Hiring An Attorney For a DC DUI Arraignment

If arrested and charged for driving under the influence in Washington, DC the following is what you need to know about hiring legal representation for your arraignment. To learn more call and discuss your case with a DC DUI arraignment lawyer today.

Do You Need To Have An Attorney For a DC DUI Arraignment?

Every person charged with a DUI will have an attorney present with them for their DUI arraignment. In the event that the defendant has not hired a lawyer prior to their arraignment, the court will have a defense attorney present for them appointed by the court for the purposes of their arraignment. If that person qualifies for court appointed representation, then the court will appoint a lawyer to them for the remaining part of their case. While every defendant is entitled to represent himself should he choose to do so, this is strongly discouraged. All criminal cases, including DUIs, are complicated matters with serious possible consequences. It’s inadvisable to ever appear for a court hearing without legal representation.

What Are The Advantages of Having An Attorney During The DUI Arraignment Process?

Every single person who has been arrested and is scheduled to appear for an arraignment in a DUI case will have an attorney by their side on that date in order to speak on their behalf. For people who show up to their arraignment date without having hired an attorney, that person will have a court-appointed attorney present to enter their plea of “not guilty” and schedule a second court hearing (called a status hearing) that would take place about 3 to 4 weeks later.

From there, if that defendant qualifies financially for court appointed representation, then the defendant will be assigned a lawyer.  However, if the person doesn’t qualify financially for court-appointed representation, he or she will be asked to return at a later date with a privately-hired lawyer who can then begin representing that defendant for the remaining part of the case.

Working with a defense attorney during the arraignment process will allow you to appear for your first court hearing with a privately hired lawyer whom you’ve spoken with, who knows your situation, and who is able to immediately start the process of making requests for discovery with the prosecutor, scheduling your second court hearing, and initiating negotiations with the prosecutor for possible resolution.

If Arrested, What Should You Do To Find An Attorney?

If someone you know has been arrested and wants to hire a lawyer, the first thing that you can do to help is go online and begin researching criminal defense attorneys who specifically handle driving under the influence (DUI) cases in Washington, DC. A person can also help another in finding a lawyer by going with that person to meetings with lawyers, speaking with them, researching their qualifications and background, and discussing with them any thoughts that the attorney might have as to possible ways to handle their case.

An attorney at an initial consultation may not be able to describe exactly what the outcome will be in the case, or even exactly what the defenses might be, but speaking to an attorney about possible defenses and strategies can give you a good idea as to who can best represent your interests. You can also get a sense of who has the experience and knowledge that is specifically valuable in DC DUI cases.

If You Have Court Appointed Counsel For Arraignment, Can You Change Your Attorney?

If you appear for your arraignment and are appointed a lawyer, at any point after that, it’s always possible to switch to a privately hired lawyer. When you are appointed counsel, you have the option of meeting with private lawyers, consulting with them, discussing your case with them and hiring a private lawyer. Your private lawyer can then communicate with your court appointed lawyer to ensure that all relevant documents and evidence are transferred over and that the court is notified that a new attorney will be handling your case.

If your plan after you’ve appointed a lawyer is to hire a private lawyer, then the best thing for you to do is begin that process as soon as possible.  It’s typically not a good idea to wait all the way up until you are scheduled for a trial date to begin the process of deciding whether or not you would like to replace your court-appointed lawyer.  If you decide that you would like to hire private representation, the best thing to do is begin that process as quickly as possible so that your lawyer is not put at any disadvantage by starting the case weeks or months after your arrest happens.