Barbara A. Bowden

Tacoma, WA DUI Attorney

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If I’m not arrested for a DUI on the scene, will I face any charges?

While in most cases, an arrest for DUI will take place immediately—particularly if your BAC results show impairment or if you were involved in an accident and the officer feels you are clearly impaired—sometimes, there can be the instance where you might be arrested for DUI later on. In other words, in most cases, you should expect that all evidence in your case has been collected by the end of your contact with the officer. There are certain factors which could potentially cause delays, such as results which must be processed and released by the State Toxicology Lab.

This means you might not be charged with DUI on a blood draw until the lab analyzes the blood and returns the results, which can take up to 6 months. The state would not want to charge and prosecute you without this information, and it is not uncommon for the lab process to take months. In other instances, you could be arrested, then released, with charges not immediately filed. Some jurisdictions may be quicker to file criminal charges than others; some counties and cities file via investigation, which means once you are released, a report is submitted to the office of the prosecuting attorney, and you are notified of a court date in the future. It is important that DOL has a current address for you.

At that point, if the prosecuting attorney determines enough evidence is available for a charge of DUI, a complaint will be filed against you, and a notice sent to you which provides the date for your first court appearance. Of course, there is a statute of limitations in the state, which allows a maximum of two years between the date of the incident and filing of charges. This is not particularly good news, as it means you could potentially have DUI charges hanging over your head for a full two years. The majority of Washington jurisdictions file DUI charges between one and eight weeks of the arrest, although some can take months. Remember—a delayed notification of your court date does not mean your arrest has been dismissed or forgotten. Contact the experienced DUI defense attorneys at The Law Offices of Barbara Bowden to discuss your questions.