If you have been arrested for DUI you may be wondering what happens next? Recently on our DUI forum a user asked, I was arrested for a DUI and received a notice to appear in court for the DUI arraignment. What will happen and what do I need to know to be prepared for my court appearance?
The DUI arraignment is the first courtroom appearance after the DUI arrest. If you have never been arrested for a criminal offense you may not know exactly how the process works or what you should do. First, do not panic. Second, if you plan to plead not guilty do not delay talking to a DUI lawyer because your arraignment could be scheduled within a few days.
What happens at the DUI arraignment?
At the DUI arraignment the court will read the criminal charges against you and ask you if you will need a court-appointed lawyer. Next, they will ask you how you would like to plead to the DUI charges. You have the option to plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest. It is not unusual for many defendants to plead guilty, especially if the court has substantial evidence against them, but pleading guilty too soon can be a mistake. Talk to a DUI lawyer first.
Next, the court will decide if you should be released on bail, and if so, they will determine the bail amount. Finally, the court will notify you of all future dates for the case including the preliminary hearing, motions, and actual trial date, if needed.
What happens after the DUI arraignment?
Many defendants appear without legal counsel at the DUI arraignment. If you do decide to plead not guilty it is important to talk to a DUI lawyer. In some states the next step after the DUI arraignment is the preliminary hearing. Some states, however, will not hold a preliminary hearing unless you are charged with a felony DUI.
Whether or not you have a preliminary hearing, however, it is important to hire a DUI lawyer. If a preliminary hearing is scheduled both your DUI defense lawyer and the prosecution will have a chance to present information against you for your DUI case, including information about the field sobriety test, chemical tests, and information about the DUI arrest.
In some cases your DUI lawyer may be able to get some of the information and evidence suppressed. For example, if your DUI lawyer can prove that there was no probable cause to stop your car some evidence for the arrest may be suppressed. If enough evidence is suppressed or the prosecution lacks sufficient evidence the judge can dismiss the case. In most cases, however, the case will proceed.
Can I ask to have the DUI arraignment rescheduled?
If you are not able to attend the scheduled DUI arraignment it is possible to ask the court to reschedule it. Talk to the court about the exact process for rescheduling. Generally, the request must be made in writing and a copy must be sent to the DUI prosecutor.