A Washington DUI and Covid-19: What You Need to Know Right Now

With the Covid-19 pandemic hitting the country and the world, many things have been disrupted and daily life has changed on multiple levels. If you’ve been arrested for DUI, you are very likely wondering what is going to happen next, especially with all the virus concerns. Being charged with a DUI is stressful enough on its own, and when you add a pandemic into the mix, it can become downright frightening and very confusing for all involved.

Since the courts are not running at full swing, you may be worried you will find yourself in jail and thus facing a very real risk of being exposed to the virus. There is only so much information out there, and it is difficult to reach the courts at this time because of limited staffing and all the rapid changes made in the past two months. Luckily, there is help if you are in this situation. Reach out to a defense attorney Kent as soon as you can about your case. The legal professionals in the Washington community are staying on top of all the new developments and can help you during this difficult and confusing time.

What we know

In early March, the state’s Supreme Court issued an emergency order that instructed state courts to cease nearly all in-court hearings. Instead, those in the legal system have been directed to do necessary hearings by video and telephone, if possible. The court also took into account that people will likely be arrested right now, so they created a process aimed at keeping people out of jail as much as possible to prevent further spread of the illness.

If you are cited with a DUI, the officer arresting you can put you in jail or let you go home pending a hearing on the matter. What will happen next in your DUI case will depend on what the arresting officer decided to do. If you are allowed to go home after your DUI arrest, your first court appearance–known as an arraignment–may be deferred for 45 days or so. The court can still decide to do the hearing before that date
by video or phone, but you should not have to physically enter a courthouse before then. Since each court is different, your defense attorney Kent will determine what to do.

In a situation where you are arrested for DUI and taken into custody, the court will hold your arraignment on the next normal court day after your arrest, which is usually a weekday except for in the Seattle area, where there is sometimes court on Saturday. Contact a defense attorney in Kent immediately so they can argue that you should not remain in jail. An experienced attorney will argue that the courts have been directed to
consider the current pandemic as a factor when deciding whether to release a driver charged with DUI. This is particularly relevant if you are part of group that has been designated as high risk or vulnerable by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Another thing to consider is your license, which can be suspended for your DUI. When you have been arrested for DUI, you only have seven days to request a hearing in front of the Washington State Department of Licensing to try to save your license or at least receive conditional driving privileges. If you don’t request this hearing within the allotted time, you can lose your license and will not be able to drive to work or important appointments. Contact your attorney as soon as possible so you can take steps to
protect your license.

This is a confusing and unprecedented time. Being arrested for a DUI in the midst of a pandemic can seem almost incomprehensible with all that is going on, but it is still happening. Don’t try to handle an already complex legal process such as a DUI case on your own, especially with all the additional wrenches Covid-19 has added to the mix. Contact an experienced defense attorney Kent about your case as soon as possible so
you have help, guidance and support during this unusually trying time.

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