Posted on: 5 January 2018
If you have been arrested and charged with DUI (driving under the influence), one of the first court processes you will face is that of arraignment. Here is what happens at DUI arraignment:
They Will Read Your Criminal Charges
Just because you have been charged with DUI doesn't mean it is the only official charge you will be facing. Depending on the circumstances of your DUI and arrest, the prosecution may charge you with multiple offenses, and the judge will read all of them. Here are other related charges you may face depending on your circumstances
- Endangering a minor (if you had a child passenger during your DUI)
- Evading arrest (if you did not stop immediately the police asked you to stop)
- Breaking open container laws (if you had an open bottle of alcohol in the car)
They Will Ask if You Have an Attorney
The judge will also ask you if you have an attorney or want the court to provide you with legal assistance. Don't assume that the court will automatically provide you with a public defender. In most cases, you only qualify for a public defender if:
- You are facing a felony DUI
- You face serious jail time if you lose the case
Note that public defense is not always free; some states will actually charge you for it. Whether or not you get a free public defender depends on your state's laws as well as your financial status.
They Will Ask for Your Plea
Taking the plea is one of the most important stages of a DUI arraignment. Here is where you tell the court if you believe you are guilty, not guilty or enter the nolo contendere plea. A nolo contendere plea means that you have not chosen to contest the charge, but you are neither admitting you are guilty or claiming you are not guilty. It is always a good idea to consult a DUI attorney before entering a plea other than the not guilty one.
They will Determine Bail Issues
The judge will also touch on the issue of your bail; this will be the case even if you had previously been released on bail. For example, the judge may decide to alter (increase or decrease) the bail amount or release you on your own cognizance.
They Will Announce Dates for Future Meetings
The judge will conclude the arraignment by announcing the dates for future court proceedings. Pay attention to these meetings because no one will come looking for you to announce them again. For example, you should not fail to know the date of your preliminary hearing or pretrial motions.Share