The Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees a criminal defendant the right to a speedy trial, and some states expedite the process even further through their laws. While speedy trials save time, they have the unintended side effect of catching alleged criminals off-guard.
That’s why Monroe & King is here to say time is of the essence after a driving under the influence (DUI) arrest.
Florida DUI First Appearance
A driving under the influence arrest requires immediate legal action. Several time-sensitive matters need an experienced practitioner’s eye before the accused makes a decision.
For example, Florida law states that if an accused criminal is in custody for more than 24 hours, a first appearance must take place for that individual.
At a first appearance, the judge will:
- Inform the defendant of the charges;
- Give the defendant a copy of the complaint;
- Advise the defendant about the right to communicate with counsel, family, and friends;
- Set conditions of release, if any.
This law means the accused may only have 24 hours before going before a judge.
However, the accused can hire an attorney before a first appearance to help make sense of the situation. An attorney can walk the defendant through a copy of the complaint and hear the charges made against the defendant.
Additionally, hiring an attorney can slow down the criminal process, as the court must give the attorney time to show up. As a result, the defendant may have extra time to think about the case and make a plan.
Florida DUI Arraignment
An arraignment is where a judge reads the charges made against the accused. At this point, the defendant must enter a plea.
At an arraignment, a defendant can plea:
- Guilty - Accepting the facts of the case and moving straight to sentencing;
- Not guilty - Denying responsibility for the crime, and the court will set a trial date;
- No contest plea - Not admitting guilt, but not disputing the charges either.
Typically, an arraignment occurs within three days of the defendant’s arrest. Therefore, the accused must determine how he or she is going to plead soon after an arrest.
Florida Review Hearing
Many people accused of DUIs overlook their formal DUI review hearings, which they need to request within ten days of their arrests. During these meetings, the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) reviews the driver’s case to either maintain or revoke a license suspension.
While a driver’s license suspension is a civil matter, a criminal defense attorney can make the case for license reinstatement. If the DMV upholds a suspension, an attorney can help a suspended driver seek a hardship license from the state.
Investigating the Case
It’s essential to hire an attorney early on in the case to give him time to investigate the facts. With proper time, an attorney can look into the details of the incident to determine if officers committed any errors when: making the traffic stop, administering sobriety tests, and placing the accused under arrest.
Police errors are so crucial because one mistake could result in a dismissed case.
Therefore, it’s always a good idea to talk to an attorney early on in the case to give him time proper time to investigate.
Need Experienced Representation?
If you or a loved one is facing DUI charges, time is of the essence; thankfully, Monroe & King is ready to help you today!
The American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys named Monroe & King one of the 10 best law firms for client satisfaction, which means we have a track record of satisfied defendants. If you want award-winning representation, look no further than Monroe & King!
Ready for criminal defense that makes a difference? Call (904) 474-3115 now for a free consultation.