If you’re arrested for drunk driving, you’ll have to appear at an arraignment. Here’s what you can expect at a DWI arraignment and how to get help defending your rights under Texas law.
DWI Arraignment Basics
Essentially, a DWI arraignment is the first court appearance after being arrested for drinking and driving. This is when you are formally charged and usually occurs just a few days after the initial arrest. Any delay in arraignment may be considered as a violation of the Constitutional right to a speedy trial.
What Happens During a DWI Arraignment?
During a DWI arraignment, you’ll be:
- Formally read the charges against you. This could include other charges, such as reckless driving or drug possession.
- Asked if you have an attorney to represent you. If not, the court will appoint one to you.
- Asked how you plead to the charges. Usually, you’ll plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest.
- Informed of your bail amount. The judge will set your bail and at this time, your attorney can argue to lower your bail if set at an unreasonable amount.
- Given copies of initial discovery information. This is most often just the police report and chemical test results, but may include other initial pertinent documentation.
- Informed of your next court date. The judge will set the date for the next court appearance; take note, it’s not optional to attend.
How to Prepare for an Arraignment
While it’s impossible to know for certain what will happen at your arraignment, you can do several things to prepare, such as:
- Arriving 15 minutes early
- Checking in with the court clerk or bailiff
- Responding immediately when your name is called
- Admitting if you don’t understand the charges and asking the judge for clarification (this is not an admittance of guilt)
- Deciding beforehand what your plea will be after considering the evidence with the help of your lawyer
Dress well when you go to your arraignment and make sure you’re clean and well-groomed. Don’t wear too much makeup or cologne; it’s important that you appear calm and professional.
Do You Need an Attorney Before or After a DWI Arraignment?
In the best-case scenario, you begin working with a DWI attorney as soon as possible after your arrest. If you wait until after your arraignment to hire a lawyer, this can make your case harder to fight. Contact experienced Fort Bend DWI attorney Anthony Segura today for more information by calling (281) 240-3941.