How your DUI is handled and the punishments you could receive really depend on what state you were in when you were pulled over and arrested. Generally speaking, there is a schedule most DUI arrests follow. Here is what happens after being pulled over for driving under the influence:
This is when you are initially pulled over by a police officer who believes he has probable cause that you had been drinking alcohol before you started driving. After pulling you over, the officer will ask for your license and registration and will continue to assess you to determine whether or not he thinks you had been drinking. If the officer sees, smells, or hears something that leads him to believe you were indeed drinking, this is when the officer will ask you to step out of the car and will perform different types of field sobriety tests. The officer may also ask you to blow into a breathalyzer. It is important to be very cautious of what you say and do, because you could incriminate yourself or make your situation worse.
If you fail the field sobriety tests or the breathalyzer, or if you refuse to blow, then you will be arrested and taken to jail. It is here that you will find out the time of your arraignment and how much your bail is. (See definition of arraignment below.) If you or someone you know either cannot or does not post bail, you will have to sit in jail until your arraignment time. If you or someone you know does post bail, then you will be permitted to leave and the person who paid your bail will be paid back the money once you attend any and all court dates that have been scheduled for you.
At your arraignment, your charges will be read to you. Then, the judge will ask you if you have an attorney or are in need of one. You are able to defend yourself, but it is in your best interest to hire an attorney. Next, you will be asked if you would like to plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest. In Colorado, you may only plead no contest if you have the consent of the court, and a “no contest” plea does not constitute more lenient penalties. If you plead guilty or no contest, then you will be sentenced for a DUI, but if you ask to speak to your lawyer or plead not guilty at your arraignment, then you will be scheduled a preliminary hearing.
Contact a Denver DUI Attorney
If you have not done so already, it is extremely important to hire or at least talk to an experienced Denver DUI Attorney before your preliminary hearing. The more time you give your lawyer the better his or her chances of gathering facts and witness statements that could end up helping you. Trying to handle this situation on your own is not the way to go. Let an experienced DUI attorney work for you.
At your preliminary hearing, the judge will go over all the facts in your case, hear from both the prosecutor and your defense attorney, and then decide whether or not the state has enough evidence against you to take this case to trial. If the judge thinks there is enough evidence, you will be scheduled a day in court; if there is not enough evidence, your case will be dropped.
A trial is when your lawyer and the prosecutor present their respective cases to the jury. Each attorney will take turns going through his or her opening statement, examining and cross examining all witnesses, and presenting closing arguments. Once all of the facts and information of the case have been presented, the jury will then decide whether you are guilty or not guilty. If you are guilty, the judge will determine your sentence, and if you are found not guilty, you will be set free.
Having an experienced Denver DUI attorney on your side will only benefit you. The lawyers at the Law Office of Andres R. Guevara have experience handling these cases and know how to help you during this time. If you have been arrested for driving under the influence, give our office a call.