DUI Court Process

Phoenix Lawyers for DUI Charges

It can be upsetting and difficult to be charged with a DUI. It’s normal to wonder what’s going to happen to you and feel confused by the DUI court process. If you are arrested and charged, it’s important to talk to a Phoenix DUI attorney well-versed in how prosecutors think about drunk driving charges. James E. Novak is a former prosecutor who brings insights from that job to bear on the aggressive defense of those accused of drunk driving in Maricopa County and surrounding areas.

DUI Court Process

Arizona judicial process is put forward under the Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure. Once you’re arrested for a DUI or subject to a custodial interrogation in Phoenix, an officer must tell you your Miranda rights. Your car is likely to be confiscated. An inventory search of its contents will be conducted. You will likely be transported to the nearest police station. However, in some cases, such as when you need medical treatment, the police will take you to a hospital first.

For a first offense, at the station, you may be given a citation, advised on how to get bail, and the time of your court hearing. However, once you’re arrested and taken into jail, you’ll be booked. This means you’ll go through a search and fingerprinting. Your photograph will be taken. You’ll be taken to the courtroom within 24 hours of your arrest.

At court, a judge will let you know how much bail is and how to be released. However, our lawyer may be able to ask for your release without imposition of bail under certain circumstances, such as first misdemeanor offenses not involving injuries.

At an arraignment, you’ll need to provide your plea, whether guilty, not guilty or no contest. You’ll also be charged formally. Before trial, if we represent you, the DUI court process affords us several occasions to negotiate and arrange a plea bargain with the prosecutor, including during a pretrial conference. We may file certain pretrial motions such as a motion to suppress or a motion to dismiss. As your lawyer, Mr. Novak will discuss any offers and deal with you and let you know the benefits and disadvantages of taking it. When you agree to a deal, trial won’t be held. However, when you don’t take a deal, the charges move forward to trial.

Trial consists of several phases. Roughly, the phases include pretrial motions, selection of the jury in more serious DUI cases, and presentations of opening statements and evidence. The prosecution goes first; it carries the burden of proof in its case, which is a high one: “beyond a reasonable doubt.” The defense goes second. Although the prosecution has a high burden to overcome, you should seek knowledgeable counsel as a prosecutor typically doesn’t pursue charges if there is little evidence to meet its burden. The prosecutor has a chance to present rebuttal evidence before closing arguments. Jury instructions will be given. A DUI trial may last up to 5 days. The jury will deliberate. If you are convicted, you will enter the sentencing phase for the DUI.

Sentencing for a DUI turns on many different factors, chief among them whether it’s your first or subsequent offense, and whether there are any aggravating circumstances. As a first-time offender, you’ll be sentenced to at least 24 hours to 10 days in jail, or more. However, alternative sentencing may be available for a first offense; an alternative sentence could include a range of different options such as community service, treatment, electronic monitoring, and home detention.

After a judgment is entered, you’ll have the opportunity to appeal.

Hire an Experienced Maricopa County DUI Defense Lawyer

You may be faced with harsh consequences if you’ve been charged with a DUI. Seasoned Phoenix criminal defense attorney James E. Novak may be able to represent you through the DUI court process. In some cases, it is appropriate to negotiate for a plea. However, there are cases that should be taken to trial. A critical aspect of selecting legal counsel is choosing one that is able to fight effectively at trial and has a good reputation among judges and prosecutors. Mr. Novak represents clients in Tempe and Phoenix, as well as Gilbert, Chandler, Mesa, and Maricopa County. Contact him at (480) 413-1499 or complete our online form.

Client Reviews
I was facing criminal charges with three priors in my history. Mr Novak was very helpful and got me a lighter sentence than I probably deserved. He is a great attorney and I would highly recommend him. A. T.
James worked tirelessly behind the scenes with the prosecution, to decrease my son’s charges to a more reasonable penalty. I could not have asked for a better, more professional attorney. He treated my son with the utmost respect and walked him through every step of a very difficult situation. S. G.
Attorney Novak did an outstanding job defending my son. Due to his extensive professional background within the court system, he was successfully able to defend my son during a very difficult time for my family. I highly recommend Attorney James Novak for your legal needs. T. G.