When you’re caught in a bad experience, you just want it to end. For example, Elizabeth B. was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It’s a stressful time. She was filled with haunting questions, including “How long will my DUI case take to resolve?” Although every case is different, we can look at a typical DUI case to get a rough timeline.
Immediately After the Arrest
The first thing you’ll need to do is to hire an attorney with criminal defense experience. The timeline for the rest of your case may depend on this.
Usually, the court will hold your arraignment usually on the next business day after your arrest. However, if you have been released from police custody, the court may hold your arraignment from one to 30 days after the arrest. Your attorney will be able to tell you more about your individual case. During your arraignment, you will enter a plea.
Some people enroll in treatment programs after an arraignment. At this point, it may not be required. However, it may be helpful to start on this now, and it may show the prosecutors that you are serious about your DUI case.
Around this time, you or your attorney may ask the Washington State Department of Licensing for a formal hearing about keeping your driver’s license current.
Your attorney will use the next six weeks or so to prepare for a pre-trial conference. The date for the conference may be set by the court or coordinated between your attorney and the prosecutor.
To Trial and Beyond
How long will it take to get from arraignment to trial? It depends on whether your attorney has to file any pre-trial motions. For example, your attorney may file a motion to exclude evidence from being used at trial or pointing out any problems with the prosecution’s case. Although necessary, pre-trial motions may prolong your DUI case.
This is also the time that your attorney may try to negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecuting attorney. If they are unable to reach an agreement, a trial is usually held around three months after arraignment.
The trial or acceptance of a plea bargain may seem like the end of your case. However, you may receive a sentence of jail time, probation, or community service. Your DUI case may not truly end until you have completed your sentence or graduated from rehab.
Hiring a DUI Lawyer Makes Sense
Just as doctors specialize in certain types of medicine, attorneys specialize in certain types of laws. You wouldn’t hire a dermatologist to do your heart surgery, and you should not ask an estate planning attorney to handle your DUI case.
Call 425-747-0582 for a free consultation with lawyer Sarah Cho. The sooner you call, the faster she can assess your case and review your options.
From her office located in Bellevue, Washington, Ms. Cho represents clients throughout the Seattle area.
Our Practice Is Your Solution. Our Mission Is Your Success.