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Hiring An Attorney For a DUI Arraignment in DC

If you are being charged for driving under the influence in Washington, DC the following is what you need to know about hiring an attorney for your DUI arraignment including whether you need an attorney, and whether you can switch your attorney following the arraignment proceedings. To learn more about hiring legal representation, call and schedule a consultation with a DC DUI arraignment lawyer today.

Do You Need An Attorney For a DUI Arraignment?

Every person facing DUI charges needs to have a lawyer with them at their arraignment. In the event that they don’t hire a lawyer for their first court hearing, the court would then provide every defendant with an attorney for the arraignment, whether they financially qualify for court-appointed counsel or not.

If a person does qualify for court-appointed counsel, then that defendant would have the option of keeping the lawyer who represented them at arraignment for the remainder of the case. If a person didn’t qualify for a full time court-appointed counsel, then after the arraignment he or she would have the opportunity to be able to consult with private lawyers and hire a lawyer before the second court date. But regardless of whether a person qualifies, there will always be a lawyer representing you at your first court date.

When Do You Have The Chance To Call a Lawyer?

A person can call a lawyer at any point after they’ve been released from the police station after their arrest. Police officers typically do not grant a person who’s been arrested the opportunity to call a lawyer while they are in custody at the police station. Contrary to what happens on TV shows, police are not required to grant a person who has been arrested a phone call to contact a lawyer. Once you’ve been released from police custody, you have the opportunity to immediately begin looking for a lawyer, to consult with them, and to think about hiring one for your initial court date.

If You Want Private Counsel, Do You Need To Hire Them Before The Arraignment?

You are not legally required to hire a lawyer before your arraignment. Even if you don’t qualify for court-appointed counsel, there would be a lawyer present with you and appointed to you by the court just for your arraignment hearing. However, there can be numerous advantages to hiring a lawyer before your arraignment who could then be present with you for your initial court hearing. If, however, you do not hire a lawyer for your first court of hearing, the judge would grant you a certain amount of time to consult with lawyers after your arraignment hearing and would ask you to come back in for a court hearing about two to three weeks out to ascertain whether or not you’d be able to hire a private lawyer.

Can You Change Your Lawyer Later?

Yes. Even if you have a lawyer appointed to you by the court, you have the option of switching from an appointed lawyer to a privately retained lawyer at any point. You may simply begin consulting with private lawyers and if you decide to hire a private lawyer, your private lawyer will be able to notify your court-appointed counsel and the court and get the case transferred to them.

A person who has already appeared for an arraignment always has the opportunity to tell their court-appointed lawyer or tell the judge through their lawyer that they would like to hire private counsel. The judge can grant a person the opportunity to have a certain period of time to meet with lawyers and gather any funding necessary in order to be able to hire that lawyer. Once the person has hired a lawyer, then the newly retained lawyer will begin the process of transferring the case over from the previous lawyer and notifying the court.

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