Arrests for driving under the influence (DUI), including drunk driving or operating a motor vehicle while impaired by drugs, have dropped overall in Texas—and that’s good news.
Nevertheless, there were more than 259 arrests per 100,000 people in our state 2018, with the greatest number of arrests happening in Harris County. If you have been arrested for and charged with a DUI crime in Texas, you will be going to court. The first step in the legal process will be an arraignment. So, what is that and what does it entail?
What is a DUI arraignment?
Following a DUI arrest, a defendant will be arraigned—usually within 72 hours. An arraignment is a pre-trial court hearing, and the initial step in a legal process.
Under the Sixth Amendment of the Constitution, a person charged with a crime has the right to “be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation.” During the arraignment, the judge will read the formal charges against you. Under that same amendment, you are guaranteed the “right to have counsel in your defense.” This means you can (and probably should) have a criminal defense attorney at your arraignment. Your lawyer will advise you and may be able to get charges dropped before a trial.
The Texas DUI arraignment process
While the arraignment is not a trial, it is still a legal procedure and, therefore, a process:
- The judge will read the charges against you in open court
- You will be given the opportunity to get legal counsel if you have not already done so
- You enter your plea of either:
- Guilty: You admit to the DUI charges against you
- Not guilty: You did not commit the crime you’ve been charged with
- No contest: You neither admit guilt nor dispute the charge
- Mute: You have the right to “stand mute,” meaning you avoid admitting to the correctness of the proceedings to that point
- Bail may be set at the minimum amount required to ensure that you are less likely to “jump bail.” The bail may be either cash or surety. If the court feels that you will abide by the terms, you may also be released on your own recognizance
- Pre-trial hearings are set
Getting a skilled, experienced Texas criminal defense attorney at arraignment helps ensure the best possible outcome
Don’t wait to have your rights protected. Make sure you have a competent lawyer on your side from the moment you are arrested. To schedule a consultation with board-certified criminal defense attorney Andrew J. Williams, call our office at 281-358-9111 or contact us online. Do not speak until you’ve spoken to us!