Getting arrested for driving while under the influence is a very stressful experience. Factors such as how many prior OUIs you have, whether there was any property damage, how much alcohol was in your system at the time of your arrest, and whether or not anyone else was hurt, all contribute to whether you will receive a misdemeanor charge or a felony charge. If you have prior OUIs in other states, even if you were never a resident of those states, it will still count towards your overall number of OUI charges.
It is important to call a OUI lawyer immediately because you will have an arraignment within 72 hours of being arrested, if not sooner. It is best to have an attorney by your side during this procedure.
What Happens After Being Arrested
There is a process to being charged with driving under the influence. The first stage is the actual arrest. This is when the officer or officers have reason to believe that you are driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and they either pull you over or they catch you at a OUI stop. Or you could’ve been involved in an accident, and the police believe that alcohol played a significant role in contributing to that accident. Either way, the next step is booking, which is when you are taken to the police station to have your mugshot taken and your fingerprints processed. You will then be detained until your arraignment.
The prosecutor is going to look over your information, or the information that is obtained from the police report, in order to determine whether or not you meet the legal criteria to be detained. If they have enough evidence to proceed, then you’ll be presented before a judge and asked for your plea – guilty, not guilty, or no contest. You will want an attorney at this initial hearing to guide you on what to plea. If you do not have an attorney, then one will be provided for you by the public defender’s office.
If you plead not guilty, then you will be given a court date later on. During the time between your hearing and the court date, you and your attorney will be building a defense strategy.
Preparing For Court
There may be evidence that can prove your innocence or that can reduce the consequences that you could face. Whether this is your first offense or not, it is important to get an attorney to represent you. You will need the following documents to provide to your attorney:
- The police report. This will include the investigation report from the officers that arrested you.
- Any prior arrest records or court records. If you have been arrested for other crimes or for prior OUI charges, then you will need to provide those to your attorney immediately. They could have a direct influence on how severe your consequences are.
Hiring A Defense Attorney
Again, you need to hire an attorney as soon as possible after you have been arrested. You will want to ask your attorney about representing you not only for your hearing on your criminal charges, but also for your DMV hearing, because it is the DMV who will suspend your license. You will no doubt have many more questions, so visit mwpetersonlaw.com to learn more about OUI law.