Modifying a DC DUI Court Date
When a person has a legitimate reason for changing their court date, they can do so by bringing their citation to the court clerk’s office at the courthouse before their scheduled court appearance. The person can explain the circumstances and the clerk’s office will have the person pick another date and sign a form.
When someone has their initial court date and goes through the arraignment, a status date is set on the court calendar. If the person needs to change that court date, they must file a motion to continue. By that time, the person has their own attorney this is something their DC DUI defense lawyer should handle.
Out of State Modification
When someone lives out of state and needs to change the court date, that is not that uncommon. It is fairly common in DC because it is such a destination city with a lot of visitors from out of state. It is not unusual that somebody is arrested and given a court date that does not work for them. The person should make sure that they modify the DUI court date in DC and not just miss it. When the person is out of state and is unable to come in, they should have their attorney take care of that.
It is not unusual to need to reschedule a court date, particularly for the initial court date, the arraignment. In that circumstance, the person should have their lawyer reschedule the court date because they can make sure everything is done correctly so the person does not have a bench warrant issued for their arrest.
Consequences of Missing a Date
Under no circumstances does a person want to miss a court date without talking to their attorney beforehand to make sure that it is handled properly, so they should take the appropriate steps of modification of their DC DUI court date if necessary.
The worst case scenario is when the person misses a sentencing date in a case and ends up with a felony Bail Reform Act violation for failing to appear, which can be much worse than the original offense. The consequences of not appearing in court in DC can be traumatic.
If the person has any contact with law enforcement anywhere, chances are they will be taken into custody for a felony. The person is held, sent back to DC, and could be in custody for a couple of weeks dealing with that situation.
If the person is out of state and their appearance is not excused and they missed court, they face a bench warrant for their arrest and the possibility of additional criminal charges for failing to come to court.
If the person is out of state, they do not want to have an active bench warrant for their arrest. They could be out somewhere and involved in a minor traffic accident. When their name is entered into the database and comes back showing they have an active bench warrant, they could be arrested then and there because they have a bench warrant from DC.
The bench warrant for the person’s arrest may trigger the US Marshal Service in DC to look for the person and arrest them. Also, the United States Attorney’s Office in DC may file charges against the person under the Bail Reform Act for failing to appear. In some circumstances, the charges for failing to appear are more serious than the charges the person had to begin with.
Can Someone Appeal Their DUI Case?
When someone is convicted of a DUI, they have the right to an appeal and an associate judge if convicted by a magistrate. If they are convicted by an associate judge, the person can appeal to the DC Court of Appeals.
Grounds for appeal can be any number of things such as the number of legal issues involved. In a DUI case, that might warrant an appeal. The defense attorney looks at the specific facts and circumstances of the case to determine whether there are grounds for an appeal in a DUI case.
Courts Associated with Appealing a Drunk Driving Case
The District of Columbia does not have a circuit court at the local level. The court system in the District of Columbia consists of DC Superior Court and the DC Court of Appeals.
The DC Court of Appeals handles almost all of the appeals that occur in District of Columbia. The exception is when a person is convicted by a magistrate judge. In that case, the first appeal goes to the associate judge. If that appeal is denied, the case goes to the DC Court of Appeals.
The District of Columbia is different from Maryland and Virginia. When someone is convicted at the district court level in those states, they have an automatic right to a new trial at the circuit court level. That does not occur in the District of Columbia.
Benefit of an Attorney
Unlike many jurisdictions, even a misdemeanor in DC requires the presence of the person at all court hearings unless they are specifically excused. There are some excusing circumstances, but in general, a person needs to be present.
Without the help of an attorney modifying their court date, they can expect a bench warrant to be issued for their arrest. It might not be extraditable with a misdemeanor case, but it is extraditable for a felony case. A case that is extraditable goes into the system accessible to the whole nation of law enforcement officials. It is important to utilize the help of an attorney to make sure all of their affairs are being handled properly.