Do I Need an Attorney at My DUI Arraignment in Phoenix, AZ?
An arraignment is the first time a person who has been arrested for an Arizona DUI offense will face an impartial judge. It’s crucial to have an experienced DUI Defense Attorney standing with you as you enter the complex criminal justice system.
Several crucial steps have been made before your arraignment and each will have an impact on your case and your near and long-term future.
After a crime is committed, the authorities have made their pre-arrest investigation by drilling you with questions and gathering physical evidence from the breathalyzer test and sobriety field tests. Based on those findings police can make the arrest, inform you of your rights and you’re booked, fingerprinted, and photographed.
The police then take its evidence to the prosecutors who decide if criminal charges should be filed; and if so, a complaint is submitted to the court having jurisdiction. If you’re arrested in Scottsdale, for example, your case will go to the Scottsdale Municipal Court.
At some point during this formal process, it’s imperative that you have competent legal counsel to represent you.
If you have a relationship with a lawyer, reach out at your first opportunity; but if you don’t know a lawyer, there’s only a short window to find one before your arraignment. Perhaps that’s why you’re here.
Why do I need a Lawyer at my DUI Arraignment?If you’re in custody, you’ll be brought into court for the arraignment, or with Corvid 19 virus, the arraignment can be held by video.
Out of custody, be sure to arrive well ahead of the time of the arraignment to park and find your way to the correct courtroom. Your DUI Defense Attorney will meet you before the proceeding.
At the arraignment, the judge will advise you of your right to have an attorney, and if you don’t have one, the public defender’s office will assign a lawyer for you unless the agency has a conflict. In that case, a private lawyer will be used.
The judge will inform you of the charges you’re facing and ask how you plead. You can plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest meaning you’re not going to fight the case. A no-contest plea will help you if you’re sued for damages because you’re not admitting guilt. The vast majority of the time attorneys will advise you to answer not guilty.
It seems simple enough. You might be thinking you can enter a plea yourself without having an attorney, but there’s a more important reason to have a lawyer – the issue of establishing bail.
Your Attorney’s role in setting BailYou’ll want to be set free as quickly as possible. If you’re in custody the prosecution will tell the judge how much the state wants to set your bail. If you’ve hired a DUI Attorney at the outset, there’s time for the attorney to develop evidence that will help reduce the bail amount the state wants.
Your attorney can argue for a lesser amount for bail because you have strong ties to the community, such as family and a job, are not a risk to flee from justice, and it may be your first offense.
It may also be possible for your attorney to develop and present information supporting release on your “own recognizance,” which is your promise to appear at future legal proceedings in your DUI case.
The judge considers all the arguments and sets a “reasonable amount” of bail as established in the state Constitution. Conditions are put in place, such as no contact with any victims, submitting to the court’s orders, not leaving the state without the court’s permission, and must not commit a criminal offense.
Bail bond companies will pay your bail, but you’ll need to provide 10 percent of the amount set.
Maricopa and Pima counties have another way to be released pending trial without any bail. Your attorney can argue to use a third-party custodian, Pretrial Services.
After the bail issue is settled, the judge will set a date for your preliminary hearing. At that proceeding, the state presents its evidence and the defense presents any mitigating evidence called exculpatory.
Choosing the right DUI Defense LawyerTo ensure the best possible outcome of your case, you need an experienced DUI defense attorney who is well versed in this area of law. Your attorney can avoid pitfalls as your case travels through the complicated legal system. You can’t possibly know the nuances that a good DUI defense attorney lives with every day. The Arizona Bar Association has a Find-a-Lawyer section on its website.
A DUI conviction can carry possible time in jail and a criminal record, loss of the privilege to drive for a time, and expensive fines and surcharges. A felony DUI conviction will strip you of the Second Amendment right to have and keep a firearm and the right to vote in local, state, and federal elections and other life-changing restrictions.
Free and Confidential Legal AdviceIf you or a loved one is facing a DUI charge, either a misdemeanor or a felony it is important to seek an experienced DUI Defense Attorney in Phoenix, AZ or surrounding communities.
The Law Office of Aaron Black offers a free and confidential legal review of your case. I’ll explain the specific DUI laws, potential punishments involved, and the possible defenses particular to the set of facts of your case.
To schedule your free consultation, contact Phoenix DUI Defense Attorney Aaron Black or call (480) 729-1683 any time day or night as I am available 24 hours a day.
I’m also available online at FaceTime and I can review any documents related to your case, including the police report of your arrest.
I defend DUI charges in the justice, municipal, state, and federal courts in Maricopa and surrounding counties.