For a first time DUI offender, being arrested can be very traumatic, and rightfully so. You have no idea what is about to happen and for many people, this is their first time through police processing. Being arrested, charged, and spending a night or two in jail for the first time is enough to sober anyone up.
Whether you are required to stay in jail until your initial appearance or you are released, you will want to consult with a DUI attorney before your first court appearance. This is especially true if you are going to fight the case.
What is Going to Happen to Me?
This is the first time you will be appearing in front of a judge and you will want to give a positive impression. The last thing you want to do is show up for court in wrinkled clothing and disheveled hair. These may seem like small things, but remember that you are about to go in front of a judge for a DUI, so a better appearance could be helpful.
At this appearance, you will be asked for your plea. You will have the option of pleading guilty or not guilty. This is something that should be discussed in detail with your attorney prior to pleading. At this point, the DA will agree to have you released on your own recognizance or ask for bail to ensure your future appearance in court.
Some states will also require the judge to sentence you to some type of treatment during this period. If you do not abide by any restrictions presented at this time, you will end up back in jail.
You will have subsequent appearances in court a short time after the initial arraignment. This is where you may be able to apply for a restricted license and your attorney can file any motions needed. Finally, you will have your final trial date set to hear your case and for sentencing if you are convicted.
It is important to remember to express remorse for your actions before the judge issues his or her final sentencing. Begging? Perhaps, but it puts you in a much more positive light with the judge than someone that expresses no remorse whatsoever for his or her actions. If you are convicted, you will either have to serve a sentence or possibly be placed on probation. Be sure to follow all guidelines for your probation to avoid ending up back in jail for any type of violation.