DUI Defense Lawyer


If you are charged with a DUI, or expect DUI charges to be filed against you, DUI Defense Lawyer Dan can help. DUI is a serious offense that carries both administrative and criminal penalties. In order to understand these penalties, and the criminal process, you should consult an attorney. All of Dan’s DUI consultations are free. Through a consultation, Dan can discuss with you your situation and your options in defending against the DUI charges. The information discussed in a DUI consultation is confidential even if you choose not to retain Dan’s services. Contact Dan Today.

dui defense attorney dan fiorito

A DUI case has several important phases. The DUI case begins on the night of the arrest and may conclude with a jury trial, a plea bargain to a lesser charge, an outright dismissal, a deferred prosecution, or a conviction. Whatever the final outcome, a person charged with DUI needs to understand the implications a DUI will have on their driving record, their job, their family, and their criminal history. In order to protect your rights, and to maximize your likeliness of an optimal outcome, you should contact an attorney immediately after you have been arrested for DUI.

DUI Process

Arrest

In most cases, once you have been arrested for DUI, you will either be released into the custody of a friend or relative or booked into jail.

Department of Licensing

As a consequence of your arrest for DUI, the Department of Licensing (DOL) will in many cases have jurisdiction to initiate an action against your driver’s license. After your arrest, the officer will punch a hole in your license. The officer should also provide you with paperwork informing you on how to challenge any action brought against you by the DOL. You must request administrative hearing within 20 days of the arrest or else you lose the right to challenge the suspension. Even if the officer does not provide you with any paperwork, you must make this request if you want a hearing.

Information about how to make a hearing request may be made at: http://www.dol.wa.gov/

Filing of Charges

In some jurisdictions such as Seattle, the arresting officer will serve you with a citation for DUI that will include an appearance date for court. You must appear at this hearing. In other jurisdictions, no citation for DUI will be issued. Rather, the police officer will forward the arrest report to the prosecuting attorney’s office. The prosecutor will review the police report and determine whether to file charges. It may be weeks, or in some cases months, before a charging decision is made.

If the case is filed, a summons to appear in court for arraignment will be mailed to your address. You should consult an attorney before the arraignment. If you fail to appear at the arraignment a warrant will be issued for your arrest. Regardless of whether you are given a court date during your arrest, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible

Arraignment

This will be you first appearance in court. The court will ask you to enter a plea. Enter a plea of not guilty to all of the charges against you. The court will set conditions of release. In some cases, you will be released on your own recognizance without bail. However, the court may impose bail and take you into custody until the bail is posted. Bail may be imposed if the court finds that you present a substantial danger to the community or are likely not to appear at your next court date.

The prosecutor will usually ask for bail in a DUI case. The court will makes its decision based on the facts of the case, your criminal history, and whether you have failed to appear in court on other occasions. Even if the court does not impose bail, it may order you to abide by other conditions of release. For example, it may order that you only drive with an ignition interlock device or that you wear an alcohol monitoring device known as a SCRAM (Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor Bracelet).

Pretrial Confrence

After you are arraigned, your case is assigned to a judge. This is a critical time.In some cases, it may be advisable to exercise an affidavit of prejudice to have your case reassigned to a different judge. Every defendant is entitled to one affidavit of prejudice but the affidavit must be exercised in a timely fashion.

The pretrial conference is an opportunity for the prosecutor and the defense attorney to discuss the case and attempt to resolve the case. Your appearance at this hearing is mandatory unless it is properly waived. During the course of a DUI case, there may be multiple pretrial conferences.

Motion Hearings

If the defense attorney decides to raise any legal issues regarding the case, the attorney will file a motion brief and set a motion hearing. Motion hearings typically take place in advance of the trial so the parties may reevaluate the case after the judge’s rulings regarding the motion. Motions can be an effective means of suppressing unlawful evidence and breath tests. If the defense is successful on a motion, often times the case is resolved. However, the case will be set for trial if a resolution cannot be reached.

Readiness Hearings

This is the last hearing before a jury trial. The defense attorney and the prosecutor will have one last time to negotiate the case. If the case cannot be settled, then the parties will confirm the case for trial.

Jury Trial

DUI’s are tried before juries of 6 persons. DUI jury trials last between one and three days depending on the complexity of the case and the number of witnesses.

Sentencing

DUI’s are tried before juries of 6 persons. DUI jury trials last between one and three days depending on the complexity of the case and the number of witnesses.

If a jury finds you not guilty, you will be released and the case is concluded without any further penalty or cost. If the jury returns a verdict of guilty, then the defendant will be sentenced by the judge. Sentencing may occur on the day of the verdict however it is possible to set the hearing over. Sentencing is an important part of the process. A good attorney will prepare very hard for this phase if necessary to ensure that the client gets the fairest sentence under the law.

If you have any questions about the DUI Process, Contact Dan Fiorito

The Law Office of Dan N. Fiorito III

  • 844 NW 48th St
  • Seattle, WA 98107
  • Phone: 206-299-1582
  • Fax: 206-770-7590
  • Email: dan@danfiorito.com
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