Each DUI case follows a specific sequence of court appearances. Being informed as to how your case will progress will allow you to feel more comfortable throughout the process. In this article, we will look at each court date in detail so that you know what to expect each time you step into court.Your first court appearance will be your arraignment date. At this hearing you will go before the judge who will oversee your case and you will be expected to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty to the charges against you.
If you plead guilty, you will be sentenced right then and there and your case will be resolved.If you are contesting the charges, however, your attorney will have an opportunity to speak to the prosecuting attorney and negotiate a plea offer. Your attorney may be able to persuade the prosecutor to reduce the DUI charge to a lesser offense such as reckless driving. The most convincing reason to reduce a charge is if there is some legal issue that exists in your case.
If the state's test was not administered correctly and would be suppressed if the case proceeded to trial or if the validity of the field sobriety evaluations is questioned because the officer did not follow proper procedure, the prosecutor may be more willing to negotiate a favorable plea to avoid the risk of taking a weak case to trial.Sometimes the terms of a plea cannot be agreed upon at this early stage in your case.
Your attorney will continue to meet and speak with the prosecutor at your future court dates and the result of a motion hearing may cause the prosecutor to reconsider the strength of their case.Regardless of how you expect your case to proceed, it is important to have hired an experienced lawyer prior to arraignment. Certain motions must be filed at or before your arraignment and if you file these motions out of time or not at all you may lose the ability to assert all available defenses to the charges against you.
This can and will have a significant impact on your case.Further, if an attorney represents you, it may be possible for you to be excused from attending your arraignment date if your attorney files certain paperwork or appears on your behalf. This is called a waiver of arraignment. Your lawyer will also file your motions at the arraignment.