Getting a DUI can sometimes turn your life upside down. If you obtain a DUI arrest, it’s important that you know the DUI legal process and hire an experienced criminal defense attorney from the Lerner and Rowe Law Group. You shouldn’t face these challenges alone, so here is a brief explanation of the DUI legal process to prepare you for any hardships you may face in the future.
Booking and Bail
Once you obtain an arrest for a DUI, the police will take you into custody, and they will process all your personal information. Your name, date of birth, fingerprints and photographs, information about the charges against you, and other information will be collected. The police will put you in a holding cell or local jail while you wait to have your initial appearance, unless police decide to cite and release. At the initial appearance, a judge determines the appropriate release condition, including whether to impose a bond.
Your bail amount is based on a few factors such as your criminal history, past DUIs, and the seriousness of the DUI. If you cannot afford or otherwise do not have access to bail, a judge may adjust your bail amount later, a request which a DUI lawyer can make. You can always hope for “own recognizance” release, which requires no bail money and is usually only for those with few, if any, previous crimes. As a condition for release, you must agree to appear at all court proceedings.
The arraignment is usually the first court hearing you will attend. At the arraignment, the judge will read the charges brought against you and advise you of your constitutional rights. The judge may also ask how you plead (guilty, not guilty, or no contest) and will announce further court dates if you plead not guilty.
If your case is set for a preliminary hearing, the judge will decide if there is enough evidence for a trial to take place. The purpose of the hearings is not to determine whether you are guilty but simply whether there is probable cause that a crime occurred and that you are the person that committed it. At the hearing, a criminal defense lawyer has the opportunity to cross examine the state’s witness to challenge a finding of probable cause. If the judge decides the evidence is insufficient, the judge will dismiss your case. If the judge decides the evidence is sufficient, the case will be set for further hearings.
Pretrial and Trial
A criminal case has a series of pretrial hearings before the matter goes to trial. The purpose of the pretrial hearings is to give the parties the opportunity to discuss the case and explore a pretrial resolution. However, such hearings occur to also address motions to suppress evidence such as physical evidence or BAC test results. Once you and all other parties file their motions, a judge will rule upon them before the trial takes place.
The trial is where eight to twelve carefully screened jurors decide on your guilt. The prosecution has the burden of proving its case beyond a reasonable doubt and will make an opening statement and present evidence against you. Your criminal defense attorney, in turn, will attempt to show that the prosecution is not meeting its burden of proof and argue for a not guilty verdict. Witnesses will testify, and both parties will examine and cross examine them. Eventually, both parties will make closing arguments, and a jury will decide the outcome.
Sentencing and Appeal
If the jury unanimously rules in your favor, your charges will be dismissed. If their decision is a split one, a mistrial will occur. Therefore, the judge may still dismiss the charges against you. Alternatively, the prosecution can choose to retry the case.
However, if you the jury finds you guilty, the case will proceed to sentencing, and the judge could sentence you in a variety of ways. In Arizona, the judge must impose jail time, a mandatory ignition interlock device (IID), a suspension of your license, and statutory fines and fees. Generally, the severity of the outcome depends on the seriousness of your charges and criminal history. With a criminal defense lawyer from Lerner and Rowe Law Group, however, the outcome can resolve in your favor.
Have Questions About the DUI Legal Process?
If you have questions or were arrested for a DUI, contact Lerner and Rowe Law Group right away! Our experienced criminal attorneys know how to defend your case and make sure you suffer no unjust penalties or consequences. Feel free to visit us at our office Monday – Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Give us a call anytime at 602-667-7777.
Also, don’t forget to contact us online and check out our LiveChat feature. Don’t let your case sink from poor management. Hire a Phoenix DUI Lawyer from Lerner and Rowe Law Group! Affordable payment plans are available.
The information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.