How to Prepare for a DUI Court Hearing: A Complete Guide
If you have been charged with a DUI in Washington, DC, knowing how to prepare for a DUI court hearing can make all the difference in the outcome of your case. This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know.
How to Prepare for a DUI Court Hearing
If arrested for DUI, you will be taken to a police station and then booked. After your booking, you will be asked to attend one or more hearings in front of a judge. Here is a simple guide that will help you understand how a DUI court hearing works and what to expect.
Understand What a Hearing is
If you have been caught drunk driving, you might face a variety of penalties. From fines to public service hours, alcohol treatment, or jail time, understanding the process of your court hearing is essential. Here is what you should expect:
#1. Check on What Hearing You Are Attending
Unless you plead guilty, you will have to attend several DUI hearings. But each hearing will be different and can fall under the category of arraignment (an initial court appearance), preliminary hearing, or trial. Depending on your situation, these court hearings can involve being asked to state your plea, witnesses being called, or a jury being chosen.
#2. Learn What The State Must Prove
In case of arraignment, the state doesn’t have to prove anything. At a preliminary hearing, the state must prove enough evidence against you. If the state does not reach the burden, the case will be dismissed or could go to trial.
At a trial, the state has to prove that you are ‘guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.’ That means that both the state and the jury must be firmly convinced of your guilt.
#3. Seek a Lawyer
Whether you want to plead guilty or not, you should look for a DUI lawyer in Maryland or a DUI lawyer in Virginia. Your lawyer will help you think about your options and determine the best course of action.
Our law firm works closely with our clients and ensures that their freedom and futures are protected. If you or somebody you know has been charged with a DUI in DC, contact Christopher J. Mutimer of Scrofano Law at 202-946-5783 today to start developing an effective defense.
How to Prepare for a Guilty Plea: Plead Guilty or Plead Not Guilty
If the state has proven your guilt and there is nothing to gain if fighting your DUI charge, pleading guilty might seem the better option. Here is how you should prepare:
#1. Discuss the Possible Punishments with Your Lawyer
Every state has different penalties for DUI or DWI crimes. If it is your first sentence, the chances of getting a lighter penalty are higher. You could get your driver’s license suspended or face several days in jail.
On the other hand, if it’s not your first sentence, the factors of your case will be closely reviewed by the judge. It is expected that the higher your BAC level, the higher the penalty will be.
#2. Look for Drug or Alcohol Classes You Can Attend
A judge might ask you to attend alcohol or drug rehabilitation classes, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Agreeing to go to a class will show that you are likely to change your behavior.
How to Prepare to Fight Your DUI Charge
If both you and your criminal defense attorney decide to plead not guilty to your DUI charges, there are some steps you need to follow.
#1. Meet a Bail Bondsman
Before going to your arraignment, you should contact a bail bond agent to post bail. Otherwise, you might end up in jail until you get enough bail.
#2. Keep and Show Evidence
Preserving evidence from the incident might help in your DUI charge. An officer might record the field sobriety test and keep the proof for up to 90 days. Make copies of your documents, and ask for a video if it’s the case. Then you will test the evidence and challenge the prosecution.
#3. Ask for a Police Report
When you go to trial, request a copy of the police report, as it contains every note the police officers took during your arrest. If you can’t get a police report via email or letter, you can go to the courthouse and file a motion for receiving the report.
#4. Find Weakness in the State’s Evidence
Your criminal defense lawyer will try to seek some flaws in the state’s evidence. You can argue on the chemical tests, breathalyzer results, and many more.
What Do You Say at a DUI Hearing?
The way you dress or speak might change the way the judge looks at you. Courts have a dress code, and it is advised to respect it. Wear the right clothes and speak calmly. The same goes for the way you address the judge. Thank the judges for the time and call them ‘Your Honor.’
Under no circumstances should you curse or raise your voice. Do not gesticulate and choose to speak directly to the judge.
How to Prepare for Your DUI Court Case Hearing
As mentioned above, there are some things you need to consider before heading to your DUI court case hearing. Perhaps the most important of all is to hire a lawyer.
Christopher J. Mutimer of Scrofano Law firm can provide legal advice in a variety of DUI defense matters. Having an experienced DUI attorney on your side might change the course of your trial, allowing you to return to your life.
Preparing for Your DUI Court Date
Before your DUI court date, you will need to decide what plea to enter. Whether you plead guilty or plead not guilty, the best way to confront your situation is to meet with a DUI defense lawyer. You both will have to work to see if there are any medical records, any testimonies, or witnesses that might appear and how those elements may affect your case.
Tips on Improving Your Situation Before DUI Court
Getting legal help from a DUI attorney means that you are in good hands. Before going to court, consider these tips on improving your situation:
- Don’t have any drugs or alcohol in your system;
- Dress and act appropriately;
- Address the judge accordingly;
- Seek treatment or counseling;
- Hire a DUI defense attorney.
Being accused of drunk driving can be life-changing. You can lose your job, your family, and face severe penalties. While you should never drive under the influence of alcohol, mistakes happen, so if you still do so, get the legal advice of a DUI defense attorney. Not only will an attorney advise you on how to prepare for court, but they will help you build your case.
Whether it’s your first offense or your third, we encourage you to reach out to our trusted legal team. Browse our website for more information, or call us at 202-946-5783 today and get a free consultation!