One minute you’re driving down the road minding your own business, the next you’re facing criminal charges for driving under the influence (DUI). Now that you’re facing criminal penalties, you realize you have no idea how the criminal justice system works, nor do you know the nuances of the DUI process.
Thankfully, Hager & Schwartz is here to help.
We’ve created a short post-DUI arrest timeline that should help you get your bearings. However, the best way to learn about the post-arrest process and your rights after an arrest is to contact a Volusia criminal defense attorney about your case.
Immediately After Arrest
Once under arrest, the police will book and process you. During booking, officers will take down your personal information, search your criminal background, take fingerprints and photographs, and search you.
In Florida, the police may release you from custody after one of the following:
- Your faculties return to normal;
- Your blood alcohol content (BAC) is lower than .05%;
- Your arrest occurred eight hours ago.
Additionally, you may have to pay a $1,000 to make bail. Once released, you may have to follow certain restrictions to stay out of custody while the case is pending, so it’s essential to comply with any limits placed on your case.
Determination of Charges
Once released, you may be surprised to learn that the arrest doesn’t necessarily mean the state is going to charge you. Your case will go to the appropriate prosecutor’s office where it’s determined what charges you’ll face (if any.)
At this point, prosecutors may drop the case entirely, or they may formally enter your charges. If charged, prosecutors will notify you of an upcoming arraignment.
Arraignments are the first stage of courtroom-based criminal proceedings.
During an arraignment, a criminal court judge will:
- Read the criminal charges made against you;
- Ask you if you have an attorney;
- Ask if you plead “guilty,” “not guilty,” or “no contest”;
- Announce dates of future proceedings.
If you don’t know how you should plead, an experienced DUI attorney can help you make the choice that fits your case.
With charges pending, you have an opportunity to confer with the prosecution concerning potential plea deals. Prosecutors may offer plea agreements with specific sentencing recommendations, but a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can determine if the proposals are fair.
Regardless of the negotiations, you have the final say when it comes to a plea deal. However, if you can’t reach a compromise with the prosecution, then the case may proceed to trial.
At trial, the prosecution must prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. You and your defense team will have the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses, cast doubt on proposed evidence, and fight for your rights.
After the trial is over, a judge or jury will determine if you are innocent or guilty. If you are found not guilty, then the case is dismissed and closed. If convicted, you will face penalties based on the circumstances of your case.
However, our firm’s goal is to stop that from happening!
Our Firm Can Help
A DUI conviction can have significant consequences for your life, and that’s why it’s vital to explore your options. Hager & Schwartz is a criminal defense firm with numerous awards and accolades that prove our ability to win.
Call (386) 693-1637 now for an immediate consultation for your case!