Being arrested for DUI is a very scary and confusing situation. To help alleviate some of the anxiety and stress that goes along with a DUI arrest, it’s best to contact a local DUI defense attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney can guide you through this process and be there to answer any of your questions. In the meantime, arming yourself with as much information as possible is a good way to help prepare you for what you’ll be facing.
The first step of the DUI process involves the traffic stop. Obviously police officers can’t tell if you are drinking and driving simply by following you, but they can stop you for swerving, speeding and other traffic violations. Once they begin talking to you and suspect that you have been drinking and driving, this is when the DUI investigation begins.
If police give you a breath test and/or a field sobriety test and they believe you have failed, they can arrest you for DUI. You can also be arrested for DUI for refusing to take a breath test or other chemical test.
Once you are arrested for DUI, the police will bring you to the station for what is known as the booking process. This is so they can record your information and why you were arrested. In addition to filling out a police report, the officer(s) will fingerprint you, take your picture and start asking you questions. This is when you need to ask to speak to an attorney. You do not have to answer any questions until your attorney is present.
Depending on your case, police may release you following the booking process. This is not likely to happen in the more severe DUI cases where other, more serious charges are involved.
Your next phase may involve a preliminary hearing. This is where a judge will review the evidence against you to see if there is enough to be presented at trial. If he or she believes there is enough evidence, a trial will be scheduled. Your trial is where evidence will be introduced and the prosecution and defense will present their sides to a judge or jury. If you are found guilty, you will later return to court for sentencing where a judge will read the penalties you’ll face.