What to Expect in Court After Being Charged for DWI

Drinking and driving is a very serious offense. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are around 1.5 million people who are arrested for driving under the influence each year. According to the Center for Disease Control, 28 percent of all traffic deaths are alcohol-related. If you do drink and drive, you should know what to expect after being charged for DWI, and whether you can beat a DWI in court.

Your First Court Appearance

When you first to go to court, it will likely be the morning after your arrest. After sitting in jail all night, you may not be looking or feeling your best. If possible, you should try to clean yourself up as much as possible. The judge will ask for a plea. If you plead guilty, you will be sentenced right away. If you plead not guilty, the judge will look at your criminal record and use that information to either release you on your own recognizance, set bail, or if you have an extensive criminal record, remand you to jail until your trial. At that time, the judge will also likely suspend your driver’s license.

Your Second Court Appearance

During your second court appearance, two things will happen. First, you can request a Hardship Hearing. This would allow you to legally drive to and from work only. You would need to provide the court with your work schedule.

The second thing that will happen is the district attorney will offer you a plea bargain. This is where you agree to plead guilty in exchange for a more lenient sentence. The offer will depend on whether or not it is your first offense, how intoxicated you were when you were arrested, and whether or not you caused an accident. If it was your first offense, and you were just over the legal limit and you didn’t cause an accident, you are better off pleading guilty and taking the deal. If you don’t want to plead guilty, your case will go to trial.

Your Third Court Appearance

If you chose to go to trial, the judge will read the reports and a pre-sentencing conferencing will begin. At this point, the judge will ask to hear your side of the story, This is where you tell your side and let the court know how you feel about what you have done. After the pre-sentencing conference, the judge will pass his sentence. If you are placed on probation, you will need to report to your probation officer within 24 hours. Also, if you are found guilty, you will lose your license for an amount of time determined by the judge, you will be required to attend alcohol education classes, and pay fines. If the judge sides with you, you will likely walk out of the courtroom free and clear. It is important to understand that beating a DWI charge is very difficult, therefore, you might want to think first before letting things go this far.

A DWI arrest is serious. Not only can you lose the right to drive, the arrest will stay on your record forever. To avoid going to court in the first place, you should have a designated driver or call a cab if you have been drinking. Even if you are buzzed, you can still get a DWI.



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