Three people are killed every two hours as a result of drunk-driving on highways in America. As such, the courts are not lenient on DWI drivers.
How Do I Plead?
There are four main pleas you can make. You can choose to pay the fine. You can plead guilty with explanation. You can plead not guilty, and lastly, you can plead nolo contendere. This route is the same as pleading guilty. You don’t have to go to court after paying a fine. There are various ways you can pay your fine. You may do so at the county clerk offices or via mail. A DWI fine will appear on your record. However, if your record was spotless before the DWI, your driving privileges will not be taken away from you. If you were involved in a serious accident, then a fine will not be an option for you. It is always advisable to consult a lawyer in such a case to determine which plea to make.
Pleading Guilty with Explanation
In this case, you plead guilty and provide an explanation to a judge to have your fine reduced. If you want to go to court but do not want the hassle of coming up with an elaborate defense, this could be the option for you. A no guilty plea is however more advisable. This way if you come up with a convincing defense to the judge, then you do not have the guilty charge on your record.
Pleading Not Guilty
A no-guilty plea is the constitutional right of every American citizen. You are not required to go to court to make the not guilty plea. You can do it at several places such as via mail or telephone, and at the county clerk’s office.
Pleading Nolo Contendere
Literally translated, nolo contendere means, I do not contest. When you make this plea, you are choosing not to contest the charges brought against you. This plea is useful in cases where you were involved in an accident and have to go to court for one reason or another. The benefit of this plea is that you have not admitted or denied guilt, and so you cannot be charged as guilty in another case. Pleading your case after a DWI is best done under the advisement of an attorney who can tell you the best plea to make. If you make a not guilty plea and are found guilty, the lawyer will guide you through the next court processes all the way to trial.
What Happens after I’m Arrested for a DWI?
If an officer suspects you of a DWI they will pull you over and ask you to conduct a field sobriety test. They might also ask you for a blood or urine test. If this comes out positive, you will be arrested and booked for a DWI and spend at least a few hours in jail before you can post bail. Bail can only be paid after booking which means you cannot avoid going to jail. Most DWI offenders are allowed bail. However, others are denied bail in which case they can appeal for it at later court proceedings.
Why Would I Need a Lawyer for a DWI Arrest?
You will need a lawyer for a number of reasons after your DWI arrest. A DWI attorney can post bail for you and make the process faster. They can even argue a lower bail amount for you. After you have been bailed out, they will investigate your arrest and may come up with evidence that will work in your favor at your first court appearance.
The legal processes after a DUI arrest include the arraignment to court, the preliminary hearing, plea bargaining, pretrial motions and the trial.
Some people prefer to defend themselves but an experienced lawyer is the best defense against an equally experienced prosecutor.