When you’re caught driving under the influence, you likely know to expect a roadside sobriety test and a ride in the back seat of a police car. However, for many people, what happens after the booking seems like a complete mystery. You’ve heard the term “arraignment” and know that you have to attend the meeting, but, if you’re like most first-time offenders, you have no idea what to expect when you’re in the courtroom. Your trusted Denver criminal lawyer explains just what an arraignment is and what you can expect from your first appearance before a judge.
What Is an Arraignment?
An arraignment is a defendant’s first court appearance after being charged with a crime. During the appearance, they’ll be informed of the charges against them. If you were arrested for a DUI, the court will explain the charges against you in detail. They’ll also provide you and your attorney with copies of any blood alcohol level tests, your driving record obtained from the DMV, and a copy of your existing criminal record, if you have one. This gives your legal representation a chance to put together a case on your behalf. The more information they have about the charges against you, the better prepared they’ll be.
The arraignment does not have to occur immediately after the incident. Depending on how busy the court is, the arraignment may not occur until several weeks after your initial arrest. That doesn’t mean you’ll have to wait behind bars the entire time. In fact, most individuals charged with a DUI will be released to wait for their arraignment appointment at home, allowing you to go back to work and live your life as normally as possible. Keep in mind that you may still have to surrender your driver’s license until your hearing is over and the final verdict is rendered.
What Happens at The Arraignment
Like most court proceedings, arraignments follow a relatively set process. First, you’ll be advised of your rights under the constitution
. These include the right to a fair trial, the right against self-incrimination, and the right to have an attorney represent your interests and argue your case. Once you understand your rights, the judge will explain the case against you, going over each charge thoroughly so you understand precisely what you’re facing.
Once you understand the charges, you’ll be asked to enter a plea—your attorney will advise you on what plea is best for your situation. If you do not settle the case during the arraignment, the court will establish a time for a pre-trial hearing where your attorney will be able to argue your case. The judge will then explain the conditions of your release, set bail if an amount needs to be set, and set a date for a future hearing. If you’re released from custody, all you need to do is cooperate with your attorney and wait for your next hearing.
Arraignments can seem intimidating, but with help from a dedicated criminal defense attorney, you don’t have to feel overwhelmed. If you’re facing DUI charges, don’t wait. Contact the Law Office of John L. Buckley
today and schedule a free consultation.