If a loved one is facing a driving under the influence (DUI) charge, you may want to do everything you can to help them. After your loved one has been jailed, the next few hours and days can be filled with confusing events. Having an understanding of the process might help you deal with the ordeal better. Read on to find out what happens in the immediate time period after an arrest.
First Court Appearance
While the timing for these events can vary from place to place, generally those arrested face the judge soon afterward. An in-person appearance is possible, but many jails use video communications to appear before the judge. This method provides the means for appearances sooner and might allow your loved one to be released faster. However it's accomplished, this initial court appearance is usually known as an arraignment.
The Purpose of the Arraignment
The arraignment manages to get several important tasks accomplished at the same time. Being accused of a crime gives your loved one certain rights, and knowing the charges is one of those. Your loved one will be informed of the charges, and they are then asked: "How do you plead?". It's usually recommended that those accused of crimes enter a "not guilty" plea at the arraignment. The other two choices are "no contest" and "guilty". Most people have not had an opportunity to contact an DUI attorney for support during an arraignment, but they are not strictly necessary at this point in the process. Those accused have the option to change their initial pleas later if they wish.
The second task addressed at an arraignment is legal representation. If your loved one plans to hire a private attorney, they can let the judge know that. If they are unable to afford an attorney due to financial reasons, they should let the judge know that they need to use the services of the public defender's office. Your loved one might then be questioned about their employment status. In most cases, your loved one must fill out a questionnaire about their financial situation in order to use the public defender's services.
The final task accomplished at the arraignment finding out about bail. Bail is an agreement where your loved one promises to return for future court proceedings and a specified amount must be paid. If you cannot afford the bail, you must speak to a bail bonding company. Bail bonds are less costly than bail.
DUI cases are never simple so be sure to get a criminal defense attorney for this critical situation.