We are going to briefly go over the process involved when one is arrested for a DUI. It’s useful information and will serve you well when you need it most!
It’s All In The Signs
When you are stopped by a police officer, there are tell-tale signs which an officer can use to ascertain whether you have been driving under the influence of alcohol.
The police officer will look at whether you’ve been driving poorly, whether your eyes are bloodshot, if you use incomprehensible speech when you act disorderly and if you have poor motor skills.
Police Protocol and Procedure
If a police officer has ordered you to take a mandatory breathalyzer test, you are not allowed to refuse. If you do refuse to do so, it will be used as evidence against you in court. After failing the breathalyzer test, you will be arrested, booked and placed into custody.
At this point, this is when you should call your lawyer. If this is your first DUI offense, you are more than likely going to be released from custody the following day. However, that doesn’t mean you don’t have to make a court appearance on a future set date.
For a second-degree DUI offender, you would have to post bail as well as appear in court. If you played a smart move in calling your lawyer at the beginning of the arrest procedure, your lawyer might be able to wrangle you out of filed criminal charges.
What Happens When Criminal Charges Are Filed?
Your lawyer and yourself, the defendant, will appear in court to formally address the filed criminal charges against you. There are three outcomes that can come of this court appearance.
#1 – Bail may be granted to you with certain terms and conditions such as attending a weekly alcohol prevention program.
#2 – You are not granted bail and have to serve jail time as well as have suspended driving privileges upon your release from jail.
#3 – If you file a demurrer, which challenges all the evidence against you, and succeed, your case will be dismissed.
However, if you plead not guilty, you go straight to a pretrial hearing. This hearing allows for discussions on a possible plea agreement. If there is no final decision made during this hearing, off you go to a jury trial.
A jury consists of twelve community members who will hear all testimonies and review the evidence against the defendant. This is all to determine whether the defendant is guilty or not.
If the jury finds you, the defendant, guilty, you are then sentenced accordingly by the judge. If you are found not guilty, then you are free to go.
Your troubles won’t end, however, when the jury reaches a unanimous verdict. The jury is then referred to as a ‘hung’ jury but it does mean there is a possibility of having the case retried.