The criminal charge of DUI actually consists of two separate criminal proceedings:
- The Administrative Hearing (DMV)
- The Criminal Charge of DUI
The DMV proceeding involves your right to maintain your drivers' license and legally drive your vehicle after a charge of DUI. When you are arrested for DUI, your drivers' license is confiscated. The DUI citation you are given acts as your drivers' license for 30 days after the incident. In order to maintain your driving privilege after that time, you must file for an Administrative DMV Hearing. This must be done WITHIN 10 DAYS of your DUI arrest.
At the Administrative Hearing issues involved in the actual traffic stop will be addressed. The goal of the hearing is to find any of the issues involved with the traffic stop and subsequent arrest that may be used to your advantage. It allows the attorney the opportunity to view the videotape of the arrest and to question the arresting officer regarding the reasons for the stop. If any of the criteria for a valid traffic stop are violated, your license may be restored to you at this stage.
After your arrest, you will probably have been released on bail and assigned a date for arraignment. ARRAIGNMENT is the proceeding at which you are formally charged before the judge with DUI and asked to enter your plea. Since everyone is presumed innocent until PROVEN guilty, your standard plea will be Not Guilty. You will NOT need to appear in court at this time unless you have been notified by our office that an appearance is necessary. Prior to Arraignment we will be filing your Written Plea of Not Guilty and a Notice of Appearance on your behalf which frees you from appearing at Arraignment. Remember that your traffic ticket (for speeding, failure to maintain a single lane, failure to signal, etc.) is part of the total DUI charge and will be handled with it. DO NOT PAY THE TRAFFIC FINE associated with the initial stop that resulted in the DUI.
Discovery - Both the defense and prosecution in your case begin with discovery, gathering information regarding the circumstances of your traffic stop, arrest and charge. Any information gathered at the DMV Administrative Hearing regarding the traffic stop can come into use here to suppress evidence obtained inappropriately and form the basis of Motions to dismiss, etc. The circumstances surrounding the traffic stop will be carefully examined: what the officer said to you, what you told him, the probable cause for the stop, what happened prior to the breathalyzer and blood test, etc. The goal here will be to dismiss the DUI charge or have it reduced to Reckless Driving.
Pretrial Conferences - These hearings provide the opportunity for your attorney to file motions based on the information collected in the Discovery process as well as to negotiate with the prosecutor's office regarding your charge. The Pretrial Conference stage may present unique resolution options on a case-by-case basis - Motions to Suppress or Limit Evidence, diversion programs, Sentence reduction and plea negotiations will all be explored during this phase.
Trial - If your case is not resolved during the Pretrial period, it will go to trial. Each case will be evaluated and tried on the strength of its own merits, and you will be working very closely with your attorney on a trial strategy that will present your case in the best light.
CRIMINAL LITIGATION STAGES
- PRETRIAL CONFERENCES
We are often asked by clients what they can do during this process to help themselves. There are five good ways to help yourself:
5 WAYS TO HELP YOURSELF
- Be candid about what happened
- Attend DUI school
- Attend the victim impact panel
- Complete Community Service Hours
- Seek alcohol counseling