If you have been arrested because you were caught driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or greater, or under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, then you will either be charged with a misdemeanor or felony DUI. Depending on your prior criminal record, including any DUIs you were arrested and convicted of in other states,
When you have been arrested for a DUI, there is a typical process that you go through:
- The arrest
- Booking (fingerprinting, photo)
- Your arraignment
- Either being released on bond or not
During your arraignment, you will be asked if you want a court-appointed attorney if you do not have one already. Once you hire an attorney, you will need to follow the next steps.
Hire An Attorney
The prosecution is going to come in with aggressive arguments. And judges do not take DUI cases lightly. If you defend yourself, you risk facing the maximum consequences possible. Instead, you can hire an attorney who will fight for a reduced sentence. Hiring an experienced and successful attorney, such as DUI lawyer Rahul Parikh, is an important first step.
Decide How You Want to Plea
If you plead “guilty” or “no contest” then you will be waiving your constitutional rights such as your right to a jury trial, the right to remain silent and your right to cross-examine any witnesses against you. The court clerk will file your conviction. Whether it is a misdemeanor or a felony will be based on prior convictions and any aggravating factors, such as loss of life or damage to property.
However, if you plead “not guilty” then you will be given a court date in the future. During that time, you and your attorney will be preparing your defense.
Tips To Prepare For Court
Now that you understand the consequences more thoroughly, it’s important to consider things you should do before your arraignment. First, you will want to gather any witnesses that were passengers in your vehicle. If you have a medical condition that may have affected your blood-alcohol test results or how you performed the field sobriety tests, then you will need to provide that documentation to your attorney.
Next, you want to write down exactly what happened during your arrest. Include as many details as you can remember, such as the time, the exact words the officers used, and exactly what the police did.
The prosecution will have the evidence collected from the police, such as the results of any field tests they conducted, and they will use those to argue aggressively for harsher consequences. Your evidence will argue against theirs. For example, your defense attorney may choose to use a procedural defense type and might bring in an expert witness to testify and explain why the test results were incorrect or should be dismissed. Your attorney, however, will know what you need specifically for your hearing.
It’s also important to remember that wherever your hearings are, whether in an actual courtroom or in a hearing room, most likely you will have to go through security. You need to arrive on the day of your hearing with your ID and keep prohibited items in your car or at home. You also want to arrive early and, if your license has been suspended, secure a reliable mode of transportation to your hearing.