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What Happens at a DUI Arraignment?

After a DUI arrest, and following the booking and initial bail procedures of the process, arraignment is the first courtroom-based proceeding to take place. Because many of those who are arrested for a DUI have no previous criminal record, the court procedures associated with a DUI arrest can be extremely difficult to navigate through without proper legal guidance. In this blog, our San Diego DUI attorney explains what to expect during a DUI arraignment.


Since this is your first appearance in court following the DUI arrest, you’ll be asked if you’ve had a chance to secure legal representation and, if not, whether you plan to hire a lawyer or apply for public defender services. In the event that you do have an attorney who is not present at the time of your arraignment, it will be moved to a different date so that your lawyer can be there with you. If you do not have an attorney, the judge will either appoint a public defender at that moment or have you apply for one and come back at a later date.

During this phase, you also have the right to state that you wish to represent yourself – while this is always an option, it’s strongly suggested that you hire immediate representation after a DUI arrest. The justice system is riddled with complexities that are difficult to understand and handle without a trusted legal advocate on your side.

What are your options?

During a typical arraignment, the defendant will be called to stand before the judge, who will then read the criminal charges, ask how the defendant pleads, decides on matters regarding bail or releasing the defendant to his or her own recognizance, and announce dates of any future proceedings. When it comes to how you choose to plead – whether guilty, not guilty, or no contest – it’s imperative that you discuss your options with your attorney beforehand.

Waiving Time

During the arraignment, the court will ask you to waive time, which simply means that you won’t be holding the court to a strict timeline for holding the trial. At this point in the process, it’s unclear to tell the type of case you’ll have or how much time you’ll need to build the best possible defense, so typically it will be advised that you waive your time. If you wish to have your case heard in trial, you can withdraw the time waiver.

If you’ve been arrested for a DUI, time is absolutely crucial – you have up to 10 days to request a hearing with the DMV to protect your driving privileges. Having a trusted San Diego DUI lawyer on your side will help improve your chances of securing a favorable outcome.

Mark R. De Yoe, APLC is ready to hear from you. Call (855) 722-6041 today to schedule your free consultation.