What Happens After You’re Arrested for a DUI ?

Friday, October 10th, 2014

If you’ve been arrested for a DUI, you may not remember the events that lead to your arrest. But chances are you are very clear about the events that followed.  The worst time to learn about the significance of a DUI is when it’s happening.  While experience is a great teacher, it may be helpful to know more about the legal process ahead of time.

Here’s what to expect in the state of New Jersey. 

Arraignment

The arraignment is the primal step of the criminal procedure. It takes place in a courtroom.  The purpose of the arraignment is to inform you of the charges you face. This is the time to enter a plea with the judge  – usually “guilty” or “not guilty.” There are other pleas, and it gets complicated, which is why at this point you are assigned a lawyer if you can’t afford one.

The Pre-trial Conference: continuance, plea bargain, suppression hearing, trial

Before the pre-trial conference, your lawyer should have received all evidence against you from the prosecutor’s office.  Sometimes there’s a delay in receiving the documentation.  When there’s a delay, your lawyer will ask for a “continuance.”  A continuance is granted if more time is needed to gather evidence.

If all the evidence has been received and reviewed by the date of the pre-trial conference, your lawyer and the prosecutor will discuss the merits of the case. Each nitpicks flaws in each other’s facts regarding the case and they will argue about what should happen. Sometimes there’ll be a reduction in the charges. Sometimes there’ll be a dismissal. Sometimes there’ll be a compromise.  When compromise isn’t possible, the case moves forward.

A suppression hearing occurs if your lawyer believes your constitutional rights were violated. This is the stage where your lawyer can move to quash evidence against you.  Many cases will be resolved at this point.

If your lawyer and the prosecutor have not agreed to a plea bargain, and your case wasn’t dismissed at a suppression hearing, a trial date will be set.  At the trail – which takes place in Municipal Court – a judge will examine evidence and hear testimony. The judge will decided your innocence or guilt as there are no trial juries in the state of New Jersey.

Sentencing

If found guilty at the trial, you will receive a punishment, also known as a sentence.  Receiving a sentence doesn’t always mean jail time. In some cases, you might receive a fine or community service. The possible sentences are fixed within the law of the offense.

Are you facing a DUI?

If you need a DUI lawyer in New Jersey, contact Charles Block.