Being convicted of DUI is no laughing matter. In Rhode Island, a DUI conviction carries a number of serious consequences, including restrictions on your driving privileges, fines, and even jail time. With the help of an experienced DUI defense lawyer, however, you can get the early intervention and protection necessary to make an effective case.
If you are arrested for a DUI or DWI, knowing how to deal with the legal proceedings can be daunting to say the least. You may be arraigned in court. At your arraignment, you will have to plead to the charge. A lawyer may also be assigned to you by the court if you don’t have one. The bail is also set during your arraignment.
After you have been arraigned in court, you may choose to take any of the following steps to deal with the dwi charges against you.
1. Plead Guilty
If you do not want to fight the charges, you can plead guilty at the arraignment. However, a guilty plea means that you will get a conviction record for the charges.
2. Plea Bargaining
Plea bargaining involves reaching a compromise with the prosecutor without going to trial. It is preferred by prosecutors in questionable cases. The defendant gets a reduced jail sentence, charge or fine in exchange for pleading guilty while the prosecutor gets a conviction without a trial.
Plea bargaining is not as common in drunk-driving cases nowadays as it was in the past since drunk driving is practically outlawed in most states.
3. Demanding a Trial Before A Judge
You can request to have a trial before a judge when fighting your DUI or DWI charges. A trial before a judge is recommended in cases that involve many technicalities. For example, if you got drunk in a bar, then got in your car, and fell asleep without driving anywhere, a judge is more likely to be receptive to your argument than a jury.
4. Demanding a Jury Trial
If your case is straightforward, a jury trial may be more favorable than a trial before a judge. Most judges have the ability to tell if a person is guilty or not; therefore, they may be less lenient than a jury may.
If you decide to fight the charges, you will need an experienced lawyer to argue your case for you. If your alcohol test registered a BAC of more than 0.08 percent, your chances of losing are high. However, if it was below 0.08 percent, you stand a fair chance of winning.
To win a trial, your lawyer must be able to put the credibility of the test into question. This is because the tests are used to judge whether your judgment was impaired or not.