Those arrested for DUI in the city of Kirkland by the Kirkland Police Department will have their case filed in the Kirkland Municipal Court. The filing of your DUI in Kirkland means that the prosecutors working on your case will be from a local law firm who contract as the prosecutors for that city as well as for several other municipalities. Your Judge will be the appointed judge of the City of Kirkland or a Judge Pro Tem. A Judge Pro Tem is a substitute Judge. This court also handles criminal charges filed by the cities of Hunt’s Point, Clyde Hill, and Medina.
If you have a DUI pending in the City of Kirkland, contact a Kirkland DUI lawyer as soon as possible. There are several nuances of this court, discussed below, that you should be well prepared for ahead of time.
DUI Filing Delays in Kirkland Municipal Court
Kirkland DUI charges will usually take anywhere from a couple of weeks to two or three months from the date of incident until charges are filed. In an effort to limit the number of cases that are pending in Kirkland Municipal Court at any given time, the law firm responsible for prosecuting City of Kirkland matters routinely staggers the filing of charges. While this delay may cause anxiety, it also a tremendous opportunity to be proactive your own defense and in differentiating yourself from the literally hundreds of others that will be appearing before this court, judge and prosecutors while you case in pending. Review our Washington DUI Self Help Guide for some useful tips on how to spend this time.
First Appearance and Pretrial Conditions
While it is possible that your first appearance in Kirkland Municipal Court will occur shortly after the DUI arrest, as a general rule it will be any where from three weeks to three months until you appear before a judge. The exception is in cases where the individual is booked into jail after his arrest and can not post bail. In those cases, the defendant will appear before the court with one or two business days from the arrest. The first appearance in Kirkland DUI cases serves one of two functions. The first is to enter a plea to the charge. The second is for the court to impose conditions on the defendant while the case is pending. As entering a plea of not guilty at arraignment is almost always a given in DUI cases, it is the second of the functions that is the greater cause of concern.
Over the years, Kirkland Municipal Court has gotten more strict on the pretrial conditions it imposes in DUI cases. This is both in terms of what conditions the prosecutors routinely seek and the conditions the sitting judge are willing to impose. Gone are the days in this court of the judge simply imposing standard DUI conditions (stay out of trouble and show up to your court dates). Those who have prior DUI or criminal history need to expect and prepare for the imposition of bail, ignition interlock device, SCRAM bracelets and even electronic home monitoring. What you do from the time of arrest until arraignment can have a significant impact on the condition ultimately imposed.
Kirkland DUI Court Procedure
Kirkland Municipal Court does not differ in any great regard to other courts in Washington when it comes to the DUI court process. After arraignment, there is a pretrial hearing at which a case may be resolved, set for motions and trial, or reset to another pretrial hearing for further investigation or negotiation. If the case is set for trial, a motion hearing to determine the admissibility of certain evidence may be held in advance of trial. Negotiated resolutions are always possible at any time short of trial. The court allows the party a great deal of latitude in attempting to resolve the case on their own but likes to move the case along in a relatively swift manner.
Limited DUI Sentencing Alternatives in Kirkland
Of special concern facing those charged with DUI in Kirkland is the fact that the court will not authorize work release in lieu of jail. An jail sentence ordered, as a rule, is served at the Kirkland jail which is not set up for work release. This has been a tremendous burden on those sentenced to lengthy jail commitments, often costing them their employment. Originally, work release was available for men but there was not women based on space and staffing issues. A relatively obvious equal protection argument put an end to that and, as of 2010, work release remains unavailable for Kirkland DUI sentences. 2011 UPDATE: Kirkland Municipal court now will authorize certain sentences to be completed via work release. The Kirkland jail still can not accommodate work release so all work release sentences authorized in Kirkland are completed through the Snohomish County Jail.
The City of Kirkland has a very well staffed, active and influential probation department. In most cases, those convicted of DUI or even lesser offenses end up “on probation”. It does not have to be that way. Those who complete all of the expected DUI or reduced charge sentencing conditions in advance can avoid probation. If you have not, complete the conditions as soon as possible and stay in contact as ordered by the court. Those who run afoul of their Kirkland probation officer find themselves back in front of the sentencing judge in a hurry.
Kirkland DUI Review Hearings
It goes without saying that, regardless of the jurisdiction, one does not want to appear for a probation review of DUI conditions. This is especially true in Kirkland. On deferred prosecutions, the court has little to no tolerance for violations of the terms of the order. New convictions, even arrests, can lead to revocation of probation and imposition community service or even jail time. This court has a very little patience with those who violate its sentencing orders.
The City of Kirkland is getting tougher on its prosecution of DUI and more active in its enforcement. It is a very busy court that provides very specific obstacles. If you have been arrested for DUI in the City of Kirkland, contact the Kirkland DUI lawyers at Milios Defense for a consultation to determine your best course of action.