The criminal justice system can seem scary and daunting, especially when you are the accused. Keep in mind, however, that according to the rules of our system, you are deemed innocent until proven guilty. With that in mind, I thought it would be helpful, and would perhaps ease some potential anxiety about the unknown, to explain the general way in which most DUI cases proceed from the period of arrest to arraignment, since it is typically during that time that people might be unable to secure the help of an experienced defense attorney.
It is important to remember, however, that your Fifth Amendment right to an attorney to be present during questioning is in addition to your right to have an attorney to represent you during trial. The right to have an attorney present during a custodial interrogation, or in other words when the police begin questioning you following an arrest, is the period of time which usually begins with the reading of the ever familiar Miranda rights, “You have the right to remain silent…”
In regards to the DUI (or OWI Operating While Intoxicated, as is it referred to in Michigan), first there will be the incident in which a person is pulled over, and a field sobriety test is administered. Next, assuming the driver does not pass the field sobriety test, an arrest will be made, and the person will be brought in. Understanding what happens next with your DUI case is crucial.
At the police station, a breathalyzer test or blood test will be administered, if it wasn’t already conducted in the field. If you refuse this test, Michigan’s Implied Consent Law will be utilized and your driver’s license will be suspended. The person will then be held until either their Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is low enough for them to be legally released, in which case they will most likely be released on bail with further instructions regarding contact with the court, or until they can appear before a judge for their arraignment.
During arraignment, a person appears before a judge, whether in person or through the use of a closed-circuit television. At this time the defendant is informed of all of the charges being brought, as well as the maximum penalties which may be imposed for each of the charges. They are also informed of their constitutional rights, such as the right to be represented by an attorney. They are also asked how they will plead (to which you are usually best advised to respond “Not Guilty”), and then the bond amount is set. At the conclusion of the arraignment, the defendant will be given information regarding the next court date, or whether they can expect to receive notice in the mail.
The key part of this equation, in terms of being charged with a DUI, is the arrest coupled with a court-authorized charge of a DUI. Because there are minimum legal standards in order for the court to allow these charges, it may be possible to have these charges challenged and dropped completely by having an aggressive DUI attorney represent you.
For example, an attorney can review dashboard camera tape footage to determine if the field sobriety tests were conducted properly. Additionally, an examination of police reports can determine whether the traffic stop was performed correctly, and reveal if the police had probable cause to stop you in the first place. Breathalyzer evidence is also subject to certain legal guidelines, which if not followed accordingly, can lead to results becoming inadmissible as evidence against you. Just because you have been accused with a DUI/OWI does not mean you are powerless.
Get the help you need and the support you deserve. Attorney Steven L. Schwartz, is a third generation attorney. For over 30 years, he helped thousands of people in Metro-Detroit with their DUI cases. He is dedicated to his clients and works zealously for his clients to secure a dismissal, not guilty verdict or reduced charges. If you’re at the start of your DUI case, give the Schwartz Law Group a call at (248) 930-5019 to learn what we can do to help you.