DUI Arraignment Hearing

The DUI arraignment hearing is the first step in a long criminal court process. DUI and a few other crimes require your presence at this hearing. A prosecuting attorney will be present in addition to the defendant, defense attorney and the judge. The arraignment hearing is an opportunity for the court to address three issues: [1] notice; [2] conditions of release; and set a [3] future court date.

Notice of Legal Rights

The judge will initially request the defendant to state their legal name, date of birth, and whether or not they understand their legal rights. Legal rights are typically available in writing from the court.

The judge announces the criminal charge or charges. The defendant answers guilty or not guilty. A guilty conviction can involve terrible consequences restricting your right to bear arms, ability to vote and may even be grounds for deportation for non-citizens. Some convictions require mandatory penalties as well. A DUI conviction will REQUIRE jail, license suspension, Ignition Interlock Device and much more. Because of the mandatory DUI penalties most courts will not accept a guilty plea at the DUI arraignment hearing.You must seek legal representation before entering a guilty plea.

Conditions of Release

The court will exercise discretion and may impose conditions of release. These are court imposed rules that restrict the defendant’s lifestyle. They can be highly restrictive with great daily impact or they can be nominal common sense requests such as no new criminal law violations. Conditions of release can also include posting bail, attending AA meetings, do not drive any vehicle unless it is equipped with an Ignition Interlock Device, or other requirements. The conditions of release will remain in place until the criminal case is resolved.

Notice of Future Court Date

Finally, the court will provide written notice of the next hearing date. Expect the next hearing to be set at least one month from the date of the arraignment. Bring your calendar to avoid scheduling conflicts. The next appearance is the pretrial hearing or pretrial conference.