Although trials in DUI cases are rare, when facing drunk driving charges in New Jersey, it is important to be prepared for the possibility of presenting your case in court. If you need to convince a judge to let you walk free, you need to fully-prepared to challenge the key elements of the prosecution’s case and assert your affirmative defenses.
But, there are several steps between your arrest and your trial date; and, if possible, it will likely be in your best interests to resolve your case “on motions” without facing the uncertainty of trial. Here is brief introduction to what you can expect as your DUI case moves forward:
Counting Down to Your Trial Date for a New Jersey DUI
7. Free Consultation with a DUI Attorney
You want to give your attorney as much time to work on your case as possible. As a result, your first step after a DUI arrest should be to schedule a free initial consultation. During this consultation, your attorney will collect the details of your case, and he or she will help you understand what you can do to help yourself while your case is pending.
Your first court appearance in a DUI case is known as an “arraignment.” If you have an attorney, he or she can represent you at your arraignment; or, depending on the circumstances of your case, your attorney may advise you to waive your right to appear.
5. Evidentiary Matters
Once the arraignment is over, your case will begin in earnest. Your attorney will conduct an investigation in order to collect any available evidence to use for your defense, and will request the prosecution’s evidence as well.
4. Defense Strategizing
Once you have a clear picture of the prosecution’s case, then you can begin to assemble a comprehensive defense strategy. Should you try to obtain a reduced charge? Do you have the evidence to challenge the prosecution’s case entirely? These are complex questions you will need to answer with the help of your attorney.
3. Pretrial Conference
If you are going to seek a reduced charge, the pretrial conference is typically the time to do so. This is a meeting between your attorney and the state prosecutor. Depending upon the outcome, both sides may submit a proposed resolution to the court for approval; or, your case may continue to proceed toward trial.
2. Pretrial Motions
This is the stage where most DUI cases end. If the evidence is in your favor, your attorney can file motions seeking to have your charges dismissed entirely. If you have suffered a violation of your Constitutional rights, your attorney may be able to use this to bring your case to an end as well.
1. Preparation for Trial
If your case is not resolved through pretrial motions, you and your attorney will prepare your case for trial. This will involve: going over the process; helping you understand what to do in the courtroom; and, if you will testify, making sure you are prepared to represent yourself effectively in open court.
Are You Facing a DUI Charge in New Jersey?
Our firm provides experienced legal representation for individuals facing DUI charges throughout New Jersey. If you have been arrested, you can call 1-877-435-6371 or contact us online for a free consultation.