Framework of a DUI Case:
What You Can Expect
After getting arrested for a DUI, the law requires that the Sheriff hold you in custody until you are no longer under the influence. Generally, this detention lasts for an 8-hour period, which is presumed to allow enough time for the alcohol to move its way through your system and for your blood alcohol levels to reduce to a safe level. After the 8 hours have elapsed, it may still take additional time for your paperwork to process.
Upon your arrest, the officer will likely take your driver's license and not return it. You will be issued a citation for DUI, and this citation will act as your temporary driver's license for the next ten days. YOU MUST make an election with the DMV within 10 DAYS or your driving priviliges will be suspended. You have the right to challenge your suspension with the DMV. For more detailed information, please click here.
An arrest is not the same thing as formal charges. Police officers do not file formal charges, they merely write reports and forward them to the State Attorney's Office. Although a DUI arrest alone triggers many penalties with the DMV, that is separate from the criminal case. The criminal case begins when the prosecutor files what's called an "Information", the formal charging document. Generally, formal charges on DUI cases could take up to 30 days before filed.
After the State Attorney's Office reviews your case and the prosecutor files their Information, you will then be set for an arraignment. At your arraignment, the judge will advise you of the charges lodged against you, and ask whether you are pleading guilty, or not guilty. Assuming you plead not guilty, your case will be set for a calendar call, a status hearing held approximately every 2 months to check the status of the case.
Once you plead not guilty, your attorney then begins the discovery process, the investigatory phase of your case. The prosecutor is required to provide a copy of all the reports and evidence expected to be used at trial, including any video or audio recordings. Your attorney will will review the provided discovery, talk with witnesses, argue any motions, and generally investigate your case. After conducting discovery, your attorney will have an opportunity to negotiate your case with the prosecutor before you ultimately make the decision to plead your case or take it to trial.
Every single case is different. Although our attorneys have handled thousands of cases, we have found that, like finger prints, no two are alike. Based on your individual set of facts and circumstances, it is entirely possible that your case may never even make it to this stage in the process. If it does come this far, then your attorney may still be able to negotiate a favorable plea bargain, a reduction of charges, or even a dismissal. Any attorney can get you a plea bargain; the good ones will supply you with options.
After being provided with all of your options, it is ultimately your decision to plead or go to trial. If you decide to go to trial, it is the State's burden to prove you guilty. It is never your burden to prove your innocence. If the prosecutor is unable to prove their case beyond and to the exclusion of all reasonable doubt, then the law requires that you be found not guilty. At trial, you will have the right to cross examine all of the evidence and witness, and present your own evidence and witnesses in your own defense. You can never be compelled to testify, but there is nothing preventing you from testifying if you choose to become a witness in your own case.
Contact Us Today
Our experienced Fort Lauderdale defense attorneys at Brian F. Greenwald, P.A. represent clients in all types of DUI cases, including those that involve:
Please click through the links above to get more detailed information on our wide range of DUI practice areas.