How Not to Mess Up Your DUI Court Date

Hi, my name is Dale Savage and I’m a criminal defense attorney here in Charleston, South Carolina. And today I’m going to talk to you about what happens in court after your DUI arrest and do you need to appear. Facing a DUI charge is difficult. You just got out of jail, something that you probably wouldn’t have thought would happen in your lifetime, and now you have a pending court date, typically within 30 days from the date of arrest. Right now you have two decisions that you need to make in a very short space of time. The first one is, are you going to go it alone or are you going to retain attorney for that first court appearance? Let’s talk about what’s going to happen if you do decide to go it alone.

The Most Important First step

The most important advice I can give you is to show up. Let me say that one more time. The most important thing you can do if you don’t have an attorney, is to show up for that first court date. If you do not show up, it’s not going to delay the case. It will still go forward that day and you will be convicted of the DUI charge. If you do appear for court that day without an attorney, the judge is going to give everyone in that courtroom a couple of options. One of those is to make a request for a continuance, while the second one is to request a jury trial. My advice to you is to take the judge up on that offer and make one of those assertions. This is going to buy you time to be able to figure out what’s the best way for you to move forward in your case.

Getting a Lawyer

The second option that we talked about was getting a lawyer. If you do retain a lawyer, the good news is, is that court hearing, you will not have to appear for it. In fact, you’re not going to have to appear for another court hearing for at least another two, three, maybe even four months after that date or maybe never at all. What happens once you retain a lawyer is, they’ll file a Letter of Representation and then make a motion for all the evidence in the case. A lot of work happens between that initial arrest date and the pretrial hearing. You’ll have an opportunity to review all that evidence with your attorney and they can discuss any legal options that are available for you such as defenses in the case. When that pretrial hearing finally gets scheduled, a couple of outcomes are possible.

The Process

First, there may be a plea offer on the table from the prosecutor in the case. You can either accept that plea offer or reject it. If you reject that plea offer, then the case will be set for trial and you’ll have a jury trial at some later date. Another option that may be available is that your attorney may make one of several motions. There may be some evidence issues still outstanding and they’ll make a motion for that and the judge will make a ruling on that. Your attorney may also make a motion based on a legal defense, and again a judge will make a ruling that day and possible outcomes could go a couple of different ways. The judge may rule with the defense attorney and dismiss the case. They may give The State more time to try to correct whatever issue’s outstanding or they may side with The State and the case will move forward anyway. Then the last outcome would be that the case gets set on a jury trial docket, and again, that’ll be set some sometime further on down the road.

Charleston, SC DUI Attorney

Whether you retain an attorney or decide to go it alone, at a minimum, I would advise you to at least talk to a couple of attorneys before your first court date. Typically, the consultations are free and at least that way you may be informed of information that you weren’t aware of and even possible defenses in your case. If you’d like to talk to me` about your case, please give me a call at (843) 530-7813 I hope this video was helpful and thanks for watching.

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