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What Is a DUI Arraignment?
A DUI arraignment is the first actual courtroom appearance after someone has been arrested and booked for driving under the influence. During an arraignment, the charged suspect is called into court by a judge who does the following:
- Inquires whether the defendant has an attorney or needs one appointed
- Reads the charges against the defendant
- Asks how the defendant pleads to the charges
- Determines the bail amount
- Schedules future court dates for further proceedings
- Hands over initial discovery to the defendant (or the defendant’s attorney), which is usually: 1) copies of police reports, 2) results of chemical tests, and 3) results of blood tests.
Do I Have a Right to a Lawyer during an Arraignment?
If the crime is serious enough and the defendant faces the possibility of jail time if convicted, the individual being arraigned has a constitutional right to an attorney. Police departments and judges everywhere are very aware of this right, and should immediately spring to action when a request for counsel is made by a DUI suspect. Even if the suspect cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to at no cost.
Do I Need a Lawyer during an Arraignment?
It is extremely important to be represented by legal counsel as soon as possible. Since the arraignment is technically the first step in a potentially long criminal adjudication, it would be wise to hire an attorney.
A criminal defense lawyer will be able to make the right strategic decisions regarding time waivers, whether to accept a plea bargain, or a number of other considerations. Additionally, for a DUI, a criminal defense lawyer may be able to appear on your behalf without you showing up to court, sparing you from asking for precious time off of work.
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Last Modified: 04-06-2015 02:42 PM PDT
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