If you have been charged with driving under the influence (DUI), your first court appearance will be your arraignment. Often, the hearing will be the day after you were arrested if you were detained. In some courts, you will be taken to the courthouse for your arraignment. However, the judges in many jurisdictions will conduct the hearing by video conferencing while you remain in jail.
Sometimes, you may have been released from jail on your own recognizance—your promise to return for all court hearings—or by posting bail soon after your arrest. If this happens, your arraignment could be a few days after you were arrested.
What Happens at a DUI Arraignment
Your arraignment will be a short court hearing before the judge. At the hearing, the judge will do the following:
- Read the criminal charges against you.
- Ask if you have hired an attorney and offer to appoint a court-appointed attorney if you cannot afford to pay for one. The judge will most likely ask you questions regarding your financial situation if you are requesting that an attorney be appointed for you.
- Ask you how you will plead to the charges. You can plead guilty, no contest, or not guilty. It is often the best to plead not guilty until you have discussed your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
- Decide whether you can be released on personal recognizance or set the amount of your bail if this has not been done earlier.
- Announce the future court hearings in your case, such as a preliminary hearing, pre-trial motions, and trial. You must attend these hearings.
You should consult with your attorney before your arraignment and have him attend it with you if possible—especially if your bail will need to be set.
If you have been charged with a DUI, I can advise you in more detail about what to expect at your arraignment. Call me today at 888-386-3898 to schedule a free consultation.