What To Expect After Your DUI Arrest

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Any kind of arrest can be scary and confusing, but a DUI arrest can be even more so. That is because a DUI is a very serious charge that could have life-changing implications. That is why a DUI lawyer in Orlando, FL recommends that you contact an attorney as soon as possible after the arrest so that they can give you the best possible defense. But if you are arrested for a DUI, you should know what happens and what to expect.

The Arrest

Once arrested, you will be taken to jail, where the officer will request a blood or urine sample. You will be searched and need to provide basic information like your name, address, date of birth, etc. This will be done during the 20 minute observation period before the officer conducts a breath test. After consent or refusal of the breath test, it’s on to the next step.


This is where you are put in jail. Your personal information, photo, fingerprints, and criminal charges are entered into the criminal database, and your personal items will be removed and taken to a secure location. If you can post bail or contact a bail bondsman, you will be released from jail. If you cannot post bail, you will be brought to First Appearances, which is your first appearance before a judge. The judge will decide whether your arrest was justified or not.

If they decide that the arrest was not justified, you will be released without bond. But if they believe the arrest was fair, they will set a bail amount, which should be the same as when you were put in jail. However, if you have a bad record or there were aggravating circumstances, the judge might increase the bail amount. But regardless of whether you post bail or are released, the jail is required to keep you there for eight hours until your BAC (blood alcohol content/concentration) drops to an acceptable level.


This is where you appear in court to hear the charges against you, at which point you enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. If you hire a lawyer, they will file a Notice of Appearance, which tells the state that you deny the charge and will enter a plea of not guilty. You are allowed to skip the arraignment if your lawyer does this. If you do not have an attorney, it is not advisable to enter a guilty plea.

If you are not in custody, your arraignment will be pretrial or general. If you are in custody, it will be at the first appearance (initial appearance) or second appearance (preliminary hearing). During the arraignment, the court clerk reads the charges against you and asks how you plead. You can enter a plea of “not guilty,” “no contest” (nolo contendere), or “guilty.”

You should know that if you plead no contest or guilt, there is often an effect on any future lawsuit involving that same incident because the conviction may then be mentioned in discovery. In other words, when a defendant pleads guilty or no contest to a crime he could have been charged with, a civil lawsuit may be more difficult to win. This is because it can be used against the defendant as evidence of bad-faith behavior on his part.

In most jurisdictions, you have a right to appeal from an order of the court denying your motion for a new trial or judgment of acquittal notwithstanding the verdict (judgment notwithstanding the verdict). If you want to appeal from one of those orders, you must file a notice of appeal within ten days after entering that order.

Preliminary Hearing

At this stage, your charges or bail amount will be disputed. This can result in the charges being dropped or your bail being set to a lower amount.

The preliminary hearing has two purposes:

  • To check if there is enough primary evidence (unless this was done previously)
  • To see if you should remain in detention or not. If no further evidence is presented after this one, maybe you can be set free.

Pre-Trial Hearings, Plea Bargains, and Trial

If the charges have not been dropped, then you will be on the way to court, where your case will be resolved before a judge and jury. Before that happens, there are pre-trial hearings where all the evidence against you will be gathered by the prosecutor and disputed by your attorney. Next is the plea bargaining stage, where most DUI cases are resolved. This is where your attorney tries to negotiate a reasonable plea deal on your behalf. If they cannot, it is on to the trial, where they will represent you to the best of their ability.

As you can see, a DUI attorney is invaluable throughout every stage of the arrest, so it is in your best interest to contact one as soon as you’ve been arrested. They can make a huge difference in your case’s outcome.


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