DUI Charges: How Long Does It Take To File Them?
by Lewis & Laws
Length of Time Varies for DUI Charges
If a person is pulled over for suspicion of DUI, the length of time it takes to file charges may change dramatically based on the nature of the contact, whether the person was kept in custody, and the jurisdiction the offense is alleged to have taken place.
In King County, there are several District Courts which handle County charges located in places such as Burien and Redmond. Any traffic violation in King County, regardless of whether the violation occurred within city or county property, will likely be filed in a District Court if the officer as a member of the Washington State Patrol or King County Sheriff's Office.
While the filing of DUI charges would commonly take up to several months in King County District Courts, it has become far more common for DUI charges to be filed within a month of the violation. It is exceptionally unlikely that an person facing a DUI charge out of King County District Court will recieve a notice from the officer at the time of arrest to appear in court later on, as such notice will likely be provided via mail. Some possible reasons for this change in filing practice may be due to recent changes in state law involving vehicle impound laws, possible changes involving interlock restrictions, and several high-profile DUI cases where persons recieved new charges while dealing with a prior case.
The same time frame is generally followed in Seattle Municipal Court. A person arrested for suspicion of DUI by a Seattle Police Officer will likely be charged with a DUI within a month of the date of violation. In Seattle, it's more common that a person arrested for DUI will recieve a notice to appear in in court at the time of arrest.
For other courts, the filing process may take only a matter of days. In Everett Municipal Court, a person pulled over on suspicion of DUI on Monday might have a notice to appear provided by the officer to appear in court on Wednesday morning for arraignment.
Waiting to Hear About Potential Charges?
If you were pulled over for a DUI and have not heard anything from the court about potential charges, do not assume the court has forgotten about you. As mentioned above, some courts take longer than others to file charges. While most jurisdictions seem to be placing a greater emphasis on filing things in a timely matters, there are always exceptions to this rule. Make sure your address is up to date and notify the Department of Licensing of any changes. If a court sends you notice of a hearing and you don't get it, the likelihood of a warrant issuing is substantial.
Also, remember you have 20 days from the date of violation to contest an administrative hearing to fight a suspension of your driver's license. If you haven't heard anything from the courts and don't believe a charge is going to be filed, do not assume the Department of Licensing will drop the matter. They are a completely different entity with different rules, and if a person waits too long to fight for their driver's license they may miss the chance to do so.
If you were arrested on suspicion of DUI, it might be in your best interest to contact an attorney as soon as possible for a consultation to discuss your potential outcomes and see which timeline is more likely for your case. Please contact one of our experienced attorneys today and see how we can help you.