A DUI arrest can be very scary and it is critical that you have someone on your side to help guide you through the process. A good Henry County DUI lawyer will know the specifics of what you can expect if you are ever arrested and charged with a DUI. The Law Offices of Lawson and Berry will review the details of your case and aggressively defend you in order to preserve your right to drive and your freedom. The DUI process has the following stages:
There are two main ways you can be pulled over and charged with a DUI. The first method is when you are pulled over because of some action that the officer has observed and suspects that you are driving under the influence. The second method is a roadside DUI checkpoint, where each car is stopped regardless of the driver's behavior behind the wheel. If you are pulled over due to erratic driving you may be asked to perform a series of field sobriety test in order to collect more evidence that you are intoxicated. You do not have to perform these tests. In fact, they are specially designed to make you appear impaired even if you are completely sober. If you are at a checkpoint the police must be able to establish probable cause to arrest you. Often field sobriety tests are used to establish probable cause, and you are not required to even perform them.
If the officer was able to collect enough evidence to arrest you for DUI you will be taken to the police station. At that time, you will be asked to submit samples for either a blood and or a breath test. You are required to submit to these tests at the police station or hospital. You will then be “booked”, which includes fingerprinting, photographs, and your driver's license will be confiscated. At this point, you may be released on your own recognizance or you may have to post bail. Before you leave you should receive a citation that includes your first court date.
The arraignment is your first official court hearing and is the time at which you either enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. Often, individuals charged with a DUI may be so confused and freighted that they enter a plea of guilty just because they want the entire ordeal to be over with. If you have a good Henry County lawyer by your side, from our firm, we will review the details of your case and help you sort out what your next steps will be. If you enter a plea of guilty at this hearing your license will be suspended. It is very important that you have a lawyer prior to the arraignment in order to prevent the suspension of your license and to enter the necessary motions to suppress evidence collected at the scene either before or during the arraignment. The motions cannot be filed after your arraignment is completed so you must act quickly. At this hearing your trial date will be set.
Preliminary Motion Hearings
A motion is a legal challenge against the evidence collected against you. A motion is filed in order to prevent the use of evidence against you in a trial. Often, the motions in your case will help form a strong foundation for your defense and must be filed by your arraignment. We file motions if your rights have been violated such as an unlawful arrest or search and seizure of your property. The expert legal team at Lawson and Berry will bring any rights violation or failures to follow protocol to the courts attention. In some cases these errors are so serious that you may have your charges reduced or dismissed entirely. The importance of getting a good DUI lawyer early on in order to file the necessary motions can not be emphasized enough.
You will have two options when it comes to your trial- a jury trial or a bench trial. A jury trial has 6 jurors and a bench trial requires that a single judge acts as both the judge and jury. Depending on the circumstances of your case one type of trail may be favorable to the other. If the details of your case are complicated or very scientific it may be better to have a bench trial. The decision can be discussed with your DUI attorney who will provide guidance and advice for your decision.
Once you reach trial, the prosecutor must be able to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. A good DUI defense lawyer will use this opportunity to bring in expert witnesses, analysis of the arrest, and question the arresting officer at this time to create a strong DUI defense. At this time you will be found guilty or not guilty. If you are found guilt you can appeal the judgment.
Contact a Henry County DUI Defense Lawyer from Lawson and Berry to guide you through the process and fight relentlessly and professionally for your defense.