After A DUI Arrest: Your Day In Court
The days when being stopped for driving under the influence (DUI) might only involve a slap on the wrist are long gone. Now, you can expect a flurry of penalties if you are arrested and the hammer to come down on you if you are convicted of DUI. Since all are considered innocent until proven guilty, read on to find out about your DUI day in court.
Getting Released After the Arrest
In most cases, those arrested for DUI can be bailed out within a few hours. Defendants are brought before a judge and informed of the charges. A guilty or not-guilty plea is entered. At this meeting, sometimes called an arraignment, you are also asked about legal representation and provided with a bail option. The only DUI offenders not to be offered bail are those that have or caused:
- Previous DUI convictions.
- Injuries or death as a result of the DUI incident
- Other connected charges like fleeing from law enforcement or resisting arrest.
Giving Up Your Rights to a Trial
Almost all criminal cases now end not in court but with a quick appearance and a guilty plea. Plea bargains allow the justice system to process cases quickly and often keep the jails from being overcrowded. Agreeing to a plea bargain means pleading guilty and not going to trial. Implied in a plea bargain is that the judge will be lenient in return to the plea. You will need to speak to a criminal defense lawyer who works with DUI offenders before you agree to a plea bargain.
Your Day in Court
Depending on the complexity of your case, you might be in court for a few hours or a day or two. In most cases, the evidence presented by both sides consists of the results of roadside testing, blood alcohol levels, camera footage, and the testimony of law enforcement officers involved in the stop. If you are taking your case to court, then your lawyer must have a defense that challenges some of that evidence. Roadside testing and the results of breathalyzers can be inaccurate and not hold up in court. Here are some primary issues your attorney may bring up to challenge the state:
- The legality of the stop itself
- The legality of any search
- How the field sobriety tests were carried out
- The validity of the blood or urine medical tests
- The question of the certification and calibration of all involved officers and testing
Your biggest move after an arrest is speaking to a criminal defense attorney. Talk to a local attorney to learn more.