Seattle DUI Arraignment Explained

In a Seattle Municipal Court DUI case, the arraignment is a time to enter a plea of “guilty” or “not guilty” to the charge. A “Seattle DUI attorney” (an attorney who appears regularly in this court) will know that the arraignment in a DUI charge in Seattle Municipal Court requires preparation if unpleasant surprises are to be avoided. Whereas one function of the appearance at a DUI arraignment is for the court to enter the “not guilty” plea into the official record of proceedings in the DUI case, the court also has the power to set bail and to impose conditions on an individual’s release pending the resolution of the Seattle DUI charge.

It is important for the Seattle DUI attorney to know what facts are alleged in the case and it is equally important for the Seattle DUI attorney to know, in detail, the client’s record. These factors are important because typically, these are the facts the court will consider at a Seattle Municipal Court DUI arraignment when setting bail. Bail is set at the discretion of the judge and I have seen bail as high as $20,000 and I have heard of bail being set even higher than that in this court, depending upon the facts.

It is not uncommon for bail and conditions of release in a Seattle DUI arrest (a misdemeanor charge) to be more onerous than would be imposed in Superior Court in many felony charges. Imposition of bail means that an individual who can’t post bail either personally or through a bail bondsman will sit in jail awaiting a trial date. In addition, if released, the court may order conditions such as electronic home detention, ignition interlock, total abstinence from alcohol and the like.

Bear in mind, however, that if there is no prior record, a breath test at or near the legal limit, and no accident, the court is likely to release the accused on “personal recognizance” with “standard conditions” usually including no consumption of alcohol, no criminal law offenses, and no driving without a license and insurance. Violation of any of these conditions can result in revocation of personal recognizance and the setting of high bail. It is very important to prepare properly for a DUI arraignment in Seattle Municipal Court. A “Seattle DUI attorney” such as any of us at Fox Bowman Duarte can be of great assistance in this situation.