If you have been accused and arrested for a drunk driving charge, there are serious consequences that you can face. Your life may be changed for years because of punishments for your actions as well as what is put on your record. This is why it's important to consider the assistance of DUI attorneys. Defense lawyers can advise you on proper legal strategies and help you make the best choices regarding your legal rights and options.
Right now we'd like to look at some of the basics when it comes to DUI/DWI hearings so that you have a general idea about what to expect.
About DUI / DWI Charges
Driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while intoxicated (DWI) refer to instances in which a person was using alcohol or another controlled substance while operating a vehicle.
In Arizona, the legal limit for alcohol is a blood alcohol content of .08%; for drivers of commercial vehicles, the legal limit is just .04%. There is a zero tolerance policy for anyone under the age of 21 who has any alcohol in their system.
The Arraignment for DUI / DWI Charges
The arraignment is the first court appearance of the accused. During the arraignment, the accused and his or her attorney (if the accused has hired one) will have the charges read to them. Once the charges are read, the accused will enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest, the last of which is essentially an admission of guilt.
If the plea is not guilty, the accused's case will then go to trial. Before the trial, the DUI defense attorney and the prosecutor will have a series of meetings to go over the case. The accused will not be present at these meetings.
The DUI / DWI Trial
In a misdemeanor DUI / DWI trial, there are six jury members. These kinds of cases will last roughly two days, an it is up to the jury to determine if the prosecution has proven the guilt of the accused beyond a reasonable doubt. The verdict of the six jurors has to be unanimous. If a unanimous decision cannot be reached, the judge will then call for a mistrial and a new trial will be schedule.
How You Should Compose Yourself for Court Hearings
If you are accused of DUI / DWI, be sure to dress well and be respectful at the arraignment and trail. Dress as you would for an office job and be sure to look the judge and prosecutor in the eyes when you are asked to address them. Basic decorum will be helpful to you as you go through these proceedings.
Hearing with the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division (MVD)
In addition to the court hearings, many people accused of DUI or DWI will also have a hearing with the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division (MVD). This hearing is done to avoid driver's license suspension and must be schedule within 15 days of the DUI charge. The decision regarding your license will be made by an administrative judge after considering the circumstances of your case.
Be sure to dress well and act respectful at this MVD hearing. This can help your chances of retaining your license.
Learn More About DUI / DWI Cases
If you would like to learn more about your legal rights following accusations of drunk driving, be sure to contact our Arizona DUI / DWI defense lawyers today. Our legal team looks forward to helping you understand your legal rights and ensuring that the legal system functions properly.