Pre-Indictment Process in DUI Cases

Drunk Driving Attorney Advocating for Residents of the Phoenix Area

It can be unnerving to be stopped for a DUI in Arizona. Often, a first DUI is charged as a misdemeanor, but later DUIs or DUIs in which there were injuries or a death may result in felony charges. If you are going through or about to go through the pre-indictment process in a DUI case, you should consult Phoenix DUI lawyer James E. Novak. He is a former prosecutor who has turned into a tough, aggressive criminal defense attorney. You may not be sure about the options that you have, and it is crucial to talk with someone who understands the process and who may be able to represent you.

Understanding the Pre-Indictment Process in DUI Cases

DUI arrests can later turn into misdemeanor or felony DUI charges. A patrol officer may interview you along with other witnesses and create a report. Photographs may be taken of the scene if the DUI is associated with an accident that caused injuries or death.

Assuming that you are lucid during the arrest, it is important to pay attention to what the arresting officer does and says throughout the process. Sometimes an officer does not have a reasonable suspicion of criminal wrongdoing for the purpose of pulling you over. In that case, it may be possible to later suppress evidence obtained during the stop. Under other circumstances, an officer's failure to give Miranda warnings during or after an arrest can be a basis to suppress statements or confessions.

Once the arrest occurs, you will be booked. This means that you will be taken to a station and asked questions. You will be searched, fingerprinted, and photographed. Sometimes a prosecutor believes that the police officer's report does not give enough proof to warrant filing criminal charges. In that case, a further investigation is conducted after a DUI arrest, but prior to an indictment or charges being filed. The investigation may uncover evidence to support felony DUI charges, or it may not lead anywhere.

Among the events that occur in a post-arrest investigation, there is a review of the Department of Motor Vehicles Records to look into whether you have prior convictions or a suspended license. Sometimes police officers get records from other courts (even courts in other states) that show a prior DUI conviction or repeat convictions.

A prosecutor may file a complaint directly to the court or may pursue a grand jury indictment for felony charges if the prosecutor believes that there is sufficient proof to convict you. You should retain an attorney as early in the process as possible. The earlier that we get involved, the more likely it is that we will be able to help you.

A prosecution might formally charge you by presenting proof to a grand jury. This may be instead of filing a direct complaint, or it may be in addition to filing a direct complaint. The grand jury includes nine citizens chosen arbitrarily. The prosecutor will let the grand jury know that they believe that there was a crime (a DUI) and that you should stand trial for it. If the grand jurors agree and believe not only that a crime probably happened, but also that you were the probable perpetrator of the crime, they will issue an indictment or true bill. However, a grand jury might also look at the evidence and issue different charges than what the prosecutor recommends. Or it might decide that there is not enough evidence to support any charges. The prosecutor will file the indictment, which needs to include the date, location, and charges related to the crime.

The next step after the indictment is an initial appearance, at which bail may be set.

Consult a DUI Defense Lawyer in Phoenix or Surrounding Communities

If you have been arrested for a DUI in Arizona, you should retain a criminal attorney during the pre-indictment process in the DUI case. James E. Novak is a former prosecutor who now provides skillful and thorough defenses to people throughout the Phoenix area, including in Tempe, Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert, Scottsdale, and other areas of Maricopa County. Contact James Novak at (480) 413-1499 or via our online form.

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