You will have to appear in court for your “arraignment,” which is usually the initial court date, at some point following your DUI arrest. The arraignment may take place shortly after your arrest. weeks later, or months later, depending on the circumstances—most importantly, whether you’re currently in jail or not.
There isn’t much to do prior to the arraignment in the majority of criminal cases. But in DUI instances, it’s often required to take action within days of the arrest to fight a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) administrative license suspension that would otherwise take effect automatically.
What occurs during an arraignment, how to challenge an administrative license suspension, and the choices for handling a DUI charge in court are all covered in the following basic information regarding dealing with DUI charges.
Things to do prior to the arraignment:
For the most part, implied consent rules permit the DMV to administratively suspend the license of any motorist who is lawfully detained for driving while intoxicated and refuses or fails to submit to a blood or breath test.
Suspension through administrative means may be contested. But in order to do so, you must submit a hearing request to the DMV within a few days after your arrest. Every state has its own regulations, but generally speaking, drivers must ask for a hearing within ten days after their arrest.
When you ask for a hearing, it often halts the administrative suspension while you wait to hear the result. The DMV will immediately apply an administrative suspension on drivers who don’t ask for a hearing, which typically starts after 30 days.
The arraignment day:
The judge is required to explain the charges and the defendant’s rights to the defendant at the arraignment. Arrests, however, serve more purposes than a mere formality. The court will ordinarily determine the bond amount or whether to release the prisoner without posting bail if the defendant is still in custody. If the defendant cannot afford to engage a private DUI attorney, the judge will likely assign a public defender. The court will also inquire about the defendant’s plans for legal representation.
The court will then often inquire as to the defendant’s desired plea. Usually, there are just two choices: guilty or not guilty. Most defendants will submit a not-guilty plea during the arraignment, despite the fact that some may desire to plead guilty and get the case over with. A not-guilty plea only enables the defendant to leave her or his options open at this early stage of the case, which is typically the wisest course of action.
Options for handling the case:
After the arraignment, you must choose the best course of action for your case. Here, the advice of a professional DUI/DWI attorney is essential. It usually boils down to two choices: entering into a plea agreement or contesting the accusation.
The two choices aren’t necessarily incompatible with one another, though. A defendant may frequently file pretrial motions, such as a request to suppress evidence, in an effort to win the case. Additionally, the defendant can determine that entering into a plea agreement is the best option left if the motions don’t produce the desired results. Similar to this, defendants who begin negotiating a plea agreement but are unsuccessful in doing so may decide to alter their minds and decide to go to trial.
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