DUI Criminal Procedure Goes Like This: On the 14th day from the date of arrest you must contact the court to find out your arraignment date (or you can just call us and we’ll look it up for you). If you are smart enough to know that you can’t and shouldn’t try to handle this yourself, (just like you wouldn’t try to remove a tooth), you will have hired a lawyer by this point and you can just lay back and let them handle everything including this arraignment date. But if not, you call the court and you keep calling until they have the charge in their computer. They will then set an ARRAIGNMENT date for you to come in and plead not guilty (always plead not guilty to begin with). After you enter a plea of NOT GUILTY the court will give you a PRETRIAL date about two months out. At this date you will get to meet with the prosecutor and he will likely offer you the chance to plead guilty, or if you have a really low BAC like .085, they may offer you a chance at an Impaired Driving Charge, which as you’ll recall from studying this website, does not include an IID device in your car. You can then use the same PRETRIAL date to enter a plea of guilty to the reduced charge of Impaired Driving. Sounds easy doesn’t it? You don’t need no stinkin’ lawyer! Let me say this. The court isn’t going to explain about ten different things that can get you in WAY more trouble with your license than you can imagine in your worst possible acid flashback. There is the Alcohol Restricted Driver part, the Prescription Drug part, the Suspended Jail part, and a few other parts, like the Third Party Providers don’t always send in your completion certificates resulting in a warrant being issued and you being arrested at your place of work in front of all your friends. It’s a little like me showing up at your job and trying to fit in – without knowing in advance that the copier sticks if you try to put more than ten pages in the feeder – it’s the little things that screw you. And here, we’re not talking about a paper jam, but realistically, possibly your job, your drivers license, your mortgage. Let me say this, here’s what clients never say when I’m done: “Oh… I could have done that myself.”
You Aren’t Going To Jail: And this understandably is the part that terrifies most people because the DUI is usually the first time they have ever been in trouble, and a DUI conviction has many far reaching consequences. So let’s calm down and start with the jail part and the maximum punishment for a first time DUI: unless you had a high blood alcohol content (BAC) (think >.159), there is almost no chance of you doing jail time. If this is a second DUI within ten years, you are facing a minimum mandatory of ten (10) days in jail unless perhaps you can get God to show up as a character witness, so it almost always pays to fight a second DUI.
If You Don’t Hire An Experienced DUI Lawyer For Your DUI Because You Are Trying To “Save” Money I Guarantee You Will Regret It Later Because The Two Sides Of Any DUI – Criminal and Civil Actually Have Different Rules: Remember, the danger inherent in a DUI is not at the “front” of the DUI, it’s at the “rear” (both literally and figuratively – if you catch my drift) The different rules and regulations on the Criminal and Civil (drivers license) side make up a morass of rules that sometimes actually conflict and land you in far deeper water. Want an example? You walk into court and plead guilty to the DUI. You get standard sentencing including an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) for twelve (12) months. You do everything correctly and at the end of the year you follow the court order and remove the IID. You are stopped a day later and the cop looks in your car and asks “where the heck is your IID?” And you proffer the court order. And he writes you a ticket for an IID violation. And if you pay that ticket, you are going to get your license suspended for another YEAR! WTF? Right? The catch is, that a DUI conviction magically travels from the criminal court computer via a program called CORIS to the computer at the Division of Public Safety, and guess what – that computer makes you IID restricted for 18 freaking months, but they don’t tell you that when you are standing before the judge because it isn’t part of their sentence. If you are lucky and read your mail from the DLD, you would have caught that small paragraph warning you about the 18 months, but I will tell you the honest truth – 99% of people believe that when the judge tells them something there is no way that judge is wrong. If you have been charged with even a first time DUI call for a full explanation of the possible ramifications of the charge(s). 877-384-8946
The penalties for a DUI are statutory NOT Discretionary: they are set forth in the law regarding DUI and so are called “minimum mandatory” penalties; if convicted of a first time DUI (or pleading guilty = same thing) ; you must pay a $1,420 fine; you must get an alcohol and drug assessment by a licensed counselor; you must do whatever that counselor tells you to do but at a minimum take a sixteen (16) hour class called “Prime For Life;” you usually must take a two hour MADD Victim Impact Panel; perform 48 hours of community service for a non-profit (while the court keeps 178 of the 180 day sentence on “suspension”), and finally complete 12 months of probation. Additionally, if you are convicted of a DUI you must have an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) installed in any car you “own or operate.” If you remove the IID pursuant to a court order you are then exposing yourself to receiving an IID ticket that will suspend your license for a full year! If you have been charged with anything more severe than a first time DUI call for a full explanation of the possible ramifications of the charge(s). 877-384-8946