DUI Court on Saturday?
March 14th, 2009
A citizen arrested for DUI might be surprised to learn that he could have his first court appearance on a Saturday. This is another example of the different treatment given to citizens who are arrested for DUI. The law, RCW 46.61.50571, specifically states that a citizen who is charged with a DUI or Physical Control must appear in person before a judge within one judicial day after arrest if that person was served with a citation or complaint at the time of arrest. What this means is that if you got a ticket for DUI on the night you were arrested, you likely will be having court the next judicial day. In cities such as Seattle, where the Seattle police DUI squad typically does issue a DUI citation at the time of arrest, the next "judicial day" often is a Saturday. In contrast, the Washington State Patrol typically does not issue a citation at the time of a DUI arrest. Instead, the trooper will send his police report to the prosecutor's office who, at some later date, will file a complaint with the District Court. The District Court then sets an arraignment date not more than 14 days after the filing of the complaint. This process might take a month or more. The application of RCW 46.61.50571 results in very different court dates for an individual charged with DUI, depending entirely upon which police agency made the arrest. If two individuals were arrested for DUI on a Thursday night, the individual arrested by the Seattle police DUI squad would likely find himself in court facing a judge on Saturday, whereas the same individual arrested on a Thursday by the Washington State patrol for DUI might not have his first court appearance for a month. This statute is typical of many DUI statutes -- there are subtleties to the DUI laws that must be known if an effective defense is to be provided.