The first DUI court appearance is usually the arraignment, where the charging document is read and a plea of "not guilty" is entered into the official record. The first appearance is also the time when a judge may impose "conditions on release" by which the court orders you to do certain things and to refrain from doing certain things while the case is pending. For instance, the judge may order you to drive only if you have a license and insurance and to refrain from driving after consuming alcohol. Depending upon certain factors, such as the number of prior DUI offenses, the breath test reading, and others, the judge may also consider whether to impose bail as a condition of release. If this occurs, the unprepared individual will remain in custody until bail can be posted.
Steps to Take to Protect Yourself at the First DUI Court Appearance
First, retain the best DUI defense attorney that you can find as this attorney will know how the court in which you are charged will handle your case. Second, it might be advisable to contact a bail bondsman in advance of your court appearance so that if bail is imposed, you will be prepared and any delay in your release will be minimal. Third, appear at court on time and dressed appropriately. Be sure to address the court using the term "Your Honor." With a good DUI defense attorney by your side at the arraignment, there will be little for you to do other than to appear and let the lawyer do the talking for you.
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