If you were arrested for DUI in Island County by either the Washington State Patrol or the Island County Sheriff’s Office, the DUI charge will be filed in the Island County District Court in Oak Harbor, Washington and prosecuted by the Island County Prosecutor’s Office. If you were arrested by the Oak Harbor, Coupeville, or Langley Police Department, the case will be filed into the Island County District Court as well. The Island County Prosecutor’s office contracts to prosecute cases for the city of Langley. The cities of Coupeville and Oak Harbor have their own prosecutors. If you or someone you know has been arrested for DUI in Island County, contact a Island County DUI Lawyer as soon as possible.
First DUI Appearance in Island County District Court
Washington State law requires that an individual who is arrested for DUI and is served with either a citation or a complaint shall be required to appear before a judicial officer within one day of the date of arrest. RCW 46.61.50571. Local rules may waive this requirement if they provide for the earliest practicable appearance date after the DUI arrest. Island County District Court is one of the few courts statewide that takes this requirement seriously and anyone who is arrested for a DUI in this jurisdiction can expect to be before a judge or magistrate no later than 48 hours from the time of arrest, irrespective of weekends and holidays. The purpose of this first appearance is to allow the judge to determine, based upon the allegations and the defendant’s history, what conditions should be imposed while the case is pending. Individuals who have DUI related history can expect the court to impose conditions such as the requirement that bail be posted and/or the imposition of an ignition interlock device or a SCRAM bracelet. Because of the immediacy of the first mandatory appearance as well as the possibility that stringent conditions could be imposed, it is important to contact a Washington DUI lawyer as soon as possible following arrest to review your options and discuss a strategy for the first appearance.
Waiver of Hearings and Appearance
One positive aspect of having a DUI pending in Oak Harbor (relative to other Washington Courts) is the possibility of having your presence waived at certain hearings and even the ability to waive specific hearings altogether. After the first appearance, the court will schedule an arraignment date for the purpose of entering a plea to the DUI charge. If you have hired an attorney, this arraignment can be waived altogether and a not guilty plea can be entered off of the record. Additionally, at future pretrial hearings, the defendant’s presence can be waived if the matter is going to be continued for some reason or if disposition or motion hearings or a trial date are to be set. This opportunity can save a person several hours in court and travel time if properly taken advantage of. The waiver of presence is not automatic and not always available, but if the proper paperwork is filed in a timely fashion, the defendant’s presence can usually be waived. Of course, always check with your attorney before not appearing in court to make sure the waiver has been approved. This “waiver of presence” is a huge departure from DUI courts in the rest of Washington as every other court will only waive appearances for good cause shown.
Island County DUI Procedure Beyond Initial Appearance
After the first appearance and arraignment, the court will schedule a pretrial hearing. At this hearing the parties will decide whether the matter can be resolved, if the hearing should be continued for further investigation or negotiation, or if a jury trial date should be set. The time between the arraignment and the pretrial hearing is very important. It is during this period of time that your lawyer will research and investigate the defenses relevant to your case and begin to negotiate with the Island County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. If you have not obtained the assistance of DUI counsel for the initial hearings, you need to do so well in advance of your pretrial conference. Also, remember that in addition to the criminal court appearances involved in a DUI, there will very likely be an administrate attempt by the Washington Department of Licensing to suspend or revoke your driving privileges. Review our Washington State DOL Hearings section for more information.
Island County prosecutors and judges take DUI charges as seriously as any of their counterparts across the state. Knowing what will be expected out of you from them is an important component to making sure you succeed in your DUI defense. If you have any questions or would simply like a consultation regarding your Oak Harbor or Island County DUI, contact a Washington DUI attorney at Milios Defense. We will assist you in any way we can.