After you’re arrested for drunk driving and make an initial appearance, you’ll need to appear at an arraignment. You may be tempted to represent yourself. You should be aware that a DUI is a serious criminal charge. To protect your legal rights, you should be represented by legal counsel during DUI arraignments and any further proceedings related to these charges. Phoenix DUI attorney James E. Novak is a former prosecutor who understand how prosecutors think. This advantage allows him to devise a defense strategy to seek the best possible outcome. The earlier we get involved, the stronger our ability to build your defense.DUI Arraignments
Many DUIs are charged as misdemeanors. When you’re charged with a misdemeanor DUI, the initial appearance and arraignment take place at the same time. Thus, at the DUI arraignment, you’ll be formally advised of the charges against you and your rights.
Under Rule 14.2, an arraignment needs to be held no later than 10 days after a complaint, information, or indictment is filed if you’re in custody. If you’re not in custody, the arraignment needs to be held within 30 days of the filing of the complaint, information or indictment. When an arraignment can’t be held within this time frame due to a special situation, the court needs to hold the arraignment as soon as it can after that.
At the initial appearance and arraignment, you should be advised of the following: (1) your right to counsel, (2) your right to trial by jury, (3) your right to be present at future proceedings, (4) that if you don’t show up at future proceedings, you could be charged with a new crime and an arrest warrant could be issued, (5) all proceedings can be held in your absence, other than sentencing, and (6) you can lose the right to a direct appeal if your absence from a sentencing hearing delays sentencing more than 90 days after conviction.Felony DUI
If you’re being charged with felony DUI, the arraignment is distinct from the initial appearance. At an arraignment for a felony DUI, the court can order you to be 10-print fingerprinted no later than 20 calendar days by an appropriate law enforcement agency. The court can also order this if your DUI involved circumvention of an ignition interlock device placed in connection with a prior DUI conviction or somebody else’s DUI in violation of A.R.S. sections 28-1301 et. seq.Entering a Plea
At the arraignment, in addition to informing you of the charges and your rights, the court will need to make sure you have legal counsel, assuming that’s applicable, and enter your plea. The court will also confirm you are the person specified in the charges.
The judge will ask you how you wish to plead. You can plead in three ways: guilty, not guilty, and no contest. A guilty plea indicates you’re admitting your guilt and you have no legal defense for your drunk driving. If you simply admit your guilt, you’re agreeing that you’ll accept the judge’s sentencing and penalties. It’s wise to call us rather than plead guilty under the assumption that you’ll be convicted or because you want to get it over with. You can be immediately sentenced if you were charged with a misdemeanor DUI to which you pled guilty. However, when the charges are more serious felony DUI charges, the judge will set a separate sentencing hearing for a future date.
When you plead not guilty, you’re stating you want to mount a legal defense. This plea preserves your right to seek counsel to defend you. Usually, you should plead not-guilty, even if you haven’t yet retained a lawyer. The court will set a pretrial conference or a trial date.
A no-contest plea is also called a nolo contendere plea. With a no-contest plea, you don’t admit guilt, but you also tell the court you don’t want to challenge the charges. That means you’ll accept whatever sentencing and penalties are imposed by the court. The prosecutor will make a recommendation about what those should be. You can be sentenced immediately if you were charged with a misdemeanor DUI. However, if you were charged with a felony, the court can set your sentencing hearing for a future date and time, typically thirty days out.Failure to Appear
Unless your attorney or the court told you that you don’t need to appear, you must appear at your arraignment. If you fail to appear, the court will issue a warrant for your arrest under Arizona Revised Statute section 13-2506 and 13-2507. The latter is a class 5 felony.Hire a Seasoned Phoenix Lawyer
DUI arraignments are important proceedings that can impact the charges. A DUI conviction can affect numerous areas of your life long-term, including your ability to secure a job, housing, or higher education. You should call attorney James E. Novak for a consultation. He represents those charged with drunk or drugged driving charges in Phoenix, as well as Gilbert, Tempe, Chandler, Scottsdale, Mesa, and throughout Maricopa County. Contact him at (480) 413-1499 or complete our online form.