An arrest for driving under the influence results in the first appearance in court in a criminal case for many New York residents. For people whose only knowledge of criminal courts comes from television and movies, they may not understand the process or know what to expect in court. The first step is arraignment. In many cases, arraignment is the only court appearance because many individuals charged with DUI plead guilty if the evidence against them is strong.
Arraignment generally occurs within a few days after a DUI arrest. At the arraignment, the judge will read the criminal charges, ask the defendant if he or she has or needs an attorney, ask the defendant how he or she pleads to the charge, decide whether to require the defendant to post bail or to release the defendant on his or her own recognizance, and announce the date of future hearings.
A DUI defendant who is facing the possibility of jail time has a constitutional right to be represented by an attorney. The attorney may be hired by the defendant, or, if the defendant cannot afford an attorney, a public defender will be assigned the case.
A DUI arrest can lead to significant consequences, including the payment of costs and fines, jail time, discipline on the job and restrictions on driving privileges. An individual who is arrested for DUI way want to consult a lawyer who handles these types of cases. The lawyer may be able to successfully challenge the application or the results of any field sobriety tests that were conducted in order to get the charges reduced or dismissed.