What happens during the first DUI Court appearance in AZ?

DUI Attorney explains what happens in court

DUI Attorney Nick Alcock explains the first DUI setting.

If you were pulled over for a DUI, your court date is probably in a month or so.  Most people are terrified to go to this first setting, because they are afraid to stand in front of a judge.  People worry that the first court date is a trial.  Many also worry that they can be hauled off to jail from court.

The good news is that the very first court appearance for a misdemeanor DUI case in Arizona is typically not a big deal.  The first setting is typically the “Not guilty arraignment.”  This is merely a time to enter a plea of “not guilty” and have the matter set to another date.

You might be concerned that telling a judge that you are not guilty will somehow get you in trouble.  It won’t.  A not guilty plea doesn’t mean that you are innocent.  It just means that you want additional time to review your options and consider the evidence.

Every DUI case is different.  While most misdemeanors have first court appearances that aren’t that big of a deal there are some exceptions to the rule.  Here are some things to look out for.

First, if you are charged with a felony DUI, the first court appearance can be consequential.  This is because the judge may set a bond or restrictive release conditions.  My advice is that if you have to go to Superior Court for a felony aggravated DUI, give an attorney a call before you show up.

Sec0nd, if you have a warrant for other offenses, the first court appearance can land you in jail.  Be aware that the judge or prosecutor might do some research to find out your criminal history.

Third, if you reside out of state, the judge may set a bond to secure you appearance.

Finally, if you hire an attorney, you may not even have to go to court at all.

If you would like to speak with our DUI attorneys about a case in Arizona, give us a call at 602-989-5000.  The DUI attorney consultation is free and there is never any pressure for you to sign up with our firm.

Alcock and Associates, P.C.

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