The steps in a Michigan DUI case

Once a person has been released from Jail (usually the morning after their Arrest), they often begin to feel like they’re caught up in a tornado. They have to get the car out of impound, they have to find a Lawyer, they don’t have their actual picture License anymore, the plate on their car has been replaced by this paper thing…

The steps in a DUI case are simple to list, although much harder to explain. In this section, we'll summarize those steps.  For detailed information about what is involved in a Drunk Driving case, please refer to the numerous Drunk Driving articles on my blog .

A DUI case, like any Criminal Case, involves the following steps:

Arraignment. A person is brought before a Judge or Magistrate, informed of the charge against them, advised of their Rights, and, if a Bond amount has not already been set, then a Bond is given that must be paid in order for them to get out of Jail. A person should ALWAYS plead “not guilty” at their Arraignment. If a Lawyer is hired before this Court date, papers can be filed “waiving” the Arraignment and the person will not have to go to Court. A “not guilty” plea will automatically entered on their behalf.

Pre-Trial, or Arraignment/Pre-Trial. These two kinds of Court Notice result in essentially the same thing. The first real Court date in a DUI case is the “Pre-Trial.” A Pre-Trail brings the Prosecutor and the Defense Lawyer to meet and discuss the case, and see if the case can be resolved through some kind of plea bargain. Sometimes, a reduction of the charge or charges can e negotiated early on, at the first meeting of the parties. Other times, there will be additional “Pre-Trials” before the case can be resolved. In some cases, particularly where the evidence is questionable, there might not be any kind of “deal” reached, and the case set for a "Trial."

Trial. This is the "big cheese" in any DUI or Criminal case. A Trial is set when the parties have been unable to come to any agreement to work out or settle the case. A Trial should only be undertaken when there seems to be a very real way to “beat” the charge. This is usually rather clear once a thorough examination of the evidence has been made.  The bottom line is that the evidence of a person driving under the influence is either solid, or not.

Sentencing. What actually happens to a person in any DUI or Criminal Case is decided at Sentencing.  It is here that the Judge Order a person to be placed on Probation, or not, or to serve Jail time, or not.  While the idea of Probation, early on, and especially as an alternative to Jail, sounds like a good deal, the truth is that Probation itself can be rather challenging at times.  No one wants to avoid Jail only to wind up on "Probation from Hell."  Accordingly, "good result" in a DUI case means less consequences.  It means no Jail, and no Probation, or at least less Probation.

The first a Lawyer must do in any DUI case is investigate. DUI cases don't dismiss themselves. Most problems with the evidence are discovered by careful investigation. Many times, critical Police mistakes or other evidentiary problems are discovered only after a painstaking review of the evidence, and are not obvious at first glance. This is where a "DUI Lawyer" brings more to the table than an Attorney who just "does" DUI cases.

If, after careful investigation, a DUI case cannot get “knocked out,” then the the most important thing, after a plea or plea bargain has been reached, is to avoid the fallout and negative consequences of the DUI. 

In the final analysis, results matter, and producing the best, most favorable results, which really means the least amount of negative consequences possible, is what anyone wants when they hire a DUI Lawyer.  Finding the right Lawyer is critical. No doubt anyone reading this is trying to do just that.  As a Michigan DUI Lawyer who limits his DUI Practice to the Courts of Macomb, Oakland and Wayne Counties, I bring more than 2 decades of experience helping people in DUI situations, and I really can make things better for you.