Being arrested for DUI can bring about a very stressful time in someones life. Here is a general guideline of what to expect when arrested and charged for DUI
The initial Stop and arrest
When an individual is pulled over and is being questioned for DUI, the police officer will usually begin his or her DUI investigation by asking the individual to perform field sobriety tests. After the field sobriety tests, the police officer will typically ask the driver to perform a portable breath test on scene. Depending on how the police officer feels you performed on the field sobriety tests or the results of your breathalyzer test, the police officer will then place you under arrest and take you back to the police station. Once you are back at the police station, the officer will generally take you to a booking room and get all of your personal information. The police officer will ask you to submit to a breathalyzer test at the police station. That is because the breathalyzer test performed on scene is generally not admissible in court for purposes of trial.Before the police officer asks you to take the breathalyzer test at the police station, he is required to observe you for 20 minutes to make sure you do not consume any food, beverages, do not vomit, or anything of this nature. The observation period is done to make sure that the breathalyzer results are proper. During the 20 minutes where the police officer needs to observe you, he is required to read you a form called the Warning to Motorist. The Warning to Motorist is a warning that lets you know that your license can be suspended if you refuse to blow or if you blow a .08 or above. After the observation period, the officer will then ask you to submit to a breathalyzer test. Depending on the results of the breathalyzer test, the police officer will then write you a ticket for driving under the influence. The police officer has the option to let you out on what is called an I-bond; (where you are released on your signature), or a D- bond (where you are required to post 10% of the bond amount), or the police officer is required to bring you in front of a judge within 48 hours of the time you were arrested. The police officer will also fill out a paper called the Law Enforcement Sworn report. This document should be hand delivered to you and will be sent to the Secretary of State to suspend your license 45 days after the date of your arrest.
Your first court date is set for arraignment, which is when the Judge reads off all of the charges against you and asks you if you plead guilty or not guilty. Your attorney will then enter a plea of not guilty and file several motions on your behalf. After that your attorney will get a date to go over all the police reports and videos to determine the strengths and weaknesses of your case. Your attorney will then decide whether any pretrial hearings should be conducted such as a motion to suppress evidence or a petition to rescind the statutory summary suspension. Your attorney will make sure to get all of the reports and evidence that the prosecutor will try to use against you. After your attorney conducts any pretrial hearings and gathers all the evidence and your attorney has reviewed all the reports, the attorney will then decide whether you should plead guilty or take the case to trial. If you plead guilty, you can usually work out a fair deal with the prosecutor and you generally know what your punishment will be. If you take the case to trial, there is no agreement and you are risking taking a punishment that could be more severe than what you would have agreed to.
Once at trial, the prosecutor and your attorney will have the opportunity to conduct opening statements, which basically means you get to tell the judge or jury what you think the evidence will show. After opening statements, the prosecutor then presents their case. In a typical DUI case, the prosecutor will call the police officer to testify about everything that happened that night and how the police officer believes you were drunk. The prosecutor will then play the video for the judge or jury so they can see the whole interaction. The defense attorney*s job is to make sure that the prosecutor is only presenting proper evidence and is not misleading the judge or the jury. Remember that the judge and/or jury know nothing about the case before trial. After the prosecutor is done with their witnesses, your attorney will have the opportunity to cross examine the police officers or to put on any witnesses of their own. If you are being charged with DUI, you have the right to testify at trial, but no one can force you to testify. After the defense attorney is done presenting evidence, both the prosecutor and your attorney will then have the opportunity to tell the judge or jury exactly what they believe the evidence presented has shown. The judge or jury will then decide at that point whether or not you have committed the offense of driving under the influence of alcohol. If you are found guilty, the judge will then sentence you to whatever he believes is appropriate based on the facts of the case and your background. If you are found not guilty, you are free to go and there will be no punishment.
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