If you are accused of a DUI and have no past experience with the criminal justice system, you may have no idea what you should expect. There are different stages of a DUI arrest and subsequent hearing or trial that you need to know about.
The stages of a DUI case include:
- The DUI arrest
- Booking at the police station
- Release from custody
- An arraignment
- A preliminary hearing
- A DUI trial (with or without a jury)
To start with, a police officer may pull you over and ask you to take a Breathalyzer test. Then, depending on the results, they may request that you take field sobriety tests to gather further evidence to make an arrest.
If you fail the Breathalyzer and field sobriety tests, then you will be arrested.
After an arrest: Prepare to head to the police station
Normally, you will go to the police station after an arrest. If you are not feeling well or need medical attention, the officer may call for an ambulance or take you to the hospital themselves.
If you go to the station, you will be booked in. Then, after gathering information, the police may release you from custody. During this stage, it’s reasonable to ask to speak with your attorney before answering any further questions.
Heading to court
After you are released or a date is set for court, you may be arraigned, go through hearings and have a DUI trial. During each of these stages, you will want to know your rights and be prepared to defend yourself and your actions. At the DUI arraignment, you have the option of making your plea and asking for an attorney if you need one.
If you are found to be guilty at this point, you won’t need to return to court again. However, if you plead not guilty, you may need to go on to a second hearing and eventual DUI trial. If you intend to plead not guilty, it’s helpful to know your different options for a defense, so you can protect yourself and your best interests as you move forward.