Understanding the DUI Process
Each DUI case follows the same framework. An experienced Roswell lawyer will take charge of your situation by walking you through the process of your case. Our legal team is prepared to defend you aggressively from the moment of your arrest. A case such as this can be overwhelming and scary when you don't have experienced and qualified counsel. The legal team at the Law Offices of Richard S. Lawson is there for you when you need us most. We understand the confusion associated with criminal charges such as this and will therefore do everything possible to help you move forward through the process. The process is as follows:
Generally, there are two ways that you can be stopped on a suspicion of DUI. The first is a traffic stop when the officer suspects that your actions indicate you are driving under the influence. The second scenario is a roadside checkpoint that stops everyone who passes; in this case law enforcement officials have not observed any poor driving. When you are pulled over due to what an officer believes he or she saw, it is important to note that you will be asked to perform a field sobriety test.
The results of this test may be used to build the case that you were driving while intoxicated. You do not have to perform this test. In fact, these tests are designed to make you appear impaired so that they can support the claim. Alternatively, when you are pulled over at a checkpoint the police must establish probable cause to arrest you. Often the probable cause is established through the field sobriety test that you are not required to take.
If the law enforcement officer has probable cause, you will be arrested and taken to the police station. Once you have arrived at the police station you will be asked to submit to a blood and/or breath test. When the test is complete, you are then "booked," which includes fingerprinting, a mug shoot, and potentially confiscating your driver's license. At this point, you may be released on your own recognizance or asked to post bail. Either way, you will receive a citation that will include the date of your first court appearance. If you are asked to post bail your first court date may also be listed on your bonding paperwork.
You will be formally charged at your first hearing, also known as arraignment. At this hearing, you will have an opportunity to enter a not guilty or guilty plea. It is essential that you have a lawyer at this point if you want to enter a plea of not guilty. The legal team at our firm will help you navigate the court system and defend the charges that have been applied to you. A guilty plea at this hearing will lead to a suspension of your license. If you choose to plead not guilty, our legal team will begin building your defense by filing a motion to suppress at or before arraignment. This motion will be the basis of your defense. Reaching out to us before the arraignment is vital, so that you don't miss the opportunity to file motions in your case. Finally at the arraignment, your trial date will be set.
Preliminary Motion Hearings
When a motion is filed before or at your arraignment the goal is to challenge the evidence against you. The motion is intended to prevent the admission of evidence against you at the trial, thus further developing your defense. During an arrest for a DUI, your rights can be violated and a motion attempts to address and correct this violation by requiring that the court not include the evidence in your trial. When the motion is successful, the case can be dismissed or a deal for a plea can be arranged with your legal counsel and the prosecution.
There are two types of trials that you can have with a DUI case, a jury trial or a bench trial. A jury trial is composed of a judge and six jurors while a bench trial only involves the judge who acts as judge and jury. In most cases, it is better to have a bench trial because a jury may not be able to comprehend some of the more complex scientific evidence. Our legal team is happy to go over your trial options with you to help you make the best decision for your case.
Once the trial begins it is the prosecutions responsibility to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. At this time, your defense lawyer has the opportunity to call experts and other witnesses to the stand to prove your innocence; the police officers involved in the DUI arrest can also be cross-examined by your defense team. You will then either be found guilty or not guilty - if you are found guilty, you can then appeal the judgment.
Contact a Roswell DUI Lawyer from our firm to guide you through the process and professionally and relentlessly fight for your defense.