Every DWI case begins with an arrest. The law requires that the arresting officer has reasonable cause to believe a traffic violation has occurred prior to a stop. An exception to this is checkpoint cases. The law requires that an officer must have probable cause to arrest someone. This means that the officer must have an articulable factual basis to believe that the arrestee was operating a vehicle while under the influence.
The first thing we must do following a DWI arrest is to request an administrative hearing to challenge the Department of Public Safety's proposed suspension of your driver's license for refusing the breathalyzer or blowing over the limit. You only have 30 days after arrest to request the hearing. Mr. Barkemeyer can request the hearing for you upon representation.
An arraignmment is the first court date. The arraignment date may be the date on your ticket or it will be served on you at a later time. The purpose of the arraignment is so the court can inform you of the formal charges filed against you. The defendant then must enter a plea of not guilty, guilty, nolo contendere, or not guilty by reason of insanity.
Depending on the charge and court, the process may include motion hearings in which the court hears motions by the attorneys. The facts of the case will determine the types of motions hearings that are necessary.
In misdemeanor DWI cases, the defendant has a right to a trial by judge. In felony DWI cases, the defendant has a right to a jury trial or judge trial. The defendant decides if he will waive his right to a jury trial.
If the defendant pleads guilty or is otherwise found guilty at trial, the judge will determine the sentence based on statutory law, the defendant’s criminal record, and the facts of the case.
Depending on the court and judge, a presentence investigation may be ordered. This investigation will reveal to the judge the defendant's background, facts of the case, and other important information that can help guide the judge in determining an appropriate sentence.
Contact the DWI lawyers at Barkemeyer Law Firm at (985) 888-0009 for a consultation.