If you were recently charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI), you will most likely face a judge in DUI court.
Although this can be an extremely nerve-wracking time
, it is important to understand how the process works, so you can prepare accordingly.
Prior to your court date, you will first need to determine whether you should obtain legal representation. Hiring a reputable DUI attorney can certainly help increase your chance for success in DUI court. It is, therefore, always in your best interest to seek help from an experienced DUI attorney, as he or she will be more familiar with your state’s laws.
Before you hire an attorney, make sure you do your homework—ask friends or family members for recommendations and research local attorneys. Evaluate several law firms in your area, making sure to ask each attorney about his or her experience and success rate, as well as whether he or she has ever handled a case similar to yours. In addition, make sure you verify that he or she will personally handle your case, and be sure to ask about timing and preparation—how long does he or she think the case will take? What type of defense strategies does he or she suggest? These are all important questions to ask before hiring an attorney to represent you in DUI court.
Once you’ve settled on a lawyer, begin researching the DUI laws in your state. Find out what type of penalties you face if convicted, and familiarize yourself with common DUI terms such as blood alcohol content (BAC)
, implied consent
, and field sobriety tests. Although your attorney will help explain some of the more complex aspects of your state’s DUI laws, it is nonetheless important to have a basic understanding of the statutes in your area.
After you’ve become more comfortable with the terms you may hear in DUI court, you should work with your attorney to prepare for your arraignment. The first step of the DUI court process, the arraignment marks the time you enter a plea of “guilty,” “not guilty,” or “no contest.” Your attorney will help you decide which pleading option is best for your particular case.
Depending on your state, you may also face additional DUI court proceedings such as a preliminary hearing and pre-trial motions. Contact an experienced DUI attorney in your area to learn more about the DUI court process in your area. Remember, with the right attorney, you may be able to get the charges against you reduced or even dropped altogether.
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