Were you recently charged with driving under the influence (DUI)?
If so, you will soon face a judge at your DUI arraignment.
As the initial step in the DUI court process, an arraignment occurs shortly after your arrest, and is where you officially enter your plea of guilt or innocence. Due to the complex nature of DUI law, it is important to obtain help from an experienced DUI attorney before attending your arraignment. The right attorney will not only help you prepare for this hearing, but also determine the best strategies for your case, and help increase the likelihood of a successful outcome.
Before you go before the judge, it is important to familiarize yourself with the arraignment process. What exactly happens during this hearing? First, a criminal court judge
will call the defendant’s name—in this case, you—and announce the official charges against you.
If you are facing jail time, the judge will then ask whether you have an attorney. If you cannot afford one, you will be given the option to have a public defender appointed to you. Make sure you take advantage of your constitutional right to legal counsel, and seek help from an attorney before continuing on in the arraignment procedure.
After you have informed the judge of your intent to obtain legal aid, the judge will then ask how you plead: guilty, not guilty, or no contest. If you enter a guilty plea, the judge will most likely sentence you at this time and, in most cases, no other courtroom proceedings will be required. However, if you plead not guilty, the judge will set the date for future events such as the preliminary hearing, pre-trial motions, and the trial itself.
If you’re like most people, you probably want to hurry up and get your DUI arraignment over with. As a result, you may be tempted to simply plead guilty to the charge and put it all behind you. Due to the consequences of a DUI conviction, however, pleading guilty may not be the best solution, as you may face imprisonment, probation, or much worse. Plus, a DUI conviction will go on your criminal record and will be seen by future employers and housing providers for years to come.
It is important to discuss your plea options with an experienced DUI attorney prior to your arraignment. With the right defense, you can challenge the charges against you and may even be able to have them reduced or dropped completely. Contact a DUI attorney in your area today to start preparing for your upcoming DUI arraignment.