DUI Legal Process
At Grabel & Associates, the members of our Michigan DUI law firm understand the importance of having a clear understanding of the DUI legal process for those accused of drunk or impaired driving. Even more important, it is critical that you choose a skilled and knowledgeable defense attorney who is highly experienced and capable of navigating Michigan's DUI process. This can mean the difference between a conviction and a good outcome.
Steps in the Michigan DUI Process
Initial traffic stop and arrest: When an individual is stopped by police on suspicion of DUI, the officer will typically attempt to collect evidence of alcohol/drugs in the individual's system via blood, urine, or breath tests. If the police officer feels that there is probable cause for an arrest, he or she will transport the individual to the police station where that person will be given a breathalyzer test and booked. At this time a mug shot and fingerprints are taken. In most cases the individual is held in jail until the following day, then either arraigned on the charge or released.
Arraignment: The next step is the arraignment, which is the initial court appearance. The purpose of this arraignment is to determine the measures that need to be taken in order to protect the community in the interim of a pending case, and ensure you will appear at future court hearings. The judge will ask how you plead (guilty, not guilty, no contest) after reading the charge against you. Once you plead, bond is normally set - however, it's a good idea to consult with a capable DUI attorney before pleading to the charge.
Discovery: During this phase of the DUI legal process, your lawyer will work to learn all about your case, all of the facts and details known to the prosecutor and police. This may include videotapes, police reports, results of chemical tests, and more. This work is performed by your attorney to ensure he or she knows all of the facts and can effectively analyze the case to determine the best course of legal action.
Pretrial conference(s): Prior to trial, there may be one or more pre-trial conferences. These conferences are designed for prosecutor and defense lawyers to talk about the issues regarding your case, and also to discuss the possibility of negotiating a plea deal in some situations. A pre-trial conference is where issues such as whether the case may be resolved without going to trial are discussed. In most cases the defendant is required to attend these conferences.
Evidentiary hearing/motions: Motions may be filed by either the prosecution or defense in preparing for trial, and are simply a process in which the defense may file to keep evidence out of the trial, or either side may file in order to obtain evidence from the opposing counsel. An evidentiary hearing is only held in the event that a motion filed by either the prosecutor or defense requires that testimony from a witness or witnesses be heard by the court. Essentially, the purpose of the hearing is to request that the court make a ruling prior to trial regarding a certain aspect or aspects of the evidence.
Trial: When the trial date arrives, a judge or jury will determine whether you are guilty or not guilty of the charge against you. If a jury is to decide on a verdict, jury selection will be the next step of the phase prior to the trial beginning. The defense and prosecution select the jury, who listen to, review, and analyze the evidence presented, along with testimony provided by witnesses. You are innocent until proven guilty; the prosecutor must prove that you are guilty of DUI or driving under the influence beyond a reasonable doubt.
Sentencing: The final stage of the Michigan DUI legal process is sentencing. If jurors find you guilty, the judge will determine the sentence you face. Penalties may include jail time, fines, driver's license suspension, probation, and other punishment depending on several factors.
Call Our Michigan DUI Defense Attorneys Now
At Grabel & Associates, our highly regarded defense team knows the Michigan DUI legal process inside and out. Our top priority is to provide you with outstanding legal support and guidance, reaching a favorable outcome. Call our toll-free number today at 1-800-783-4448 for a free evaluation of your DUI case. Contact us online.