Your first appearance in court is typically the arraignment. This is probably the first time you’ve had to appear before a judge in criminal court, and it can be intimidating.
At an OUI arraignment, the criminal charges against you will be officially read, and you will enter a plea. Almost always you will want to enter a not guilty plea at the arraignment. This is true even if you think you are guilty and have no defense to the crime.
However, if you have discussed the situation with your attorney, understand your options, and would like to get rid of this case as quickly as possible to get your license back, the arraignment date can be an opportunity to plea to a Continuance without a Finding (the lightest DUI plea agreement sentence allowed by law).
An experienced DUI lawyer can take the bull by the horns and help you get on with your life as quickly as possible. We’ll speak with the DA or prosecutor immediately about resolving your case that day. And you can be sure our attorneys will make sure you are treated absolutely fairly, and you get every advantage an experienced DUI defense lawyer can provide.
In most cases, we can help you get a hardship license within a week of your court date.
Do I need a lawyer for a DUI arraignment?
It is always best to speak to an attorney before an arraignment. However, if you haven’t had the opportunity, you can get through an arraignment without a lawyer.
But it is absolutely critical that you do not speak to anyone about your case. If you are asked any questions, simply say that you need to speak with your attorney first. Any casual comment you make to the DA about your arrest can be used against you in a trial, or make it harder to get a fair plea deal.
So if you go to your arraignment alone:
- You will plead not guilty
- Ask for a copy of the police report
- Consult with an attorney (and show him or her the police report) in plenty of time before your pre-trial date.
If you are alone, in some cases, the DA might offer you a plea deal on the spot, but there is a very good chance that you won’t get the best deal you can without a lawyer.
If you are unable to afford an attorney, the court will appoint you an attorney. You will have to provide information about your income and expenses to determine if you are eligible for one, Also at the arraignment your bail status will be determined.
Judges set a bail based on a number of factors such as previous record, length of time in the community, and seriousness of the offense.
At the arraignment your lawyer typically has his first chance to examine the evidence in the case, primarily the police report. The only other thing that happens at an arraignment is that a court date is set, typically a pre-trial date.
For any questions about changes in current drunk driving law, check out my full page, or call me anytime.
For more information about how the specifics of your case apply, call attorney Russell Matson at (781) 380-7730, anytime, nights or weekends.
Call Russell Matson to talk to an attorney anytime at (781) 380-7730.