First-Time DUIs: What Happens?

If this is your first-time being charged with a DUI, the process of getting through the legal system is different than if this was your third or fourth charge. Before making any moves, it is important that you understand what your options are and what your lawyer can do.

What Happens at the Arraignment?

Without fail, you will have to go to an arraignment after you are arrested and charged with the DUI. During the arraignment, you could be appointed a lawyer to represent you in the case. You have the option of telling the court that you will retain your own legal counsel. If you have retained counsel by the time you go to the arraignment, your lawyer should be in court with you.

Another important part of the arraignment is setting bail. The judge will set bail based on your previous record, the severity of your offense, and the prosecutor's recommendation for bail. There is a chance that the judge might agree to release you on your own recognizance, since this is your first offense. 

Can You Fight the Charge?

As with all criminal offenses, you have the right to fight the charge you are facing. In some instances, fighting the charge can be the best option.

For instance, if your blood alcohol level was very close to the legal limit for your state, you have a good chance of winning a fight against the charge. You can argue that because your level was low, your ability to drive was not impacted. 

Your lawyer could also argue that there is a margin of error that could account for your blood alcohol level measurement. Your lawyer can use experts to help make the case for either argument.

Should You Take a Plea Bargain?

Another option you have is to plea bargain with the prosecutor. A plea bargain is a compromise between you and the prosecutor. Since this is your first offense, there is a good chance that the prosecutor will offer you a reasonable deal.

The plea bargain could result in a reduced fine in some cases. You could also end up with a lower fine, reduced or no jail time, and community service. All of this is highly dependent on the circumstances of your case. 

Factors, such as an accident while under the influence, could impact how likely it is you are to be offered a deal. Your lawyer will negotiate the deal for you and present it to you when he or she receives it from the prosecutor. It is up to you whether or not you want to accept it. 

Your lawyer can help you decide based on your situation what is the best option for you. Secure a lawyer as soon as possible to get the best possible results for your case. For more information, visit or a similar website.