Do you have questions about the DUI process?

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Do you have questions about the DUI process?

Each DUI case is unique and carries a specific set of consequences depending on the details of the arrest and charge. Having an experienced DeKalb County DUI lawyer on your side is the first and most important step to defeating a charge against you. A case such as this can be confusing and frightening without knowledgeable legal counsel by your side. Our firm is prepared to aggressively defend your case and work to restore your right to drive. The DUI process is as follows:

The Stop

Traditionally there are two ways that you can be stopped for a DUI. The first method is the traditional roadside stop, when an officer believes he or she has observed you driving in a way that indicates that you are under the influence. You are then pulled over and are often asked to perform a field sobriety test. Be aware that these tests are designed to make you appear impaired in order to build evidence against you. The second method is the roadside DUI checkpoint, where every car that goes down a road or through intersection is stopped. An officer does not have to observe any suspicious driving with this type of stop, but he or she must establish probable cause to arrest you. Often, the officer will gain probable cause from the field sobriety tests. Please note that you do not have to perform the field sobriety tests if you are pulled over or stopped at a checkpoint.

The Arrest

If the officer decides that you should be charged with a DUI you will be arrested and taken to a police station. At the station you will be asked to submit to a blood and/or breath test. The test at the station is the official test and you are required to submit to this test or you can face harsh punishment. You will then be "booked", which includes fingerprinting, a photograph and you may have your license confiscated at this time. Once this process has been completed, you may be released on your own recognizance or you may be asked to post bail in order to be released. The citation you receive will have your first court date listed and your court date may also be listed on your bonding paperwork if you had to post bail.

The Arraignment

At the arraignment, your first official hearing, you will be formally charged with DUI. This is the time that you enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. Often individuals without an experienced attorney on their side plead guilty at this point and have their license suspended. If you enlist the Law Offices of Richard S. Lawson, we will represent you at this hearing and start developing the strongest defense possible to win your case. An experienced attorney from our firm can file the necessary motions at your arraignment that suppress evidence gathered during your arrest. It is essential that you have representation by this point or before so that you do not miss your opportunity to file motions in your case.

Preliminary Motion Hearing

A motion is a legal challenge to the evidence that has been gathered against you. A knowledgeable attorney will file the essential motions needed to prevent the admission of evidence against you at your trial. All motions in your case must be filed by your arraignment. When filing a motion, we want to identify if your rights have been violated via procedures such as an unlawful arrest or unlawful seizure of evidence during the arrest. Your attorney should bring these issues to the courts attention in order to keep the evidence against you out of the prosecution's case. If the motion is successful, your case may be dismissed or a plea deal may be developed that charges you with a lesser crime.

The Trial

You have two options for the type of trial you can have for a DUI charge. The first option is a jury trial with six jurors and a judge. The second option is a bench trial when the judge acts as judge and jury. Each trial has its own set of benefits and drawbacks. In some cases, a bench trial may be ideal because a jury may not be able to fully understand the scientific and legal details of the case. The type of case you have is ultimately up to you but our attorney will advise you on your options. Once the trial begins the prosecutor must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Your defense attorney should take this time to bring in experts and witnesses to provide evidence on your behalf. At this point, you will either be found guilty or not guilty. If you are found guilty, you can appeal the judgment and begin the process again.

Contact a DeKalb DUI attorney at the firm today to guide you through the process and fight relentlessly and professionally for your defense.

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