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Arraignment | First Court Appearance

Arraignment | First Court Appearance

Arraignment comes after the driver has been arrested and booked. Although drivers are not always booked in DUI arrests. The arraignment is the first court hearing in a DUI case. Majority of people arrested for DUI have never been in legal trouble before. They get a court date and are clueless about what is going to happen in court. This leads to even more stress and worry. This article is designed to answer frequently asked questions regarding arraignments and what you can expect in court.

Arraignment | First Court Appearance: What is an Arraignment?

For DUI defendants, arraignment is the first court date they will have. It is the initial step of a criminal DUI case. The purpose is to provide the defendant with a reading of the crime with which the defendant is being charged.

Arraignment | First Court Appearance: What will Happen in Court?

For the most part, arraignment hearings are standard. On the day of your arraignment, you can expect the judge to: 

  • Read the charges against you. At that point you are formally charged with a crime and you are then a “defendant.”
  • Ask you if you have an attorney. If you already have an attorney, your attorney will address the judge. If not, the judge will ask if you intend on getting an attorney and will recommend that you retain one by your next court date.
  • Ask you how you plea to the DUI charge. In Washington, you will either plead guilty or not guilty.
  • Decide whether to alter the bail amount or to release you on your own recognizance.
  • If you are released, the judge will ask the prosecution if it recommends for the court to impose any release conditions. Release conditions include installing an ignition interlock device or submitting to random drug and alcohol tests.
  • Schedule your next hearing date, called pre-trial.

Arraignment | First Court Appearance: Consult a DUI Attorney

If you have been arrested for DUI, you should speak to a DUI lawyer right away. DUI cases are very complicated. It takes a knowledgeable DUI lawyer to understand how to successfully defend DUI cases. An experienced DUI lawyer must have knowledge of rapidly-changing DUI laws and procedure and results of field sobriety and chemical tests. A good DUI lawyer will ensure that your legal rights are protected.


Greg Sarkisyan is an attorney at Community Law Firm, PLLC, and the author of this post. If you would like to read more, visit us here. If you need legal assistance call (206) 771-4343 or e-mail Help@CommunityLawPLLC.com.



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