An arrest for driving under the influence (DUI) in Tennessee can result in an administrative license suspension as well as a criminal DUI charge. In criminal cases, DUI arraignments are the initial court proceeding before a judge. If you have received notice of your first court date, retaining a Nashville DUI lawyer for your arraignment may be advantageous. Attorney Bernie McEvoy represents people who have been arrested for DUI and drug charges throughout the Nashville area. He can provide guidance at every step of a DUI case and protect your rights at the arraignment.DUI Arraignments in Tennessee
The arraignment is an important part of criminal due process, which includes a person’s right to be informed of the crimes they are accused of committing. A DUI arraignment is a court proceeding in a criminal case where a defendant is formally advised of the specific charges against them.
After a DUI arrest, the prosecuting attorney has time to review the arrest record and gather preliminary evidence before the arraignment. The prosecution may charge the defendant with the appropriate DUI offense based on the allegations involved in the case. In some cases, this may result in multiple charges. For example, a person arrested for DUI also may be charged with a drug crime if the police find cocaine during an inventory search of the defendant’s vehicle.
If you have been arrested for DUI, you will receive notification of the date of your arraignment. All of the charges against a person are stated at DUI arraignments. This gives those charged an opportunity to understand the severity of the charges and the range of potential penalties if convicted. If you have legal representation before your arraignment, your lawyer can attend on your behalf and waive your appearance so that you do not have to be there. If you do not have an attorney, you must appear at your DUI arraignment. However, you have the opportunity to retain one afterward.Entering a Plea at a DUI Arraignment
The DUI arraignment is one of your first opportunities to defend against the charges against you. After the charges are presented, the judge will ask you to enter a plea of not guilty, guilty, or no contest. While your lawyer can advise you of the advantages and disadvantages of each plea, the decision is yours alone to make.
A “not guilty” plea is a formal denial of a DUI charge entered on the record. Pleading not guilty means that the state will have to establish each element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. In addition, you can request a trial by jury or judge to decide the charges. Entering a not guilty plea to a DUI charge also allows time to conduct discovery, build your defense strategy, and negotiate with the prosecution for a favorable plea bargain.
A plea of “guilty” means that you admit to the criminal charges brought against you. When you plead guilty to a DUI charge, you are not only accepting a conviction, but you are also waiving your right to a trial and an appeal. You will be then subject to sentencing by the judge. Pleading guilty is generally not advantageous in a DUI case and should be discussed with qualified counsel.Seek Guidance from an Attorney in the Nashville Area
If you have been arrested for drunk driving, it is never too soon to contact a lawyer before your DUI arraignment. Bernie McEvoy has handled thousands of DUI cases with more than 25 years of criminal law practice. He can assist with DUIs, domestic violence, drug charges, and other felony and misdemeanor cases in Nashville, Franklin, and areas throughout Davidson and Williamson Counties. Request a free consultation by contacting the Law Office of Bernie McEvoy at (615) 255-9595 during business hours and (615) 804-8779 after hours and weekends, or online at any time.