Facing a DUI trial in Florida after your arrest can be daunting when you consider tackling the legal process on your own. Consulting with a Broward County DUI defense lawyer can be your opportunity to clear up any questions you have, and it means having someone on your side who is familiar with the DUI trial process and knows what it takes to fight the charges.
He or she will also advise you throughout each step of the DUI trial process in efforts to prevent you from making any mistakes that could worsen the charges.
DUI Trial in Florida: An Outline of the Court Process
- Arraignment: This is when you, as the defendant, are required in court to enter a formal plea of guilty or not guilty. The plea of not guilty will, in turn, request a jury trial. It is possible to request a waiver of appearance at the arraignment with the help of a Broward County DUI defense attorney. The attorney would appear on your behalf.
- Pretrial conference: After the arraignment, you will have a pretrial conference with your attorney and prosecutor. For this occasion you may once again request that your attorney appear on your behalf. During this conference, clients may request that the defense attorney set the case for hearings on motions in order to suppress evidence. Your attorney may also negotiate the case at this time or attempt to resolve the case with a plea bargain.
- File motions: During a trial, a lawyer can file different motions or request additional information. If the defense attorney is not ready to resolve the case at that time, he or she will ask for a continuance on the case to prepare further for trial. Motions that may be filed include: suppressing evidence obtained from an illegal stop, claiming field sobriety tests as unreliable and questioning an officer’s request for a breath test.
- Trial by jury: During a jury trial the government must prove its case against you through a jury verdict. If, during the trial, you are found not guilty, you may walk out of the courtroom as a free citizen. On the contrary, if you are found guilty, the judge will sentence you at the end of the trial. The sentence may include community service, drug and alcohol classes, fines, or incarceration.
When your future hangs in the balance, it’s best to know just what to expect from your DUI trial. By understanding each step of the trial process, you and your attorney will be better able to prepare a solid case on your behalf, in efforts to help you move on with your life.