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DUI preliminary hearings: what one needs to know

If one has been arrested and charged with a DUI in New York, one will have to decide whether to plead guilty or not guilty to the charges against during arraignment. If one pleads guilty, the judge will likely sentence at the arraignment, as it is the last time in court. But, many people accused of DUI's decide to plead not guilty to the charges against them and work with their defense attorneys to come up with evidence to show why they should not be convicted. Generally, once one pleads not guilty, they will be required to attend a preliminary hearing. 

Many attorneys will say that the preliminary hearing following a DUI arrest is one of the most critical parts of the DUI court process. During a preliminary hearing, the judge will determine whether there is enough evidence to proceed to a trial. The judge will allow the prosecutor to present physical evidence, such as police reports, Breathalyzer results and other indicators that establish that one was driving under the influence. The prosecutor will also likely ask witnesses, such as the police officer to testify.

One may present evidence that the Breathalyzer testing device used to measure blood alcohol content was not properly calibrated, which therefore invalidates the Breathalyzer results. In many cases, the judge will determine that the prosecutor does not have enough evidence to go to trial.

However, the judge may find that the prosecution's evidence is strong enough to warrant a trial, and a trial date will be set. Remember that one may consult with a criminal defense attorney immediately after arrest to make sure one has someone on their side throughout the DUI court process.

Source: FindLaw.com, "DUI Preliminary Hearing," accessed on April 16, 2018

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