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I’ve Been Arrest For DUI, Now What?
It’s important to know that DUI cases have two separate aspects to them. Firstly, a DUI is a criminal charge. Secondly, you’ll be facing a suspension of your driver’s license, this is an administrative act taken by the Secretary of State. Your license will be suspended 46 days after your arrest.
Your criminal case will be set for a first appearance, which you must appear for, if you don’t appear, a warrant could be issued for your arrest. You should plan on having several court dates for a DUI, especially if you hire a private lawyer. At your first appearance, the court will typically ask you what you want to do about a lawyer, have one appointed, or if you plan on hiring a private DUI lawyer.
Why you shouldn’t use a Public Defender in a DUI case
In some instances, you may qualify for a Public Defender to assist you. This is an attorney that the court appoints to represent you in a criminal case. The biggest reason why you should hire a private attorney over using the free public defender is that the Public Defender cannot negotiate anything having to do with your driver’s license. The driver’s license aspect is a civil matter in nature and because of that, the public defender won’t assist you with it. They will only handle the criminal aspects of your DUI. A private DUI lawyer can help you with getting your license back, attacking the statutory summary suspension, while also handling your criminal case.
Hearing on Statutory Summary Suspension
On the administrative side of your case, your driver’s license suspension will begin 46 days after your arrest. A defendant can file a Petition in court demanding a hearing. Unlike in the criminal case, the burden of proof is on the person arrested.
Discovery in a DUI Case
Your case will be set for a Pre-trial Conference/Status Hearing. At these court dates the prosecution and your attorney inform the court as to if there is ongoing negotiations, if the case needs to be put on a trial docket, or if there are outstanding discovery issues.
Discovery involves investigating the evidence that the opposing side intends to present. For a DUI arrest, this could include Police officer bodycam footage, squad car footage, video of your field sobriety tests, breathalyzer analysis, blood test result, booking footage, and police reports. Your
Your Attorney reviews all this evidence, and from there decide on how they should/can defend your case.
Trial or Plea Agreement
In a vast majority of cases, the case reaches a final outcome prior to a jury trial or bench trial. The State will either dismiss the case if they believe there is a flaw in their case, or the State and the Defendant will come to a negotiated plea. Your attorney handles the negotiations and will fight to get you the best possible outcome. If it is a plea, your attorney should discuss all the terms of it prior to going in front of a judge.
In some circumstances, however, a trial becomes necessary. If the State and the defendant cannot come to an agreement, then it will go to a trial. Usually, in DUI cases, the matter would go to a jury trial where twelve individuals will weigh the evidence and determine guilt or innocence.
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