In Michigan, it is illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol. If a driver is taken into custody for driving under the suspicion of alcohol, he/she will be transported to the police station for chemical testing. If the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) is above the legal limit, he/she will be charged with drunk driving.
After being charged, the accused must attend an arraignment in which he/she will be advised about the pending drunk driving charge asserted against him/her and the statutory penalties. Read on to learn more about what happens during a Washtenaw County DUI arraignment and how I can help you.
What is an arraignment?
An arraignment is the first part of a criminal procedure that occurs in front of a judge or magistrate. The Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution requires people accused of crimes to be put on notice of the crime for which she/he is charged. Many arraignments occur within 72 hours after arrest. In Washtenaw county, the arraignment may not occur for many months after the date of arrest.
What happens during a Washtenaw County DUI arraignment?
At the arraignment, the accused will be informed of the charges pending against him/her and asked to enter a plea. Bond conditions are set during the arraignment. The charges brought against a driver accused of drunk driving at the arraignment may consist of one of the following:
- Operating While Intoxicated (1st Offense)
- Operating While Intoxicated with a high BAC
- Operating While Intoxicated (2nd Offense)
- Operating While Intoxicated (3rd Offense – Felony)
- Operating While Visibly Impaired
Once the accused is charged, the judge or magistrate will explain the penalties associated with the offense. For example, the judge or magistrate will inform the accused of the maximum statutory jail time, in addition to the fines and court costs the defendant may face if convicted. The judge or magistrate may also explain the driver’s license sanctions and responsibility fees.
During the arraignment, the defendant’s bond will also be set. Bond may be either personal recognizance or a cash bond. Personal recognizance means the defendant promises to return for all court appearances. A cash bond is paid to get or stay out of jail and ensure the accused will return to court for future appearances. The bond will be revoked if the defendant fails to appear at future court dates or violates any other bond conditions. The court may also impose alcohol and/or drug testing once the accused is released on bond. Some judges order alcohol tethers.
Once the accused is charged and bond is set, he/she will be informed of his/her constitutional rights. The defendant has a right to an attorney, trial by judge or jury, call witnesses on his/her behalf, and the right to not have to testify at trial. If the defendant cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed by the court.
Should you retain an attorney?
Yes. There are several benefits of retaining an attorney if you are to be arraigned for a DUI. The most important benefit is an experienced attorney to answer your questions and to explain the law. Contact my law office after your arrest and before your arraignment. You should never appear in a Washtenaw County court without an attorney.