DC DUI Court Date Considerations
Following a DUI arrest, the person that was arrested usually gets a citation with the date of their appearance in court. A day or two before the court hearing, the person can look at the online docket in Superior Court to view various pieces of information that was posted.
Information is typically not posted until 24 to 48 hours before the first court date. While a person can look at the online docket to get information about their case; the best source of an update is usually the person’s DUI attorney. A skilled DUI lawyer can walk the individual through the DC DUI trial process and can explain the different DC DUI court date considerations that may be at play in their case. Those charged with a DUI should consult an attorney that can advocate for them.
Expectations Regarding a Court Case
One of the DC DUI court date considerations to take into account is that there might not be one singular court date. A person charged with driving under the influence should expect that it will take several court hearings to resolve the case. If they are looking for a favorable resolution, it takes more than one more hearing to get that done. Cases take a lot of hard work and a lot of effort goes into it.
Can People Change Their Court Date?
The ability to change a court date depends on the nature and circumstances of the issue. When someone has something unexpected come up, if there are vacation plans that cannot be moved that were not disclosed before a court date was set, the person can request a change of date in a DUI case relatively easily. The more notice provided about the defense to be able to change a date, the better. It makes it easier to change.
When a client needs to change a court date, their attorney can contact the prosecutor and make sure they know and agree to the change. The defense attorney files a motion requesting a change in court date and follows up with the judge’s chambers to determine whether the judge has any issues with the requested change. The defense attorney tries to get the judge to issue an order from chambers without having to go to court to get a ruling in court on the issue.
Necessity of Appearing in Court
One of the expected DUI court date considerations is the presence of the defendant. Appearing in court allows people to feel like they are part of the process. Although it is sometimes frustrating because there are so many court hearings for DUI cases, ultimately it allows the defendant to feel more engaged in their case and helps them stay aware of any developments.
The pretrial conference involves reviews of the issues of discovery, evidentiary issues, and motions issues with respect to constitutional issues like suppression.
Furthermore, when a person does not appear in court without being excused, a bench warrant is issued by a judge for the person’s arrest. The person is arrested and taken before the court. If they do not have a sufficient explanation, they can potentially be held in jail.
What Options Exist for Those Who Live Out-of-State?
One of the DC DUI court date considerations that people do not often take into account is the extra effort that might be necessary for those who live out of state. When a person has a travel issue, their lawyer can usually work out those details. If it is necessary to change the court date, that can be changed.
The consequences of missing a court date due to living out-of-state are the same as when anybody misses a court date without being excused beforehand. The location of the person does not matter. They signed a notice at the first court date agreeing to be in court for the next court date.
When they go to the next court date, they sign a notice agreeing to be at the following one. If they sign a notice to be in court, they need to be there. If they need to change the court date, their lawyer can do that often and often it can be done without a person coming to court to change the date. It requires a lot of communication with the attorney and there must be lead time given in order to get that accomplished.
Factors the Court Considers When Determining Sentencing
Only the judge does sentencing in the District of Columbia. Virginia is the only state in the area where juries do the sentencing. The factors considered are the nature and circumstances of the offense. The judge looks at whether there was an accident, the breath or blood alcohol level, the person’s actions once they were stopped, and whether they were improper.
Other factors are the person’s first statements to the court or judge while they are being sentenced and the person’s activities since their arrest. For example, the person took alcohol or traffic alcohol classes or participated in other seminars before they are sentenced. That can play a big role in obtaining a better sentence.
Three Things Everyone Should Know About DUI Cases
Everybody should know that if they are stopped for a DUI, it is almost impossible to talk their way out of a DUI charge. The person should not try to talk their way out of a DUI arrest. They should not make any statements to a police officer when a DUI is being investigated.
One should also remember that DUI cases have extreme collateral consequences such as restricted employment opportunities or travel. For example, a person with a DUI conviction needs to get a special waiver to travel to Canada where there is a five-year ban on people traveling to Canada with a DUI conviction. It is also important to remember these cases are prosecuted most aggressively.
Ways an Attorney Can Help People Prepare for a Court Case
It is helpful for an individual to have a discussion with their attorney before going to a court date, so they can be fully updated on what is happening with the case. Consulting their attorney can also make the defendant more aware of the DC DUI court date considerations they must take into account.
Many times lawyers update individuals about the status of their case, discovery proceedings, investigations, motions being filed, pre-negotiations, and things like that. When there are documents such as the police reports that the lawyer wants the client to read, they should read them.
If there is video, body camera video that they need to look at with the attorney, they should arrange to do so before going to court. If an individual has been charged with a DUI, they should consult a knowledgeable and determined DUI lawyer that can attempt to achieve a positive outcome for them.
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