In most circumstances, a DUI case begins when a peace officer initiates an enforcement stop due to a traffic violation. Observing signs of intoxication that can range from mild to severe, the officer makes an arrest on suspicion of DUI. Usually the suspect is transported to the police station and given the choice between a breathalyzer or a blood test. Once the chemical test is completed, the suspect is booked into custody, fingerprinted, then placed in a holding cell. Often the suspect is released on his/her own recognizance (OR) and issued a date to appear in Court for the arraignment hearing. In other cases, bail is set based on a predetermined fee schedule that requires a portion of the full bail to be posted before the suspect is eligible for release. If the amount required to post bail cannot be paid, the suspect is held in custody until seeing the judge. This should take place within 48 hours.
Following arrest, the arresting officer will forward the arresting documents to the prosecutor’s office. A charging deputy will review the documents and decide which charges, if any, should be filed. The charges are typically filed via complaint. The arraignment is the first appearance in Court in which the charges are presented against the defendant. Most DUIs are filed as misdemeanor offenses. If the offense is filed as a misdemeanor, the DUI defense attorney can appear in Court on behalf of the client without the client being present. Many times the DUI lawyer will enter a plea of “not guilty” on behalf of her client. Other times, she will continue the arraignment if it is in her client’s best interest. If a “not guilty” plea is entered, then the matter will be set for a pretrial. At the pretrial hearing an experienced defense lawyer will review the case and file any and all pretrial motions necessary. Motions may include but are not limited to: Serna Motion, Motion to Suppress, and Motion to Dismiss. During the pretrial stage, the DUI defense attorney will also have an opportunity to evaluate the case and negotiate with the prosecutor. A skilled DUI defense attorney will either recommend the client enter into a plea bargain agreement, or take the matter to trial. Call Attorney Parker, the DUI Professor, today for a free case evaluation!