Presenting a DUI defense involves several steps. If you're facing charges, here are some moments you should prepared to deal with.
State and federal laws require that a person charged with a criminal offense, which DUI is, be arraigned promptly. Many states require arraignments within 48 hours of an arrest if the suspect remains jailed, but it may be more hours if they were released. Some states also have rules that allow for slight delays for the court to catch up on cases delayed by emergencies or difficulties.
At the arraignment, you will hear what both the charges and what the maximum punishment allowed by the law are. If you haven't already hired a DUI attorney, the judge will inform you of your right to have court-appointed counsel provided, if you qualify. Bail and release conditions will be set at this time, too. "Return on recognizance" bail is frequently offered to defendants who aren't deemed flight risks.
Regardless of your plans to plead guilty or not, you will be asked to enter a plea. If you intend to fight the charges, enter a not guilty plea and then discuss your options with counsel.
For the first time, a judge will consider the details of the case against you. The affidavit submitted by the arresting officer will be reviewed, and the judge may raise questions about testing methods, blood-alcohol content levels, and why a vehicle was pulled over in the first place.
A case might be dismissed at this stage if the evidence appears to be flimsy, and many DUI attorneys considers this step the best chance to fight a charge. This is the stage where you'd want to raise questions about faulty equipment. For example, field data from other versions of the same model of BAC testing equipment might be used to show anomalies.
Presuming you and the prosecution haven't arrived at a plea agreement, the matter will eventually go to trial. Bear in mind the prosecution is under no obligation to offer you a plea deal, but they may consider a lesser charge like reckless driving if they feel the circumstances justify it.
If it goes to trial, a jury will be selected. Both sides will present their arguments to the jury based on the evidence and testimony admitted by the judge. The jury will then be asked to render a verdict based on what was presented.