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What to expect if arrested for DUI in the District of Columbia

What to expect if arrested for DUI  in the District of Columbia?

What to expect if arrested for DUIWhat to expect if arrested for DUI.   So you were arrested for DUI in the District of Columbia last night or a few nights ago.  You are worried and now you are left with task of researching everything there is to know about DUI in District of Columbia.    So your search begins, and we already know you are using google to do that search because you are reading this article on the web.   Anyway,  if this is your first DUI please continue reading as to what will happen.    2nd and 3rd DUI offenses have similar court dates but because you are eligible for a jury trial the Court timeline can be substantially longer to get to resolution.   The next three hearings will all take place in DC Superior Court.

Citation Release - The officer releases you for DUI

Citation Release

You were probably released on citation and required to appear in DC Superior Court.   You signed a document that says you promise to appear for initial appearance, also called arraignment, in Courtroom 115, 116, or courtroom 120.    The fact that you were released on citation release is a good sign that the officer felt as though you were not substantial flight risk or danger that required you to immediately see a Judge.

Arraignment - First Court Date for DUI in DC Superior Court

Arraignment (Your 1st  Court date)

You will appear before a Magistrate Judge for your arraignment.  The arraignment is the process for the Court to officially tell you what you have been charged with.  The police officer may have said what he thinks you will be charged with but the prosecutor has now looked at the case and made an official charge before the Court.    The arraignment process will last a few minutes.  You probably can expect to be out of court relatively quick (depends how many cases on arraignment schedule for that day) .  Usually done before 10:30am.   Your probably asking yourself – Do I need to hire a lawyer before the Arraignment date?    Yes; however,  I am not naïve to think that everyone can afford a lawyer.     Lawyer fees differ from lawyer to lawyer.  See blog on fees.  If you can not afford a lawyer, you know from watching law and order that the court will appoint one so do not lose your mind trying to come up with the money.     Furthermore, most lawyers will work with you on a payment plan to help you.   DO NOT LET SOME LAWYER TELL YOU THAT UNLESS YOU HIRE HIM/HER YOU ARE GOING TO JAIL   That’s just nonsense.

Status hearing for DUI

Status hearing (2nd Court date)

After your arraignment hearing, the Court will set a status hearing in 2 to 3 weeks.  This is the time to review all discovery (police reports and video) with your lawyer.  The prosecutor will probably make a plea offer before your status hearing.    This is where the lawyer’s role is crucial.  To set a trial or not set a trial.  There are so many factors that go into whether to set a trial, that it is to exhaustive for this article.    At the status hearing date, the Judge will want to know whether you are setting a trial, diversion or pleading guilty to the charges.  If you do not plead guilty or diversion is not offered you will be setting a trial date.  The status hearing can take a little longer in court than arraignment especially if you are entering diversion or pleading guilty.    Expect to be in court for half hour or longer (mostly waiting time).

DUI Trial Date

Trial (3rd court date)

The trial date is set usually 45 to 60 days after the status hearing.    This is a first offense so you will only be eligible to have a trial before a Judge in DC Superior Court.  You may request an associate Judge in DC Superior Court or you may keep the trial date with the Magistrate Judge.   Your lawyer will go over with you whether to ask for associate Judge or magistrate Judge.    Trial calls are called first on the morning docket; and therefore, if the prosecutor is not ready to proceed you will be home early.  If the prosecutor is ready for trial than you can expect to have a trial that will last most of the day.   Want more information give us a call for a free consultation.