It can be a frightening and confusing experience to be charged with DUI in Virginia. Understanding what you can expect in your criminal case and what hearings you will need to attend can be helpful. Here, we provide an overview of what happens at DUI arraignments.
What You Can Expect to Happen at Your DUI Arraignment
Your arraignment is your first court hearing and may be held on the day after your arrest. While you could be required to go to court for it, some judges will conduct an arraignment by video conferencing where you remain in jail.
In some cases, a person arrested for DUI will be released on personal recognizance, which is his promise to attend all court hearings. When this occurs, the arraignment is often scheduled a few days later. If this happens to you, it is critical that you attend your arraignment. It is best to retain an experienced DUI attorney before this hearing so that you receive legal advice and he can attend your hearing with you.
An arraignment is a short court hearing. Here is what you can expect to happen:
- The judge will read the charges against you.
- If your attorney is not present, the judge will ask if you intend to hire a lawyer and will advise you of your right to a court-appointed one if you cannot afford to pay for one. If you request a court-appointed attorney, the judge will ask you questions about your financial situation to determine if one should be appointed.
- You will need to enter a plea to the charges you face. You can plead not guilty, guilty, or no contest. Even if you believe that you are guilty of DUI, it is best to enter a plea of not guilty.
- If your bail has not already been set, the judge will set your bail or release you on personal recognizance.
- The judge will schedule future court hearings in your case, such as a preliminary hearing, pre-trial motion hearing date, and trial. You must attend all of these court hearings.
Having an attorney at your side to explain the steps in your criminal case and to mount a strong defense is essential when you face DUI charges. This may result in the charges being dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense—even if you are guilty. Call our office today to schedule a free consultation to learn more about how our experienced DUI lawyers can help you.