Initial Appearance in DUI Cases

Phoenix Lawyer Representing People Charged with Drunk Driving

If you are arrested for a DUI in Phoenix, a judge will see you within 24 hours. During the initial appearance in DUI cases, the judge will set the conditions for release and the amount of bail. The judge will also read the formal charges against you. Retaining a seasoned attorney at the earliest possible opportunity can best protect your rights. Phoenix DUI lawyer James E. Novak provides a tough, aggressive defense to those accused of driving under the influence. As a former prosecutor, he understands how the other side thinks.

DUI Charges

Based on the evidence, a prosecutor will decide whether to bring DUI charges against you. The prosecutor must also decide the specific charges that should be brought. When a prosecutor believes that a law enforcement agency report lacks sufficient evidence to justify the filing of criminal charges, the prosecutor may return the report to the law enforcement agency for more investigation or decline to prosecute altogether. However, when a prosecutor believes a report has enough evidence to indicate that you were driving under the influence and a conviction may be secured at trial, the prosecutor will likely file a direct complaint or seek a grand jury indictment.

Initial Appearance in DUI Cases

After you are arrested at the scene of the DUI, which is much more common, or because of an arrest warrant, you will be taken to jail. You will be booked or registered in the criminal justice system. Within 24 hours of the booking, you should be brought before a magistrate for an initial appearance.

At the initial appearance, the magistrate will verify your name and address and amend the formal charges if an incorrect name is stated. The magistrate will also inform you of the charges and present you with a copy of the information, complaint, or indictment. He will inform you of your right to counsel and that you have a right to remain silent, among other constitutional protections.

The magistrate will also decide whether probable cause exists for the purpose of releasing you from custody. If there is no probable cause, the magistrate should immediately release you.

The magistrate will also establish the conditions of your release. If you are accused of a less serious DUI and have sufficient community ties, you may be released on your own recognizance. This means you promise to come back to court if required. However, if for serious DUI charges, you may be held in jail or asked to post a cash bond. Factors to be considered by a magistrate when determining your release conditions include the nature of the charges, whether a felony or misdemeanor DUI is at issue, your residency, your community, job and family ties, your financial resources, whether you’re a flight risk, the safety to the community if you were released, and whether there was a victim involved.

Furthermore, the magistrate will set dates for your status conference and preliminary hearing. If you have been held in custody without bond, you can be let out after 48 hours if a direct complaint including charges against you has not been filed.

Initial Appearance Combined with Arraignment

Sometimes an initial appearance in DUI cases is combined with an arraignment. When you are charged with a misdemeanor or indicted for a felony, and defense counsel is there or the defendant waives the presence of counsel, you can be arraigned under Rule 14 during the initial appearance. Where a magistrate does not have jurisdiction to try the DUI, it cannot arraign you and instead needs to transfer the case to the right court for an arraignment to take place.

Consult a Seasoned Attorney in Phoenix

If you are concerned about an initial appearance in a DUI case, you should talk to a seasoned lawyer about your situation. Our principal James E. Novak has accumulated years of experience defending those charged with driving under the influence in Phoenix, along with Gilbert, Chandler, Mesa, and Maricopa County. Call 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.