The first court appearance a defendant will have to make for a DUI is usually the arraignment. At this point, the defendant's case will not even be discussed.
At the arraignment, several things will happen:
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- The judge will advise the defendant of the charges brought against him or her by the prosecution — typically driving under the influence and driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.08% or higher. The defendant will be informed of any additional charges (if the defendant was involved in an accident that caused an injury or property damage, for example).
- The judge will accept the defendant's plea. In most cases, we highly recommend pleading not guilty.
- Typically, a pretrial date is set.
- Bail will be set. At this point, we can negotiate to have the defendant's bail reduced or eliminated, depending on the circumstances.
We can usually appear at our client's arraignment on his/her behalf so that he or she does not have to appear. Even if the defendant does choose to appear, we will take care of everything to save the defendant the anxiety and preparation and also to make sure that everything goes smoothly.
We will do extensive legal research and prepare to file all of the appropriate motions to bolster our defense as much as possible. This can include filing motions to have certain evidence excluded and to discover all of the evidence the prosecution intends to use against our client.
The strength of the defense often depends heavily on the preparation that goes into filing the appropriate motions and how the judge rules on them.