Pre-Trial Conferences in DUI Cases

Lawyer Defending Phoenix Residents Accused of Drunk Driving Offenses

It is wise to have representation during pre-trial conferences in DUI cases. Sometimes people assume that a DUI case is an administrative matter, and don't quite realize that it is a criminal matter for which they should ideally seek legal representation. If you've been arrested for a drunk driving offense, experienced Phoenix DUI attorney James E. Novak can help. Mr. Novak is a former prosecutor who now puts his prosecutorial insights to work providing strong and strategic defenses to those facing criminal charges.

What Happens Before Pre-Trial Conferences in DUI Cases

There are several stages of a drunk driving case, and a few of these occur before the pretrial conference. What happens during these other stages can be crucial to your defense, so it is important to pay attention as best you can before you retain counsel. Usually, police officers stop drivers based on the reasonable suspicion that they were driving under the influence or that they committed another criminal violation. Once the car is stopped, the police officer may ask questions, conduct field sobriety tests, or administer a chemical test, and only if these provide probable cause for the officer to think you were driving under the influence is the officer supposed to arrest you. Sometimes the actions of the police can provide a basis to challenge evidence with a motion to suppress during a pretrial conference.

What Happens at Pre-trial Conferences in DUI Cases?

A pretrial conference is a meeting between you and the prosecutor and the court, and it's best to be represented by counsel. Sometimes, as with felony DUI cases, there are multiple pretrial conferences; they may be held every 30 days. During a conference, the judge will make sure that discovery items such as police reports or surveillance tapes or breath test results have been provided by the state prosecutor to your defense lawyer. The court will review the status of all items that your attorney will need to prepare a defense. During these conferences, the attorneys can discuss the facts and any legal arguments about the case. If there are issues related to discovery, these can potentially be resolved.

Negotiating a Plea During a Pretrial Conference

The attorneys can try to negotiate a plea deal in a pretrial conference. They may, in fact, make multiple efforts to negotiate a plea. You should be aware that the prosecutor isn't required to offer you a plea deal. However, your defense lawyer is required to talk to you about a deal that's offered, and the pros and cons of that deal. It will be your choice to reject or accept a plea. Plea deals you may be offered in a pretrial conference in exchange for a guilty plea include a lesser charge, a lesser punishment for the same charge, alternative sentencing, or a drop in the number of counts with which you're charged.

Motions During a Pretrial Conference

Sometimes motions are filed during a pretrial conference such as motions to dismiss, motions to compel depositions, motions to suppress, and motions to compel documents to be released by the police. For example, if you were pulled over by an officer who didn't have a reasonable suspicion of criminal wrongdoing, it may be appropriate to file a motion to suppress evidence gathered during the stop. You may not have to personally appear at a pretrial conference if you have counsel. Once a plea agreement has been proposed, your defense attorney should sit down with you to discuss your options.

Aggressive DUI Defense Attorney Serving the Phoenix Area

If you are concerned about a pretrial conference in a DUI case in Arizona, we are available to answer your questions. You have a better chance of not incriminating yourself and securing a plea deal or successfully bringing motions that can help your defense if you are represented by a seasoned criminal defense lawyer. Contact James E. Novak, a former prosecutor who aggressively defends people charged with drunk driving throughout the Phoenix area including Mesa, Chandler, Scottsdale, Gilbert, and Maricopa County. Contact him at (480) 413-1499 or via our online form.

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