How To Take Charge of Your DUI Hearing

If you are facing a DUI hearing, you may be feeling overwhelmed and scared, you are not alone.  Most people anticipating a DUI hearing are stressed and concerned.  There are easy steps you can take to be more prepared to have a successful outcome:

  • Bring Someone With You.  If you have the means to hire an attorney, call him or her before your first hearing.  Having an experienced, competent attorney by your side will give you confidence and often streamline the process.  You’re attorney will take the lead in discussing your case with the prosecutor, explain your options, and be by your side as you enter a plea or set it for another hearing or trial.  If you don’t bring an attorney, then you may want to bring a family member or friend for moral support.
  • Look Up Information Beforehand. If you are going to be asking to be represented by a public defender, you may be asked verbally by the judge about your income or you may proffer that information in a form.  Look up the numbers so that you will be accurate and confident in presenting the facts.
  • Dress Appropriately.  Appearance is always important, regardless of whether you are talking about a job interview or a court hearing.  Come to court clean, well-groomed, and appropriately dressed.  Judges strive to be impartial, so you appearance may not impact the outcome in obvious ways, but a judge will likely appreciate a professional, neat appearance, which may have a subtle positive effect on your case.
  • Be On Time.  It seems obvious to be on time to your court hearing, but being punctual can be challenging for many people.  A rights video may be shown at the beginning of the calendar or instructions may be given out.  You can’t go wrong with being on time, so make your hearing a priority.
  • Know the Dates of Your Priors.  If you have prior DUI offenses, you will want to check the dates because how old the prior convictions are will impact how you are treated for the DUI in question.
  • Don’t Drive Yourself.  Typically, you’re license will be suspended on your court date due to the DUI arrest, and it’s just not work the risk to illegally drive.  In some courts, the staff is instructed to watch for defendants who drive, or if you are entering a plea or being sentenced, the judge may ask you how you got to court.  Don’t take chances with driving on a suspended license to the courthouse.