What Happens in Court?
If you have been arrested for a misdemeanor DUI in Scottsdale, the arresting officer will likely serve you with a criminal complaint that directs you to appear in court for an arraignment. At the arraignment, you will appear in front of a judge and enter a plea of either guilty or not guilty to each of your pending charges. Typically a not guilty plea is entered and the case is scheduled for a pretrial conference in approximately 45 days.
Prior to the pretrial conference, your Scottsdale DUI Attorney will obtain a copy of the police and laboratory reports related to your case and review them with you. The documents need to be carefully examined by an experienced DUI Lawyer who will notice any discrepancies or legal issues that could be raised. After the reports are reviewed, your DUI attorney should conduct a defense interview with the arresting officer, the person who tested your blood and any other potential witness for the prosecution. By conducting a through defense investigation, your attorney will be able to smoke out any defenses that can be raised during trial.
After the defense investigation is completed, any pretrial motions should be filed. This could include:
- Motion to Dismiss – No Reasonable Suspicion for Traffic Stop
- Motion to Dismiss – No Probable Cause for Arrest
- Motion to Dismiss - Violation of Right to Counsel
- Motion to Suppress Blood Results
- Motion to Suppress Statements
- Motion to Suppress Evidence
Depending on the particular motions that may be filed in your case, the court will set an evidentiary hearing where prosecution witness may be required to testify and be cross-examined by you DUI Attorney. Scottsdale DUI Lawyer Joshua S. Davidson utilizes these hearings to both litigate pretrial issues and assess the ability of the prosecution’s witnesses to testify in court. Depending on the strength of the issue raised in the pretrial motion, the outcome of the hearing and the particular issue being challenged, the court may dismiss the case after the hearing.
Your Voice in Court
Most cases, however, are not resolved by pretrial motion and a trial date will be scheduled. At trial, a group of 6 people will be selected to sit as jurors and decide whether the prosecution meets their burden of proof. During trial, your Scottsdale DUI Lawyer will cross examine the witnesses called by the prosecution, including any police officers and laboratory technicians, and may present defense evidence and witnesses after the prosecution rests its case. The judge will instruct the jury that it cannot return a verdict of guilty unless all 6 members unanimously decides that the prosecution proved your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The prosecution will usually offer a plea agreement prior to trial. Ultimately, the decision of whether to take a plea and give up the right to trial is a decision the defendant makes. A qualified Scottsdale DUI Attorney like Joshua S. Davidson will help you assess your chances at trial and assist you in deciding whether to make a plea bargain or not.
In the event you are convicted at trial, you will have the right to file an appeal with the Maricopa Superior Court. You must file your notice of appeal within 10 day after sentencing. If the jury returns a verdict of guilty, most judges will not take you into custody. Rather, you will need to self report to the jail to complete your jail sentence.