Following a DUI charge in Washington, DC you will be required to attend an arraignment hearing where the charges against you will be presented and an initial plea will be made. Below, a DC DUI arraignment lawyer discusses appearing for a DUI arraignment and what you should know. To discuss your case more specifically or learn more about arraignment proceedings, call today.
Typically, if you’ve been arrested on allegations of a DUI in Washington, DC, then you will be given a citation to appear for your arraignment date about three weeks later and released from the police station. For DUI cases, people are not typically held and are not asked to post bond. The only time where a person would not be released is if they have another case pending, in which case that might result in detention until they can appear before a judge at the earliest date available, which will usually be the following day.
For DC DUI cases, your arraignment will happen at the DC Superior Court, which is at 500 Indiana Avenue, NW, Washington, DC.
Every person who is charged with a DUI in Washington, DC is required to show up at every single court date, which includes showing up at your arraignment date, any status hearings, and your trial date. Even if a person has hired a lawyer prior to their arraignment date, they are still required to show up at their arraignment date with their lawyer.
The purpose of a DUI arraignment is to inform a defendant of the charges against him and to establish any conditions of release that would be imposed by the judge while this case is pending. Also, a defense lawyer will enter a plea of not guilty, accept all constitutional rights on behalf of the defendant, schedule a second court hearing that would be about four or five weeks out, and make initial requests for information from the prosecutor, which is called a discovery request. An arraignment does not serve the purpose of hearing any testimony and there would be no determination on the merits of the DUI allegations by a judge or a prosecutor.
An arraignment is not a trial. The difference between an arraignment and a trial is that an arraignment serves the very limited purpose of informing a person what they are charged with and what their conditions of release will be. In a misdemeanor case, an arraignment is typically the first hearing that a person would be expected to appear at. A trial, however, is where a judge or a jury would hear testimony from government and defense witnesses and determine whether the prosecutor has proven a defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
In a criminal case, a defendant may go through a number of different kinds of hearings before eventually going to a trial. A person could have an arraignment hearing, then status hearings and motions hearings before eventually have the option of going to trial. A defense lawyer might negotiate a resolution with the prosecutor that will result in a case never having to go to trial.
An attorney can be beneficial at arraignment by making requests for specific kinds of information through the prosecutor and an in advocating for the least cumbersome release conditions while your case is pending. An attorney who you’ve already met with and retained privately can also put you at ease since being in front of a judge in any circumstance can be a very stressful situation. Having someone who you know, who you trust, and who you’ve hired directly can take a significant burden off of your shoulders.
A person should avoid showing up to the arraignment simply to see whether the charges have been filed before deciding whether to hire a lawyer. This can cause unnecessary delay in your case. The best thing to do is speak to lawyers before your initial court hearing and be ready to come in with a lawyer who you’ve hired on your first court date.
Another mistake to avoid in an arraignment hearing is showing up with witnesses. A person does not need to have witnesses present because a judge would not be hearing any testimony from any witness either on the government side or on the defense side at an arraignment hearing.
A person should also recognize that at an arraignment hearing, they very likely will be subjected to an initial drug screen. If you tested positive for any illegal substances, then you may be required to submit to weekly drug testing for the duration of your case.
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