DUI Attorney Lynnwood, Washington Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
–By: Brett Nagle
If you have been arrested for DUI in Lynnwood, WA, an initial question to consider is: Which court will handle my case?
Lynnwood is served by three courts: (1) Snohomish County Superior Court; (2), Snohomish County District Court, South Division; and, (3) Lynnwood Municipal Court.
The court that handles your case will determine whether a prosecutor or police officer charges your case, how long you need to wait to be charged, and how soon after your arrest you will need to appear in court.
Snohomish County Superior Court, located in Everett, Washington, has jurisdiction over felonies in Snohomish County. A felony is defined as a crime punishable by over one year in jail. Examples of felony DUI cases filed in Superior Court include: Vehicular Homicide, Vehicular Assault, and Felony DUI. So, unless you have multiple prior DUI convictions or are accused of hurting or killing someone, your DUI case should not be filed in Superior Court.
To charge you with a felony, a Snohomish County Deputy Prosecutor must review your case and file an affidavit of probable cause with the court. Then you can be summonsed into court for arraignment. Arraignment is the first court hearing in the criminal justice process, where you will enter a plea and your attorney can demand discovery related to your case. Discovery usually means police reports, witness statements, and photographs collected by police or detectives.
This means that after your arrest, the prosecutor can take weeks or months to charge your case. When the prosecutor makes a decision, you will receive a summons in the mail to appear for your arraignment.
Snohomish County District Court, South Division, handles any Lynnwood DUI case (except felonies) where the Washington State Patrol (WSP) or Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) made the arrest. So, if you were stopped by a state trooper or county sheriff in Lynnwood, chances are your case will be filed into the South Division of Snohomish County District Court. South Division is located at:
20520 68th Ave West
Lynnwood, WA 98036-7406
This is just west of Highway 99 between Edmonds Community College and the main Lynnwood Post Office. South Division is Snohomish County’s busiest district court, with three elected judges hearing cases.
Cases filed into South Division are handled by the county prosecutors office, similar to felony cases described above. Following your arrest, the deputy or trooper will forward a copy of his or her DUI arrest report to the prosecutor. The prosecutor will make a charging decision and you will receive a summons in the mail to appear in South Division for arraignment. This charging decision usually takes about a month, but this can vary depending on how many other cases are awaiting charging.
Lynnwood Municipal Court:
Lynnwood Municipal Court handles non-felony DUI cases filed by the Lynnwood Police Department. So, if Lynnwood PD arrested you for DUI, chances are your case will be handled in Lynnwood Municipal Court.
Lynnwood Muncipal Court is located on the second floor of the police department in Lynnwood at:
19321 44th Ave West
Lynnwood, WA 98046-5008
Lynnwood Municipal Court handles arraignments on DUI cases differently than Superior or District Courts. If you are arrested by Lynnwood Police Department for DUI, the officer will typically give you notice to appear in court the next morning following your arrest. Be careful to check for the court date at the bottom of your citation. If you miss this court date, a warrant will issue for your arrest.
If you have a question about which court is handling your Lynnwood DUI or whether you have missed a court date, feel free to call my office at 425-776-3300.
Here is some general DUI information applicable to cases throughout Washington State:
If you have been arrested for DUI or Physical Control in the State of Washington, you need the facts from an experienced DUI attorney. Here is an overview: First, a DUI prosecution consists of two parts: (1) a civil hearing where the department of licensing (DOL) tries to take away your license; and (2) a criminal case where the State of Washington seeks a conviction, jail time, and the penalties outlined below.
Here, I will discuss the criminal law aspect of the case. But first, a word about your Department of Licensing hearing:
If you are arrested for DUI in the state of Washington, you must request a DOL hearing within 20 days of your arrest. If you do not request the DOL hearing and pay the required fee within 20 days, the department of licensing will suspend your license. If you drive with a suspended license in the State of Washington, you are committing a separate crime which could subject you to up to a year in jail each time you drive without a valid license.
DUI is a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in county jail and a $5,000 fine. A conviction for DUI could cause you to lose your drivers license and require you to have an ignition interlock device installed on your car.
Mandatory minimum penalties also apply. This means that if you are convicted of DUI, a judge must sentence you to at least a specified amount of jail time and fine. These penalties are imposed in addition to any Department of Licensing penalties. The mandatory minimum penalty that applies to your case depends upon: (1) your breath test level or refusal; and (2) the number of times you have been convicted of DUI or a charged reduced from DUI in the past seven years.
For example, if you are convicted of DUI and you provide a breath sample of between .08 and .149, the judge must sentence you as follows:
- 1 day in jail;
- $350 fine (usually approximately $1,400.00 with costs and assessments); and,
- 1 year of ignition interlock
The court may also order alcohol or drug treatment and make you attend a victim impact panel. You will also need high risk auto insurance (SR 22) for three years. These minimum penalties increase significantly if you have prior DUI convictions, refused the breath test, or provided a breath sample over .15. Consult an experienced Washington DUI attorney for advice specific to your case.
Disclaimer: this information is not intended as legal advice and is provided for illustrative purposes only. Please contact an experienced DUI attorney before making assumptions about your case.
Elements of DUI:
In Washington State, a person is guilty of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) of alcohol or any drug if he or she:
- Drives a Motor Vehicle in the State of Washington; and,
- the person has, within two hours after driving, an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher as shown by analysis of the person’s breath or blood; or
- while the person is under the influence of alcohol or any drug.
One thing you will notice is that it is possible to be convicted of DUI even if you are not offered a breath test. This is known as the “affected by” method of proving DUI. If the prosecutor can prove to a jury that you were “affected by” alcohol at the time of driving, you can be convicted.
Should you refuse to take the breath test, there are some things you should know:
- The state can use the fact that you refused the test against you at trial; and,
- criminal and department of licensing penalties may increase dramatically.
Consult an experienced Washington DUI attorney before you decide whether to take a breath test. Always ask to speak with an attorney at the scene of your DUI stop and before taking any breath test.
Prior offenses and ignition interlock:
If you have been arrested for DUI and your record shows a “prior offense,” judges in Washington must require you to install ignition interlock on any vehicle you drive. A “prior offense” is any charge that was originally charged as DUI, even if that charge was reduced to reckless or negligent driving. This condition will be ordered as a condition of your release at arraignment, which is typically your first appearance in court. Other mandatory conditions of release also apply. Whether or not you have a prior offense, you should consult an attorney prior to arraignment so you can be prepared to address conditions of release.
What to do if you are stopped for DUI in Washington State:
- Be polite. Most police officers/state troopers are good people trying to do a tough job. If you make their job more difficult, they will make your experience more difficult. The officer’s observations of your appearance, attitude and conduct often make a difference in the outcome of your case.
- Ask to speak with a lawyer immediately. Call 425-280-8906 to reach a qualified DUI attorney. If Mr. Nagle is unavailable, ask the trooper/officer to put you in contact with another attorney. If the officer refuses, continue to be polite and see #3 below.
- Do not answer any questions. If the officer asks you if you have been drinking, politely tell him or her that you do not want to answer any questions.
- Do not take Field Sobriety Tests. Field Sobriety tests can include following a pen with your eyes (HGN), walk and turn, one-leg stand, and alphabet tests. You have a right to refuse these tests under Washington Law. Exercise this right and politely decline any FSTs.
- Ask to speak with a lawyer before you take any breath test. Call 425-280-8906 and ask for Mr. Nagle. If Brett is unavailable, ask the officer to speak with another qualified Washington DUI attorney immediately. A qualified Washington DUI attorney can advise you whether to take the breath test.
Get the Facts:
Even if you did not follow some or all of the advice above, get the facts by speaking with an experienced Washington DUI attorney immediately if you have been arrested for DUI. Call 425-280-8906 for a free consultation with an experienced Washington DUI lawyer.
Mr. Nagle accepts cases throughout Washington State, focusing on greater Snohomish, King, Skagit and Whatcom Counties, including the following areas: Lynnwood, Everett, Mill Creek, Bothell, Edmonds, Arlington, Kenmore, Kirkland, Lake Stevens, Marysville, Mountlake Terrace, Mukilteo, Redmond, Seattle, Stanwood, Seattle, Shoreline, Mount Vernon, Bellingham, Blaine, and Lynden. Brett specializes in Snohomish County, serving the following zip codes: 98223, 98012, 98021, 98241, 98020, 98026, 98201, 98203, 98204, 98205, 98206, 98207, 98208, 98213, 98251, 98252, 98256, 98258, 98037, 98046, 98087, 98270, 98271, 98272, 98043, 98275, 98259, 98287, 98290, 98291, 98296, 98292, 98293, 98294, 98273, 98274, 98225, 98226, 98227, 98228, 98229, 98230, 98231, 98264. We accept cases in other cities and counties throughout Washington State on a case by case basis.