DeKalb County DUI Arraignments
An arraignment is a person’s first appearance in court after being released on bond. During arraignment, one of the first things they will do is enter a plea of guilt or not guilty. In addition to entering a plea at arraignment, the Defendant is advised of the charges that were filed by the prosecutor. If they enter a plea of guilty, then they would be sentenced by the judge once the plea is accepted by the court. The case would then end, and the sentence would be imposed. If they enter a plea of not guilty, which is what most people do who are charged with DUI, the case would then be moved over to a later date, for pre-trial motions, and potentially for trial.
For more information regarding the process of DeKalb County DUI arraignments, schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys at Hawkins Spizman today.
Timeline Between a DUI Arrest and Arraignment
Between a person’s DUI arrest and arraignment, the person charged should retain a lawyer to investigate the charges, and determine if the case can be fought in court. At the same time, the prosecutor will review the evidence and begin building their case. There may also be secondary actions against the defendant’s driving privileges, such as a driver’s license suspension.
Charged individuals should not wait for their arraignment to file paperwork to retain their driving privileges. During this time, they should hire an attorney, begin the process of mitigating the case if they so choose, and have their lawyer file a request for a hearing on the driver’s license within 30 days.
Making a Plea Deal During Arraignment
A person can enter a plea at arraignment, but it is very uncommon. Often at this stage, the defense does not have access to revew all of the evidence, and the prosecutor may be unwilling to make a plea offer that is reasonable. Most people who are pleading their arraignment are people charged with minor offenses, such as speeding, that does not have many consequences other than a small fine.
For the most part, most DUI cases are not going to come with an individual pleading guilty at arraignment.
What Does it Mean to Plead Not Guilty?
When a person enters a plea of not guilty, their case is set on a track where the discovery process begins. A Motion for Discovery must be filed by the defense lawyer in order to obtain access to police reports, dashcam videos and bodycam videos from the police. Once that information is provided, a Defendant might change their mind and change their not guilty plea to a guilty plea if the case looks too difficult to fight in court.
When Does a Person Have to Appear for Arraignment?
In most jurisdictions, a Defendant does not need to appear at arraignment if they retain a lawyer. All of the judges in DeKalb County allow a lawyer to handle the arraignment in court without the Defendant having to be present. If a Defendant does not have a lawyer, it is mandatory that the Defendant appear in court.
How High is Bail Set for DUI Offenses?
Judges generally set bond at the initial appearance, not at the arraignment. In DeKalb County, most DUI cases have a pre-set bond, and the Defendant can be post bond without havinf to see a judge. For most occasions, arraignments are for an individual who has been released from jail. Individuals can be arraigned while they are in jail, but for most people who are arrested and charged with DUI, they are capable of posting a bond to be released.
Benefits of Hiring a Legal Professional for Representation
Do not wait until your arraignment to hire an attorney for a DUI offense. Important documents have to be filed within 10 days of your arraignment, including Discovery Motions (to obtain a copy of the State’s evidence), and Motions to Suppress (to demand that any evidence that is unlawfully gathered be excluded from the trial). You should speak with a lawyer soon after your release from jail for DUI in order to begin building a defense as soon as possible. The more time your attorney has to develop a defense strategy, the more likely it will be effective.
To learn more about DeKalb County DUI arraignments, be sure to get in touch with one of our attorneys at Hawkins Spizman today.