the charges and present evidence in your favor. However, you can’t just show up with your fingers crossed and hope for the best. Preparation for a DUI court appearance in Seattle starts well in advance, so it’s wise to get started with a few essential tasks right away.
Your first order of business is to retain skilled legal counsel to represent you in connection with DUI proceedings. Our team at Emerald City Law Group is prepared to tackle the challenges in a drunk driving case, and we’ll aggressively defend your interests in court. Please call 206-973-0407 or visit our website to set up a no-cost consultation today. Our Seattle DUI defense lawyers can handle the critical legal issues, and we’ll advise you on some of other tasks that are up to you.
Before Your Court Date
For the best possible results, preparation for your hearing starts immediately after your arrest. You’ll split some of the key responsibilities with your attorney to ensure you have the best results..
Write Down Notes on Your DUI Arrest: The most minute details can really make a difference when you go to court for drunk driving charges, so make sure to itemize everything you recall. In your journal, you should include:
- why you believe police pulled you over; and
- all conversations and interactions with officers, including field sobriety tests, a portable breathalyzer exam, and others
Review Plea Options with Your Lawyer: After your DUI defense attorney assesses the details of your case, you can discuss how you want to plead to the charges. Under some circumstances, such as a first offense, you may opt for a guilty plea in exchange for a lenient sentence or deferred prosecution. If you’ll plead not guilty, you and your lawyer must prepare for trial.
Schedule Alcohol Assessment and Treatment: Washington State requires you to participate and complete this type of program as part of your sentence if convicted. Signing up in advance of your court date shows you in a positive light and demonstrates that you’re taking the DUI charges seriously.
The Day of Your DUI Court Appearance in Seattle
When the date of your hearing arrives, there are several things you need to do to prepare of your case. Make sure to show up early so you can go over last-minute issues with your lawyer and to ensure you complete the necessary preparatory items.
Review Your Notes: That information you wrote down right after your DUI arrest is helpful for refreshing your memory about everything that transpired. Since a few weeks have passed, you should go over these notes again to prepare for questioning in court.
Dress for Success: In many ways, your drunk driving court date is like a job interview; perhaps it’s even more important because you’re facing fines, incarceration, and other sanctions. Dress in a way that projects professionalism and responsibility. In addition, you should treat the entire proceeding with the respect it deserves. Address the judge as “Your Honor,” and all other court officials with “Sir” or “Ma’am.”
Bring Essential Evidence: Your attorney will handle document requests to obtain the police report, results of chemical tests, and other information from the prosecution. However, there’s other evidence that may be crucial for your defense, such as
- Testimony from passengers in your car;
- Your medical records regarding any condition that may affect chemical tests; and,
- Information regarding your performance on field sobriety tests, such as weather reports showing heavy rain, snow, or related conditions.
Prepare Yourself for Every Possible Outcome: You and your lawyer may have been thorough and covered every detail of your defense, but you must be ready for a worst case scenario. If convicted for a first-time drunk driving offense, the crime is a misdemeanor. You could face several possible outcomes:
- Mandatory minimum imprisonment, depending on your blood alcohol concentration;
- A fine ranging from $940.50 up to $5,000, in addition to court costs;
- Probation up to five years;
- A driver’s license suspension of 90 days;
- The requirement to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle; and,
- Other penalties to be determined by the court
Call Now to Speak to a DUI Defense Attorney in Seattle
These tips on how to prepare for a DUI court appearance in Seattle should be helpful, but you can also rely on our team at Emerald City Law Group for assistance. Please contact our office to schedule your free appointment today. Once we review the details of your case, we can explain defense options and other strategies for fighting drunk driving charges.