Being arrested for a DUI/DWI is confusing enough and now they expect you to understand all of the upcoming court proceedings you’re facing? We can help. We’ll start at the beginning of this long road and explain the first criminal court proceeding – arraignment.
First you are arrested for a DUI then you are booked and sent through the early bail phases of the DUI court procedure. Now comes your first day in court. This is known as the arraignment.
What happens during my arraignment?
The judge will call you forward. You will now be referred to as the “defendant”. Then the judge will ask you a very important question. Do you have an attorney? If this is the first time you’ve even thought of an attorney, use your time wisely! It’s important to contact a qualified DUI attorney right away. If you don’t have an attorney, the judge will provide you a court-appointed attorney.
The judge will then ask you how you wish to plead to the charge against you. There are three options “guilty”, “not guilty” or no contest. Now the judge has to decide whether alter the bail amount or release you through own recognizance. Even in this information was already addressed in a prior proceeding they are usually revisited during arraignment. After that, the judge will set your future dates to appear in court. This could include the preliminary hearing, pre-trail motions and the trial.
Be prepared, because the next step after arraignment is the preliminary hearing. It is crucial to have a qualified DUI attorney at this stage because this is when the prosecution will give you “the defendant” and your attorney copies of the police report, field sobriety test results and any chemical test results if you submitted to a blood, breath or urine test.
You have the right to an attorneyThis is not just a nice thought, but a constitutional guarantee to your defense in court. The government must appoint you with an attorney if you cannot afford one. This attorney must fervently defend you and your rights during all stages of your DUI case.