What to expect at your first court appearance

You don't need to go it alone.  Here's what to expect at your first court appearance.

Your first Court appearance is called an Arraignment. You will know that date from when you are arrested and the officer gives you a pink half sheet of paper, called a Citation, which has the date, place and time of your Arraignment. We would meet at the Courthouse at 8:30 a.m. in order to review your paperwork and prepare for the Arraignment itself, which would generally begin at 9:00 or 9:15 a.m. Dress your best, as if you were going for a job interview!

​The paperwork we would receive would be the Information [show] which is a statement of the charge or charges against you. We would also receive a written Offer Sheet, along with the Officer's Affidavit [show] which consists of both a Narrative of what happened resulting in your arrest, as well as the 4 page DWI Form Affidavit. This would be our first chance to see the State's evidence against you and to respond accordingly. The Information would also contain the requested Conditions of Release which are the rules the State will ask the Court that you follow while your cases remain pending.

​If you are from out of State or if you live several hours from the Courthouse, it may be possible to have your personal appearance waived at Arraignment. However, in order for that to happen, we would need at least one week before the Arraignment in order to obtain the consent of the prosecutor to waiving your appearance and then file a written request with the Court for your appearance at Arraignment to be waived. This would apply only if this is your first DWI.

​Your license will not be suspended at your Arraignment if you sent in your request for a Civil Suspension Hearing within 7 days of the date of your arrest! However, if this is your 2nd offense or higher, you will automatically be suspended 11 days after the date of your arrest. If this is at least your 2nd offense, you'll have the option of a Final Civil Suspension Hearing within 42 days of the date of your arrest or 21 days from your Arraignment date. We will discuss this beforehand because you need to decide at your Arraignment whether you want a quick Civil Suspension Hearing.

​The actual time spent in front of the Judge is generally less than 5 minutes. You won't have to say anything. I will plead you not guilty on your behalf and ask that you be released without any Conditions or Restrictions at all. On average you should be able to leave the Courthouse about an hour after you arrive.

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Any testimonial or endorsement, or case result stated in this post, is not a guarantee, or warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your case. Client testimonials and case results set out in this post are specific to the factual and legal circumstances in those cases, and do not guarantee that the same results would be obtained in your case. The information you obtain from this post is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.