People may know generally what happens in field sobriety tests after getting pulled over for DWI. But what happens after a DWI arrest? In Missouri, there are several steps that occur after being arrested for drunk driving.
If someone is found to have a BAC or blood alcohol content reading of .08% or more, they will be charged with drunk driving. This is the law and for every state for anyone 21 or older. It is important to note that anyone under 21 with a BAC of any amount will be charged with DUI.
Several steps follow a DWI arrest
- Booking and release -- After the arrest, the person charged is taken to the police station and fingerprinted and photographed. Bail may be set based on the defendant's past record of arrests and the new charges presented. Sometimes a person is released without having to post bail.
- Arraignment -- This is the first court appearance someone makes after being charged. A judge asks the person to enter a plea. If a not guilty plea is entered then a future court date is set. However, if someone pleads guilty, then the judge decides the sentence at that time.
- Preliminary or initial hearing -- This hearing is where the court decides if it will proceed in the case against the defendant if there is sufficient evidence.
- Trial by jury -- The jury is selected with input from the defendant's lawyer and from the prosecutor in the case. Once the jury is agreed upon, the lawyers present opening arguments, witnesses may be called, closing statements are given, then the jury will meet to decide if the defendant is guilty based on the evidence or not.
- Judge passes sentencing -- If the jury concludes that the defendant is guilty, the judge will decide on the punishment.
- Appeals process -- The defendant will hire an appeals lawyer to take the case on to an appellate court.
The process of appealing a DWI conviction can be lengthy. Anyone wishing to pursue an appeal in one of these cases should hire an experienced DWI attorney.