After an individual has been taken into custody on suspicion of DUI, he or she will be booked, possibly bailed out of jail and then arraigned. The arraignment is the first court appearance after being taken into custody. It usually takes place within hours or days after an individual is formally charged. In some cases, it will be the only court appearance as the driver often will plead guilty.
During the arraignment process, the driver will be read the charges and officially becomes a defendant. The defendant will then be asked if legal counsel has been retained or if a public defender is needed in the case. Anyone who is facing jail time upon a possible conviction must be given access to legal counsel. Even if a public defender is assigned to the case, that person must provide a zealous defense against the charge.
The judge will then ask for a plea and may allow the defendant to be released on bail until a trial has been concluded. Dates for any pre-trial motions or hearings may also be set at this time. As part of the arraignment process, the defendant and his or her attorney will be given copies of relevant chemical test results and reports filed in the case.
Drivers who are charged with operating under the influence may face jail time, a fine and probation. They may also lose their driver’s license temporarily or have it revoked. Therefore, it may be advisable to discuss possible defense strategies with an attorney. In some cases, the attorney might argue that a blood or breath test was taken incorrectly or that details in the police report were incorrect, which could lead to the charge being dropped.