After an arrest for driving under the influence (DUI), you don't want to be surprised about what could happen to your loved one. While being arrested is both embarrassing and humbling, it is the events that occur after the arrest that should concern you. Read on for a step-by-step primer on what to expect after your loved one is charged with DUI.
Your first thought is having your loved one released from jail – an action that your loved one expects and needs. There are several things that could happen right after an arrest and most of them occur at the arraignment. The meeting is held before a judge and you should be prepared for your loved one to experience the following:
- Plea – the accused pleads guilty, not guilty or no contest.
- Representation – the accused is asked if they already have legal counsel or need to have an attorney appointed for them.
- Release – Bail may be offered to first-time offenders and paying bail will earn your loved on a release from jail. In some cases, your loved one may be released on their own recognizance. This means no bail money is due.
This is a deal that results from an offer by the district attorney. Plea bargains allow those accused of crimes to plead guilty to a lesser or reduced charge in return for forgoing a trial. After your loved one agrees to the plea bargain and comes before a judge to confirm it, they are immediately sentenced. Be sure your loved one discuses a plea bargain with a criminal defense attorney before agreeing to anything.
If there was no plea bargain offered or agreed upon, the trial date will be set. DUI cases proceed in much the same manner as all court cases do. First, a jury is chosen and then opening statements by each side take place. Often, this is accomplished on a single day. The state goes first in calling witnesses and your attorney is able to cross-examine any witnesses. In most cases, the state calls on law enforcement personnel who made your loved one's arrest to give testimony about why they were stopped, why they had probable cause to carry out field sobriety testing, and the results of that testing.
When the state rests its case, it's your loved one's turn to demonstrate why they should not be convicted of DUI. The defense attorney, for example, might call upon an expert in breathalyzer science to show why the results of that reading were not accurate.
The outcome of your loved one's DUI case depends on the circumstances of the stop and everything that occurred after that. For more information, speak with a DUI attorney.