Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you are facing a drunk driving charge, then you likely have many questions about the process and what will happen in the near future. An experienced DUI lawyer can probably answer any queries you have, which may be especially helpful if you have never been accused of this crime before. The filing process can be a complicated one, but learning some basic information about it might help you feel less anxious when your day in court arrives.
Who Files Charges?
Once the police officer pulls you over and you are suspected of drunk driving, he or she will write a report and send it to the local district attorney. This official, who may work at many different government levels, is responsible for filing DUI charges against you. He or she may contact you directly after the filing is completed or, if you have a lawyer, information may be sent to the legal office in care of your attorney.
Other government officials may be involved in the filing process. For example, if you reside on military property, such as a soldiers’ base, your commanding officer and the military police could have a hand in deciding your punishment and which charges are filed against you.
When Will You Receive a Court Date?
If you are arrested directly after being pulled over, you will probably be booked and released before you get a court date. Filing can sometimes take weeks and you may not receive a court date for some time. However, this can work in your favor, as it may give your attorney additional time to build your case and investigate a few details like:
- The circumstances of your arrest
- The thoroughness of the police report
- Whether your charge can be reduced to a lesser offense
It is important to arrive at the courthouse promptly on your assigned day and be prepared to answer any questions posed to you by the court officials and your lawyer.
How Will the Trial Proceed?
When you arrive at court, the police officer who pulled you over may be present and speak as a witness. Before these statements are given, however, the charges may be reviewed by your lawyer, the district attorney and the judge. You may be asked to speak or you can request that your DUI attorney represent you. The verdict and sentencing phases of the trial will likely be separate.
A drunk driving charge can take months to process, from the time of your arrest to the day you are sentenced. Contact a DUI lawyer in San Francisco, CA today for more information about what to expect once you are accused of a DUI.
Thanks to The Morales Law Firm for their insight into criminal law and the DUI charge filing process.