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I have recieved a summons to appear in court for arraignment on DUI charges, what happens?

Duluth, MN |

I mixed up my prescription pills by accident and bumped into another car. I have a perfect record, BAC was 0.00. But i had the sleep in my urine report. This was over 4months ago this happened. Now i just recieved a letter that I am summoned to appear in court. What happens? What is a summons? Will the judge say that I have a great record ad just made a mistake?

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Attorney answers 7


No you will be arraigned which means you will be told what you are charged with and ask what your plea is guilty or not guilty. Then you will be asked if you have hired an Attorney which you need to do ASAP. if you can not afford an Attorney then you will be appointed one if you qualify. Its possible your case may be dismissed, but I sure wouldn't count on it. the Judge will not inquire into your criminal history or lack thereof, unless he plans to set a bond. The Judge knows nothing really about the facts of your case and will not until you elect to go to trial, that is so the Judge remains unbiased.


The arraignment is simply the first court date. You should appear and plea not guilty, you will then be given another set of court dates. The Summons and Complaint are the official documents informing you of your initial court date and the charge(s) against you. It is not at all uncommon for this to occur months after the incident, especially when the had to wait in the results of a urine test.

You have officially been charged with a criminal offense, so it is in your best interest to retain an attorney who can fight for you in and out of court.

I do advise you not to post facts about your case online, as these posts are not privileged and potentially could be used against you. I judge won't simply dismiss your case because you have a good record; however, an attorney could use this fact in your favor when negotiating with the prosecutor. An attorney also is able to analyze the case and potentially uncover defenses to your case. The DWI laws are constantly changing, so you want to make sure every avenue is investigated.

I hope you find this information helpful and I wish they the best of luck.

Andrew Leone


My colleagues are right -- and you really do need to discuss your situation with a DUI defense attorney.

Best of luck.

In no way am I offering you legal advice, and in no way has my comment created an attorney-client relationship. You are not to rely upon my note above in any way, but insted need to sit down with counsel and share all relevant facts before receiving fully-informed legal advice. If you want to be completely sure of your rights, you must sit down with an experienced criminal defense attorney to be fully aware of your rights.


Hello. The Summons is an order of the court for you to go appear before the judge. No, it is not at all likely that the judge will compliment you on your driving record. You should expect multiple court appearances. I urge that you should view this matter as very serious and you should be represented by an attorney. You should seek attorney assistance right away. You should not post on a public website.



Your situation requires a lawyer. Though it seems pretty clear to you that this is a mix up, you now have to work through a host of people (prosecutors, judges) who will need a little more convincing. Even though common sense leads you to think you will be able to work this out on your own, I would highly recommend working with a legal advocate who can best present your unique situation and advocate for your perfect record to remain that way.


The Judge will not simply say that you have a great record and made a mistake. It would be nice if court proceedings worked that way, but they do not.

A first offense DWI i still a serious offense. At a minimum, it is a fourth degree offense. A fourth degree offense is a misdemeanor which carries with it maximum possible penalties of 90 days in jail and a $1 ,000 fine. As a result, it is important to present an aggressive defense. It is also important to know and understand the Judge's and their proclivities in your county.

License Revocation or Cancellation - The Implied Consent

A DWI is not only a criminal case, it has a civil element as well. There is a license revocation related to a DWI that is a case entirely separate from the criminal matter. Nothing in the criminal matter will change the license revocation which occurs automatically unless you seek a judicial review of that revocation. This MUST occur within 30 days after you were ticketed. Any failure to seek a judicial review results in the license revocation and a record that indicates a new alcohol related offense that can be used to make any subsequent DWI a greater crime. In that judicial review, the challenges are the same as those made in the criminal case. The revocation periods and procedures for reinstatement have become much more difficult in the last decade. A first offense within 10 years and a blood alcohol concentration below .16 has a revocation period of 30 to 90 days .

Strong Defenses on a DWI Case

There are many challenges to a DWI. The defenses depend on the particular set of facts in each case. That means a detailed review of all evidence, including police reports, police videos, audio recordings and testing records related to blood alcohol levels is imperative. Often, hidden defenses are found through a thorough review of all evidence. Currently, there are strong challenges to many DWI offenses related to the U.S. Supreme Court case of Missouri v. McNeely recently decided. It calls into question the right of law enforcement to seek a blood, breath or urine test without a warrant or without some valid exception to the warrant requirement. this is the strongest challenge to DWI offense s in over 20 years.

Additionally, as part of any DWI arrest, the Officers must follow very specific steps as part of the arrest. If any one step is missing, the case may be dismissed.

Other points of a defense analysis include:

· Reasonable Suspicion. The officer must have reasonable suspicion to believe a specific crime has been committed in order to stop a person. If that reasonable suspicion is lacking the stop and the ticket may be invalid;

· Probable Cause to arrest and charge. The officer must make sufficient observations to form a basis for probable cause to believe that you were operating a vehicle while intoxicated. Oftentimes, officers perform field sobriety tests incorrectly making the arrest invalid;

· Procedures at the Station. The officer must follow very specific procedures at the station including reading and recording an Implied Consent Advisory that informs you that you have a right to a lawyer. If any of the steps are omitted, the charges may be dismissed;

· Test Procedures. Testing methods to determine blood alcohol concentrations are imperfect at best. Like any scientific method, any test result has a margin of error. If the machinery is not properly maintained and even if it is properly maintained, the test results may vary from true Blood Alcohol Concentration. A sufficient variation may result in a reduce charge or no charge.

Disclaimer: Nothing in this email message creates an attorney client relationship absent a retainer agreement with this office. Any response to email inquiries should be considered general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. You should always consult a lawyer in your state regarding your specific legal matter.


I don't know what level of DWI offense you've been charged with based on your limited fact, but an arraignment is generally a hearing where the court will determine you next court appearance and issue any conditions of release, if required.

In no way am I offering you legal advice, and in no way has my comment created an attorney-client relationship. You are not to rely upon my note above in any way, but instead need to sit down with counsel and share all relevant facts before receiving fully-informed legal advice. If you want to be completely sure of your rights, you must sit down with an experienced criminal defense attorney to be fully aware of your rights