The legal process which decides the final penalties a person will be held liable for in Port St Lucie, Florida can be a lengthy one. Anyone who is being charged for a DUI crime should get in touch with a DUI lawyer in Port St Lucie, Florida in order to have their case go through as quickly and smoothly as possible.
Most DUI cases will consist of a first appearance, arraignment, pre-trial conference, evidentiary hearings, and then the trial. The reason for having so many steps involved is to ensure that proper justice is served and to give both the defendant and the prosecutor plenty of opportunities to present all of their evidence and call forth all of their witnesses.
Let’s take a look at what happens in each of these steps individually:
First Appearance: Within 24 hours of being arrested and charged, a person will be required to make their first appearance in front of a judge. In this meeting, the judge will inform a person of all the charges being laid on them and let them know whether they will be detained or free to go home. It is at this point where most individuals get in touch with their lawyer to figure out what steps need to be taken next.
Arraignment: An arraignment generally takes place next and it is basically a hearing in which a person will plead guilty or not guilty. It is possible for a person’s attorney to file paperwork in order to waive attendance to this hearing on account of a person testifying as not guilty.
Pre-Trial Conference: A pre-trial conference is held simply to update the judge on how everything is going and whether a person will need to change the date of the final trial due to availability of witnesses or other serious concerns.
Evidentiary hearings: Evidentiary hearings occur on the same day as the actual trial. During this hearing, the officer who made the arrest will often give testimony and the judge will decide on the most important factors of the case.
Trial: Every individual who is arrested has their constitutional right to a fair trial by jury. Many DUI cases are often fully resolved before the trial date, but if a person’s case makes it this far then this will be the last point in which the charges will be finalized. The jury will generally consist of 7 jurors.
Do I need a lawyer to represent me if I am charged with DUI?
If a person has an uncomplicated case and they are planning to plead guilty then there is often no real need to hire a lawyer. However, if a person wants to fight to have their penalties reduced and if a person feels like they are being charged unjustly, a legal professional will definitely be a major asset and they will be able to assist a person with all the legalities and paperwork required to build a strong case.