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September, 4 2018
What to Expect at a DUI Preliminary Hearing

Things can happen quickly after you’ve been arrested for a DUI. There are many parts of the criminal justice system that lag and can seem like an eternity to get through to emerge on the other side of this process. However, that’s not the case when it comes to the initial part of the process after your arrest. Typically, you’ll go through the arrangement rather quickly after the arrest with only a few days between them, and the DUI preliminary hearing comes not too long after that initial appearance in court. Do you know what you should expect to experience during this hearing? Let’s dive into this subject to help prepare you for what’s to come.

What Happens at a DUI Preliminary Hearing?

A DUI preliminary hearing typically comes shortly after an arrangement where you enter your plea. The DUI preliminary hearing is where the prosecution presents the evidence against you. This evidence allows the judge to determine whether or not there is enough to go to a trial.

You can expect your preliminary hearing to last anywhere from just a few minutes up to several hours. The length will depend upon the amount of evidence available. The judge will weigh this evidence to make a determination for trial or not. This decision is based on whether there is enough evidence supporting probable cause to move forward. In this type of hearing, only the judge, the prosecution, and the defense are in the courtroom. There is no jury at this time. However, the courtroom is typically open to the public, so you are able to have family and friends there to support you if you wish.

The prosecutor will have a chance to offer up witness testimony and physical evidence to the judge. This testimony and evidence are what will help determine if there’s enough probable cause to move forward. At this point, your legal representative can point out weaknesses in the prosecution’s case. They are able to cross-examine the witnesses and call the evidence into question.

What Are the Possible Outcomes of the Preliminary Hearing?

There are two possible outcomes of your DUI preliminary hearing. The first is that the judge will determine that there’s enough evidence, and set up a trial for a later date. The second is that the judge could decide that the evidence is not enough to go to trial. If this occurs, the courts will dismiss the charges against you. 

Does a DUI Preliminary Hearing Always Happen?

There are some circumstances when there are no preliminary hearings in a DUI case. In this type of situation, a person is arraigned and chooses to move forward in their case by pleading guilty. This situation may happen in situations where there is a great deal of evidence of intoxication or other factors. For instance, if a breathalyzer was used correctly and showed a blood alcohol content that was over the legal limit. A plea bargain may also eliminate the need for a DUI preliminary hearing. As the judge will not have to determine whether or not your case should go to trial, this hearing is unnecessary.

How to Best Prepare Yourself

One of the best ways to prepare yourself for your DUI preliminary hearing is to follow the advice of your attorney. They can give you an idea of how you should dress, act, and what to expect from your particular situation. Your attorney is often the best guide through how you should handle the hearing. Your behavior and the way you dress could have some bearing on how your case moves forward.

What Can Your Attorney Do Before Your Preliminary Hearing?  

There are a number of things having an attorney on your side before your DUI preliminary hearing can accomplish. A prepared attorney is able to mount the best defense on your behalf. They will have had time to go over all of the materials about your DUI and help you to plan how to move forward. As noted previously, the time between your arrest and initial appearances in court is rather short. An attorney can file a motion on your behalf to extend this time. This extension can help them in creating the perfect defense for your situation. Your attorney can determine where the issues lie with the prosecutor’s information and create arguments that can sway the judge to rule in your favor.

Have you or a loved one been arrested for a DUI, and are preparing for the initial proceedings like the DUI preliminary hearing? Contact the Law Office of Douglas Herring today to discuss your case. We can go over the prosecution’s information and help to determine the right plan of action for you to move forward with your life. You deserve a legal professional by your side protecting your rights when facing these types of charges.   

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