It is not uncommon for many drunk drivers to want to plead guilty at the arraignment, which is the court date where you will receive the formal charge for your drunk driving case and the state will formally accuse you of a crime. While this may seem like the most expedient way to get the DUI case behind you, most DUI lawyers agree this may not be the best resolution to your DUI case.
Will it take longer to fight your drunk driving charges? Yes, but there are a variety of reasons why it is in your best interest to enter a plea of not guilty and continue your case. The main reason is to give yourself and your DUI lawyer a chance to review the evidence the state has against you. If you plead guilty you may never get to review evidence which can be critical to beating the DUI charges.
Remember, in many cases the DUI charges will remain on your driving record for the rest of your life.
Why is my drunk driving case delayed?
1. The state delayed filing the case
The statute of limitations for filing a drunk driving case against a driver varies by state law. Some states have up to a year or two to file misdemeanor charges, and it may not be unusual for the prosecution to wait weeks or months before they file your case. Consider also that some prosecutors file cases immediately while others wait until they have all of their chemical evidence and the full report from the arresting officer.
Some time frames also vary within the same state. For instance, it is not unusual for cases in Seattle to be filed within a few days while cases in Trooper in King County, Washington, may be filed after several weeks by the King County Prosecutor. Variations may also exist in your state.
2. Discovery Evidence may take a long time to collect
It is not unusual for it to take some time for several key pieces of evidence to come together before a DUI lawyer wants to meet with the prosecutor or formulate strategy for negotiations with the prosecution. If your DUI lawyer seems to be dragging their feet it could be because they are waiting for witness statements, video or audio evidence or information about your blood alcohol concentration tests.
3. Witnesses are unavailable
If you are waiting for a motion hearing or trial but the arresting officer(s) or civilian witnesses are not available or if the BAC technician (for the breath test instrument) and toxicologist (for the simulator solution) are also not available to testify then the judge may find good cause for the hearing to be postponed.
4. Courtroom is not available
Most governmental budgets have been slashed, allowing for consolidating scheduling or limited judicial positions. Some smaller cities may also not have court proceedings scheduled every day. If your case has been delayed it could be due to court room availability.
If you have hired a DUI lawyer they are the only one who can give you an honest answer why your case is taking so long.