Preparing for a driving under the influence (DUI) arraignment often involves learning what the arraignment process entails. This way, you will know what to expect and avoid unpleasant surprises. Another important aspects of preparing for an arraignment may be seeking the advice of a lawyer who can inform you of the punishments you might face and your chances of demonstrating that you are not guilty. Additionally, you will have to enter a guilty or not guilty plea during your arraignment, so part of preparing is deciding how you want to plead.
Many people who have never been arrested before are unclear about what an arraignment is and how it will proceed. In most jurisdictions, the arraignment occurs after you are arrested and allows you the chance to plead guilty or not guilty to the DUI charges against you. If you plead guilty, you may be sentenced right away. If you plead not guilty, however, your case will likely continue, and you will usually have a trial on a later date.
At a DUI arraignment, a judge may ask you whether or not you have an attorney. If you do not, many jurisdictions will, at your request, provide one to represent you in your case. You may want to seek the help of a DUI attorney prior to your arraignment, however. This way, he can help you decide whether you should plead guilty or not guilty in advance, and he may provide strategies for winning your case or at least minimizing the penalties you will face.
As you prepare for the arraignment, you may be tempted to plead guilty to driving under the influence. You may think this is the best option since it may represent the fastest route to the end of your court proceedings. Many legal experts recommend against this, however, as it means you will have a criminal record and you may face stiff penalties, such as time in prison, fines, and a suspended license. If you plead not guilty, on the other hand, and have an experienced lawyer to help you, your penalties may be reduced, and you may have a better chance of securing a not-guilty verdict. In some cases, a lawyer may even be able to negotiate probation instead of prison time if you are found guilty of a DUI.