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The process of a DWI arraignment

While there are many stages to the court process when a person has been charged with a crime, those who are accused of DWI in Michigan might not make it past an arraignment. This procedure usually takes place within days of an arrest, and a criminal court judge presides over the proceedings. The judge reads the charges against a defendant and then asks about a defendant's legal counsel and plea. If the defendant does not have an attorney, a court-appointed attorney could be provided. A judge may alter a bail amount or release a defendant before announcing the dates for future proceedings.

The court can assign an attorney to a defendant's case because an accused party has the right to legal representation if facing the possibility of jail time. Public defenders are government-appointed attorneys who help criminal defendants when they cannot afford a private attorney.

When an arraignment takes place, a prosecutor usually gives a defendant and the defendant's attorney the documentation of evidence against a defendant. This may include police reports, lab reports or notes from field sobriety tests. This gives a defense attorney the chance to prepare before the preliminary hearing, pre-trial motions and trial.

Many people charged with DWI do not go further in the court process than an arraignment because they choose to plead guilty. This might be because of the misconception that there is nothing one can do when the authorities have evidence of drunk driving. However, one should consider consulting a criminal defense attorney before pleading guilty to any charges. Some evidence like field sobriety tests or breath tests may not have been properly administered, while mistakes in police procedure could make other evidence inadmissible.

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