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DWI and the Legal Process

If you are arrested and charged with DWI, the burden of proof is on the prosecution. They must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were under the influence of alcohol while you were driving. If you have been arrested for DWI, it is important that you understand what the next steps in the legal process hold for you. Read on to learn more about the hearings you may face and how an experienced DWI attorney can help you through the process and protect your rights.

DWI Arraignment

After your arrest, depending on the circumstances, you may be released to a 3rd party with orders to report for an arraignment. If you are not released to a 3rd party, you may be committed to a holding center before being released for your arraignment. If you refused a chemical test, your arraignment in front of a judge may begin immediately.

The arraignment will be your first appearance in front of a judge after your arrest. Several things will happen at your arraignment. The judge will also ask you to plead guilty or not guilty. If your blood alcohol content (BAC) was over .08, your driver’s license will be immediately suspended until after you are prosecuted. If you refused the chemical test, your license will be suspended and you will need to attend a separate hearing with a different judge in order to determine if you should get your license back or not. At your arraignment, the judge will inform you of the charges against you and tell you of your right to contact any person you need to tell them about your situation. The judge must also advise you of your right to an attorney, whether it be someone you choose or someone court-appointed. If you do not have an experienced DWI attorney already, it may be beneficial to request an adjournment so you are able to find one with whom you feel comfortable.

DWI Hearing and Trial

A possible next step in the process is meeting with the judge, the prosecutor, and your defense attorney at the preliminary DWI trial hearing. During this hearing, the evidence, motions, and subsequent hearings that are needed in your case will be determined. If a plea or a dismissal is not reached during the preliminary hearing, your attorney may file motions or the case will be set either for a bench trial in front of just the judge or a trial by jury. The preliminary hearing is also an opportunity for your defense attorney to hear the prosecution’s points of contention and to begin to consider options for resolving the case in the best way for you. Your attorney will also be able to do this in the discovery phase of the process. During this phase, your attorney will receive all of the evidence the prosecution has collected against you. This will allow them to analyze the information in order to determine the best approach for your case.

After all of this has been completed, and if your case has not already been resolved by a plea bargain or a dismissal of the charges, you will go to trial. The burden of proof here is on the prosecution; they must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty of DWI. 

What to do

The legal process after you have been charged with DWI can be confusing and complex. Trust the DWI attorneys at Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria with your case. They have the experience necessary to be able to analyze the details of your case and build a strong defense for you. If you have been charged, or fear being charged, with DWI, contact Lipsitz Green today.


This article does not purport to give legal advice and is for informational purposes only.
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