What to Expect in the DUI Process

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Each DUI case has a specific sequence of events that take place. Understanding what to expect in the process is crucial and can have an important impact on the end results of your case. Before beginning, you should have a proven Atlanta DUI attorney guide you through the process. At The Law Offices of Richard Lawson, we know that Atlanta DUI charges can be frightening and overwhelming without legal counsel. That is why we are here to aggressively defend you from the moment of your arrest.

By reading through the sections below, you can get a better idea of what you will go through in the process and how you need to prepare. If you have further questions or are unsure of how you can best protect your rights, reach out to our firm for counsel right away.

The Stop

When you are pulled over by a police officer, it may be due to some traffic violation, erratic driving behavior, or an accident. At the stop, if you are suspected of DUI, you will likely be asked to perform certain field sobriety tests so that officers can gather evidence of your intoxication. You do not have to perform field sobriety tests. In fact, they are designed to build a case against you and gain probable cause to arrest you.

The Arrest

At the station you will be asked to submit to either a blood test, breath test, or both. Then you will be "booked." This includes fingerprinting and a photograph, and you may have your driver's license confiscated. In some cases, you may be released on your own recognizance, however, a judge has the power to ask you to post bail. The citation you receive will have your first court date indicated on it.

The Arraignment

This is the first official court hearing, and it is when you are formally charged with DUI. At this hearing, you will enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. At this time, having an attorney by your side is crucial during this process and in some cases, they can appear on your behalf for the arraignment.

If you plead guilty at this hearing, your license will be suspended. If you plead not guilty, you must file your motions to suppress at or before the arraignment. These motions form the basis of your defense. It is vital to have representation before arraignment so you don't waive your right to file the motions in your case. Finally, your trial date will be set during this process.

Preliminary Motion Hearings

The purpose of a motion is to try to prevent the admission of evidence against you at your trial. The motions in your case form the basis of your defense and must be filed at or before the arraignment (the first court date). Motions are designed to make sure that a person's rights were not violated due to an unlawful arrest or illegal seizure of evidence. In cases in which the evidence is successfully challenged, the case may be dismissed or a plea bargain offered due to limited evidence against the accused.

The Trial

At trial, the prosecutor must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Your defense lawyer has the opportunity to have expert witnesses testify, present evidence, and utilize counter arguments. The police officers who were involved in the arrest can also be cross-examined. You will either be found guilty or not guilty. If you are found guilty, you can appeal the judgment.

While this time can seem intimidating, you are not alone; get our legal team on your side today by scheduling your free consultation.

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