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What is the California DUI Court Arraignment?

Posted by Ronald D. Hedding | Jun 17, 2019

In short, an arraignment is an initial appearance that a person makes in a criminal case. This is where you are given the charges in your case, you enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest, and (in appropriate cases) your bail is set. In some of the courts, I will continue the arraignment to review the discovery with my client and determine our best strategy moving forward.

Hence, your arraignment is a critical stage in the proceedings, and you should have your DUI attorney by your side or at least there in your stead.

The prosecutors are often available to negotiate with your defense attorney at the arraignment. They can be convinced to give the client a release on their recognizance (meaning no bail will have to be posted to remain free from custody).

In some DUI courts, the judges are ordering the defendants to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings to be released on their recognizance (this usually occurs when the person has a high blood alcohol reading, has prior DUIs, or got in an accident).

Depending on the case's circumstances, I will not have my clients come to court unless necessary. This gives me the chance to meet with the prosecutor one-on-one and see precisely how they feel about the case and what they are willing to do to settle it.

This allows the client to work and not waste time and money, and the prosecutors and judge do not hold it against them because they know the person hired a private attorney to handle their matter and take the case seriously.

Early Intervention By An Experienced Lawyer

Some clients foolishly wait until after their arraignment to hire their attorney, believing that the arraignment is not a very important part of the case. In my opinion, you want your DUI defense attorney on the case as soon as possible to start your topic moving in the right direction.

I have seen many situations where clients lose valuable rights and have charges added to their case because they did not have an attorney who knew about them and their status right from the beginning of the case. It makes no sense that people would take chances with their driving record, criminal record, reputation, and freedom on the line.

Hence it should be clear to you now that the arraignment is the beginning of your DUI case, and it should be handled with care and professionalism.

The best DUI defense attorneys use the arraignment to let the prosecutor know their client's side of the story and start shaping the case in a light most favorable to their client and their client's interests.

DUI Arraignment Within 72 Hours of Arrest

After being arrested for a DUI in Los Angeles, how soon is the arraignment? When someone is arrested for a DUI in LA county, they must be brought to court within seventy-two hours of their arrest.

If this is not possible or if the court does not file the case fast enough, then the authorities must let them go. This time can be extended if they are arrested on weekends or holidays. Further, once they post bail in the case, they will be released, and their appearance in court will usually be set approximately thirty days away, depending on how busy the courthouse has with their case.

Once the person is in court, the police must give the arrest report and all available evidence to the prosecutors to file the case. Suppose the prosecutors do not receive the necessary paperwork to file the claim. In that case, the case can be continued for further investigation while the police try and get their act together.

Sometimes, the prosecutors do not believe enough evidence to file a case against a particular defendant and reject the claim. If this happens, then, the person will be free from any action on the part of the courts. However, they will still have the arrest record that will remain.

Defending a DUI case in Los Angeles can be tricky and should be treated seriously by an attorney who has been down the road you are about to travel. I always tell my clients who have been unlucky enough to have been arrested for a DUI to do it once, do it right and never do it again!

About the Author

Ronald D. Hedding

What Makes Ronald Hedding Uniquely Qualified To Represent You? I've been practicing criminal defense for almost 30 years and have handled thousands of cases, including all types of state and federal sex crime cases. All consultations are discreet and confidential.

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