A DUI arraignment hearing is the initial court appearance following a DUI arrest. It is an important first step in the legal process and will determine whether you must return to court for further action or if your case can proceed directly to sentencing.
A DUI arraignment hearing has two primary purposes: establishing essential facts about you and your pending criminal case and informing you of potential consequences for pleading guilty vs. not guilty. Keep reading to learn more about DUI arraignment hearings, including the potential consequences of pleading guilty vs. not guilty, what to expect at your pre-trial conference, and how to get the best results from your criminal defense attorney.
What is a DUI Arraignment Hearing?
A DUI arraignment hearing is your first time in court following a DUI arrest. This court appearance aims to establish essential facts about you and your case and determine whether you will proceed directly to sentencing or if you must attend additional pre-trial hearings before proceeding.
Because these hearings are relatively informal, the judge presiding over your DUI arraignment does not give long speeches about the courtroom process or what to expect from the legal system. Instead, there is typically a vague outline of how the case will proceed and an opportunity for you and/or your attorney to ask questions before proceeding with further actions in your case.
Who does a DUI Arraignment Hearing benefit
As with all court hearings, a DUI arraignment hearing benefits you if it results in a more positive outcome for your case, such as obtaining the least serious criminal charges possible or avoiding having the case go to trial altogether.
Suppose the court doesn’t find you guilty of the most serious drunk driving charges. In that case, you are not required to appear before a jury and can potentially get away with only paying a small fine or performing community service. Suppose there was insufficient evidence to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. In that case, there is no presumption of guilt, meaning that after your DUI arraignment hearing, all you need to do is prove your innocence and hope that the prosecutor will decide not to pursue additional charges against you.
Examples of cases for a DUI Arraignment Hearing
A DUI arraignment hearing is generally used for cases where the accused has no prior criminal record. This typically includes cases where the accused is accused of driving under the influence (DUI) for the first time, and often involves a scenario where there is little evidence against the individual and no video or other forensic evidence.
In this situation, even if you were pulled over while driving recklessly, there may not be any traces of illegal substances in your system (e.g., alcohol, controlled substances). The prosecutor may only be able to prove that illegal substances were present in your system, but you can still be charged criminally for driving under the influence because there could have been more than enough evidence to convict you.
For example, if you were pulled over for speeding in a construction zone and told the police that you were driving erratically, but there was no video or other evidence to corroborate your story. You could still be charged with driving under the influence as long as all of your blood alcohol content (BAC) readings were within the legal limit.
Where can you find more information about DUI Arraignment Hearing
The online resources below can help you prepare for your DUI arraignment hearing.
Your local DUI attorney will likely be able to give you more specific information about what to expect since this is not something that typically happens when dealing with your case.
If you want more detailed information about DUI laws, BAC laws, and Arizona’s DUI Arraignment Laws, then the website: http://www.azlawhelp.com/DUI_arraignment_laws/ is a great resource for more information on these topics.