The Standard Stages of a DUI Case
DUI laws and penalties have become increasingly stringent over time, and for a good reason: drinking and driving can have grave consequences for all parties involved. These laws are therefore helpful from a general perspective, but they can also lead to unfair consequences for undeserving drivers. This can be especially problematic when innocent drivers are suspected of being intoxicated or when police base their suspicions of DUI on unfounded evidence.
If you have been charged with DUI in the Phoenix area, speak with experienced DUI attorneys to review your case. By working with a knowledgeable lawyer who specializes in DUI charges, and by understanding the standard legal proceedings, you can increase your chances of a fair and satisfactory outcome.
DUI Case Stages
Unlike a simple moving violation, which requires a single court date at most, a DUI charge results in a multistep process. Typically, you will be required to undergo the following steps:
- Arrest: If police have reasonable suspicion of an intoxicated driver, it will likely lead to his or her arrest. Before the arrest, the driver in question will be asked to perform field sobriety tests and provide a breathalyzer sample. Although it may seem reasonable to comply with these requests, remember that you are not legally obligated to perform these tests prior to arrest.
- Booking: After arrest, you will be brought to the police station. At this point, you will likely be able to pay bail for early release. If your license is to be suspended in the interim before trial, you may be able to submit a formal request to retain your license until further notice.
- Arraignment: In your first court appearance, the judge will ask whether you plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest, which will determine the ensuing case. The judge will also determine whether there is enough evidence for a trial to proceed. Before this point, you should speak with a lawyer for your DUI defense.
- Pre-trial meetings: You and your attorney will meet with the prosecuting attorney to discuss the case, any current evidence, and the possibility of a plea bargain. Your attorney should be able to recommend whether a plea agreement will be more beneficial than risking the full potential consequences of a guilty sentence.
- Legal arguments: Before the trial itself, the attorneys will meet with the judge to determine which evidence will be accepted or rejected for trial. These motions are a crucial stage that can shape the outcome of a trial, based on what can or cannot be used against you in court.
- Trial: If you do not accept a plea bargain and the judge rules that there is enough evidence against you, the case will go to trial. At this point, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were driving while intoxicated, as defined by the state of Arizona.
- Sentencing: Once the trial has reached its conclusion, the judge or jury will pronounce a verdict based on the arguments and evidence presented. If you are found guilty, the judge will determine a sentence that he or she deems appropriate.
The Advantages of a DWI Lawyer
A general or court-assigned lawyer is unlikely to use the same breadth and depth of tactics that a veteran DUI lawyer knows to employ. At the Law Office of James Novak, we understand how to scrutinize every detail of your case in order to provide the best defense possible. In many instances, a simple legal error or oversight is enough to win your case. Common defense tactics include:
- Contesting the legality of a search and seizure
- Contesting the legality of a traffic stop
- Contesting the legality of sobriety tests
- Examining the reading of your Miranda Rights
- Examining the results and conditions of your breathalyzer test
- Examining the consistency and completeness of the police report
- A cross-examination of the police officers and their actions
Call Us for More Information
Our legal office is ready to assist you in your DUI trial. Whether you have just been arrested or have an upcoming hearing, contact us to gain immediate assistance and leverage in your case.