Broward DUI Lawyer William Moore Explains that when facing DUI convictions its important to understand the DUI Arraignment process. In certain situations, when an individual has been arrested on the charge of driving under influence, he or she will be given an opportunity to appear before a judge for the purpose of arraignment. The DUI arraignment process is as follows; charges are made against the defendant, and the defendant is asked to respond to the charges with a guilty or not guilty plea. The defendant will have a few legal options to deal with the charges, and may receive an opportunity for plea bargaining. This and questions about the information contained herein should be emailed using the contact form.
DUI Arraignment Process: Proceedings
The DUI arraignment process involves asking the defendant to plead to the DUI charge – guilty or not guilty. At this stage, the defendant may hire a DUI defense attorney, or the court may appoint an attorney for the defendant. The amount of bail could be set at this stage. A large number of defendants who are charged with a misdemeanor and who may not have posted bail already are released after their own recognizance during the arraignment.
At the stage of arraignment, even if the defendant has entered a not guilty plea, it is possible to change the plea later to guilty or no contest. The defendant may also insist on having a jury trial in most of the states. Unless the defendant expressly waives the right to a jury trial, it will be presumed that he or she wants one. The demand for a jury trial can also be dropped later. In cases where the defendant has been charged with having DUI convictions previously, the defense attorney may be able to challenge their validity at a later stage.
DUI Arraignment Options before a Defendant
Once the defendant is out of jail, it becomes important to evaluate the case objectively. If an experienced DUI defense attorney has not been hired, it may be the right time to do so. Legal options available to the defendant at this stage include the following:
• The defendant may go ahead and plead guilty as charged.
• The defendant may try to achieve a favorable plea bargain and reduce the original charges.
• The defendant may demand a trial before a judge.
• In most states, the defendant may ask for a jury trial.
Plea Bargaining vs Fighting the Charge
If it appears in the case that a jury is quite likely to find the defendant guilty of the charge of DUI, or when the BAC level has been found to be significantly above .08 percent, it makes more sense to try for a plea bargain, which is a negotiated settlement with the prosecutor.
By William Moore