The first thing I recommend one do after being arrested for DUI in King County is take a deep breath & remind yourself that you're going to be ok. Is it a good situation to be in? Uh, no. Is it a position that you that you should find yourself in again? Heck, no. That being said, you aren't the first or last good person to have been arrested for DUI. One of the reasons I sincerely enjoy this area of law is because I genuinely like the large majority of my clients. They are: business professionals, medical professionals, mothers, fathers, people of faith, college students, union members, etc... Unlike many crimes, the offense of DUI doesn't include an intent to harm anyone as an element. As a result, the large majority of my clients are good people who simply made a mistake. Drinking too much and getting behind the wheel can absolutely result in others being harmed, but I am yet to have a client who set out to hurt someone before getting in their vehicle after having drank too much. Long story short: you are going to get through this. You want to get things handled right; you want to get things handled clean; and then you want to move on. I am confident you will never look back on your arrest and the process that followed and smile warmly. That being said, this is going to pass. I tell my clients initially that one of their main goals should be that this arrest doesn't change their family, their job, etc... In order to achieve these goals, it is imperative to hire someone good to represent you.
After remind yourself that you are going to be ok, I recommend attempting to locate your vehicle. Washington State law requires a mandatory tow in all DUI arrests. Thus, barring an error on someone's part, your vehicle will likely be sitting in a towing yard. Further, the longer your car sits in the towing yard, the more expensive it will be when attempting to retrieve it. You should be given a tow form by law enforcement or the jail upon your release. If not, an experienced attorney who focuses in DUI defense should be able to help you locate your vehicle. While a DUI arrestee cannot pick up their vehicle until 12 hours have passed since the incident, arrangements should be made to get the vehicle out of the tow yard sooner than later.
At this point, I recommend that you reach out to an attorney with an outstanding reputation who focuses in DUI defense. Calling the lawyer who you heard about on the radio or the attorney who sent you a solicitation letter the day following your arrest likely may not be the best way to go. Rather, do a little research, ask an attorney, ask a friend who has been through this before, find an attorney in the area who's been repeatedly recognized by SuperLawyers. Simply put, you want to make sure you are talking to the right people.
If arrested by a State Trooper in King County and released (rather than having been booked into jail), it is unlikely you will have a court date in the immediate future. Unlike many of the municipal courts in the area, King County District Court will usually wait several weeks before filing your charge and sending you a Summons in the mail. That being said, it is highly recommended that you reach out to skilled attorney who focuses in DUI defense immediately. If arrested for DUI, you must request a Department of Licensing (DOL) hearing within seven days : (1) if you provided a breath sample at the police station that registered .080 or greater (if age 21 or older); or (2) if the trooper alleged that you refused to provide a breath sample at the police station. If either of these things occurred, the Department of Licensing will attempt to suspend or revoke your driving privilege for atleast 90 days (duration depending on whether there is an allegation of refusing and/or prior administrative suspensions/revocations). It is imperative that you request a Department of Licensing hearing within seven days of your arrest. Otherwise, you lose the right to fight a proposed administrative suspension/revocation.
There are additional things that should be looked into sooner than later including: whether video evidence was taken from the room for which your breath test was provided; is there audio/video evidence taken from the trooper's patrol vehicle; should you consider obtaining a Blood result on your own to potentially combat an allegation of having been over the legal limit… This list is far from exhaustive, but you get the picture.
Eventually, your case will be filed by the prosecutor's office and the court you should receive a Summons to appear in one of three King County courthouses: the Redmond division, the downtown Seattle division, or the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent.
The attorneys at Veitch Ault & Associates focus in the defense of those accused of serious traffic offenses, including DUI. If you or someone you know has been arrested for DUI in Washington State, contact Veitch Ault & Associates immediately (425-452-1600) to make sure one is given the best chance to defend themselves.