Arraignment is just your first appearance in court, when you'll enter an initial plea of guilty or not guilty. The judge can inform you of exactly what you're being charged with, but arraignment is usually a good opportunity for your attorney to begin negotiations face to face with the prosecutor. In other circumstances your attorney may think it best to waive this appearance. It all depends on your case, and you should consult with an attorney as soon as possible to protect your license and all of your rights. I'm happy to discuss your case in detail at no charge; call 404-987-0245 any time. Best wishes to you.
An arraignment is simply an opportunity to plead guilty or not guilty in a criminal case. Douglas State Court will allow your attorney to waive your arraignment and enter a plea of not guilty if you choose. Your lawyer will need to file the appropriate paperwork.
An arraignment is simply where the judge will ask how you plead to the charges. In a DUI case the options are not guilty or guilty. No contest pleas are rarely accepted by judges in Georgia.
Is your case in Douglasville Municipal Court or Douglas Co State Court?
Evan A. Watson is a Georgia licensed attorney. All information is based on Georgia law, and no response should be construed as legal advice. Additionally, this response does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is simply a form of legal education and is intended to provide general information for all readers. Please refer with an attorney who practices in your applicable state for non-Georgia legal questions.
I completely agree with these lawyers, and I would add that it is a very good idea to check and see if the officer issued a ds1205 form. If so, you have 10 business days to send in a letter requesting an administrative license suspension hearing. This is necessary to attempt to save the right to drive during the pendency of the case, and it is another great shot at discovery with the officer. Before any more time passes, look to see if a ds1205 was issued, and then consult an experienced local lawyer. If you have trouble finding a lawyer you are comfortable with in your area, my office is happy to answer any questions you may have.
The above is not a full and complete answer in that it is based on the limited facts known at the time of the answer. With that in mind, the above is intended as a starting point, not to be construed as legal advice. If after reviewing the answer you still have additional questions, please feel free to contact me through my office so we may discuss the matter more fully. I can be reached through our website at foxandsmith.com
Arraignment is your first court appearance and the first time the court will ask you whether you plead guilty, no contest (usually not actually available in a DUI case) or Not Guilty. If you plead guilty at arraignment (don't!), then you will be convicted of DUI and the judge will pass sentence on you. The State won't have to prove any of the charges against you. If you plead Not Guilty, then they will put you on a trial calendar a month or two or three down the road and you will have time to hire a lawyer and have that person obtain all of the State's evidence, evaluate your case, engage in negotiations, and either work the case out to a lesser charge, take the case to trial, or in some cases plead guilty to the DUI if you have absolutely no arguments in your favor.
You should really try to hire a lawyer before arraignment. Find someone who specializes in DUI, as this is a very complicated area of the law with many nuances that a general practice lawyer will not navigate as deftly.
I would be happy to speak with you about your case if you would like to give me a call. My office is in Lawrenceville (Gwinnett County) but I work in Douglas County as well. My number is 678-636-9224.
You should waive your arraignment and file the standard discovery motions. Douglasville State Court has a standing order which makes this very simple.
If this is municipal court, definitely hire an attorney quick. Do not waive your right to a jury trial.
One other thing, you only have 10 days from the date of arraignment to file any motions you wish in the case.
By the nature of your question, I'll assume you do not have a lawyer. I agree with the answers that the other lawyers have given to this question. It is not unusual for Solicitors to not get very interested in a case until it is scheduled for an arraignment. It often seems that a case has fallen throught the cracks. Then the arraignment. Your case will most likely move along at a pretty good clip now that you have an arraignment date. Your attorney legally has only 10 days after arraignment to file motions. That may be extended, but if the judge says no, then thats it. Your attorney will know what motions to file, what if any defense you may have and help you decide after receiving the information he receives from the motions he has filed whether you should go to trial or negoitiate a plea. It may seem to you that not very much will happen at arraignment, however, what happens atarraignment, or shortly thereafter, can put a lot of things in play regarding you case. The first thing you need to do is hire an attorney, one who knows DUI Law. Get all the paperwork you have from the incident make an appointment, and plan an approach to your DUI charge, which is prehaps the most intricate misdemeanor violation in Georgia. Good Luck. The Godfather. www.jimwhitlock.com
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