In Washington State folks cited for DUI often are not charged and don’t have to go to court for days, weeks or even months after the incident. Many people get confused about the ‘why’ of it all, and in turn get very stressed out. So to remove the mystery, SQ Attorneys will do our best to explain.
A first offense DUI is a gross misdemeanor in Washington State. In all criminal cases the government has a certain period of time to actually charge a person with a crime. This time period is called the ‘Statue of Limitations’ (“SOL” – one has to wonder if this acronym stands for ‘s#&t-out-of-luck’ if the government doesn’t meet the deadline … but that is something to ponder for another day). Gross Misdemeanors have a 2 year SOL, which means the prosecutor can charge a person for a DUI up to 2 years after the incident (yes, a person cited for DUI may be left wondering for up to 2 years if a criminal charge is going to be filed against them, and that is legal, yes).
A typical example of a case that may take a while to ‘get-into-the-system’ is a case involving a blood draw. When a DUI involves a blood draw, the test results are not immediately known. The blood drawn from a person is placed in grey topped vials, sealed and sent to the Washington State Toxicology Lab for testing. The process for getting a blood alcohol test back can be quite lengthy. Once the samples arrive at the lab, they are stored and eventually tested/ analyzed. After analysis the results are then mailed back to the law enforcement agency that sent them to the Lab. Thereafter the processing officer finishes or supplements his incident report and files it with the prosecutor’s office. At some point, it gets on a prosecutor’s desk for a filing decision, along with all the other cases that are being considered for charging, i.e. assaults, hit-and-runs, thefts, criminal trespasses and so on and so on. It only stands to reason (when considering the ebb and flow of the evidence and information dissemination) that the wheels of justice are more akin to the chunked wood ‘tires’ on the carts of the middle ages than they are on the high speed, low drag, rock hard, water tight wheels of a 2018 Lamborghini; bureaucracy at its finest, indeed.
If you or a loved one is accused of DUI, you should immediately consult with a qualified Seattle DUI Attorney. A qualified and respected Seattle DUI lawyer, among other things, can quite possibly save the aggrieved person thousands of dollars in court and insurance fees, the extent of loss of privilege to drive, and the amount of jail time to be served. We have said it before and will say it again, Washington DUI laws are far too complicated for any ol’ attorney to handle. Be smart and consult with a qualified and skilled Seattle DUI Attorney when arrested for an alcohol and/or drug related DUI in Washington State.