DUI cases fall under the criminal court case category. There are two types of cases seen and they are misdemeanor and felony. Misdemeanor DUI cases are tried by a magistrate judge and if jail time is sentenced it is generally served in county jail. If you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor DUI, you should contact a Boise attorney that does DUI cases right away.
What Happens After Being Charged with a Misdemeanor DUI?
After you are charged with a misdemeanor DUI offense in the state of Idaho, you will receive a summons that includes the information about what you are being charged with and when you need to appear for your court appearance.
You will be given a form when you arrive at the courthouse prior to your case that explains your legal rights. When you are called for your case the judge will ask you if you understood the rights form. If you do not understand what you read, advise the judge of this and they will explain it further to you.
In misdemeanor cases, the first appearance and the arraignment are held at the same time. If you have not obtained legal counsel at this point and you want to, you can request a continuance so that you can obtain counsel.
The first appearance and arraignment are also where the judge explains the charges brought against you and asks for your plea.
If your plea is “guilty” it means that you acknowledge the charges against you of being true and that you are at fault.
By entering the guilty plea, you are also waiving your right to having a trial and sentencing can either occur right then or the judge can set a hearing for the sentencing. Other facts about pleading guilty in a DUI case in the state of Idaho:
The judge’s sentence must be within the minimum or the maximum as stated in state law statutes. This also starts the clock on payments being due for fines, jail time, license suspension, restitution, and community service.
Subsequent hearings may be scheduled depending on the terms of the sentencing or terms of release after jail time is served.
Not Guilty Plea
If your plea is “not guilty”, the judge will then ask if you want to have a court trial or a jury trial. If you have not obtained legal counsel at this point and do not want to proceed until you have spoken to a lawyer, the judge can postpone and reschedule your initial appearance.
Court Trial-A court trial is when the judge hears your case and all of your evidence and determines your guilt. The judge will not listen to your evidence and determine guilt at the initial appearance. A court trial typically only takes an hour from start to finish.
Jury Trial- A jury trial consists of 6 members of the community who will hear the evidence in your case and determine your guilt. A jury trial can typically take all day long.
If you are found guilty in either situation, it is the judge who will execute your sentence.
Pretrial Conference- If you requested a jury trial, your pretrial conference will be scheduled for up to a month before the trial date.
If you requested a court trial, the pretrial conference will be directly prior to the court trial.
If you do choose to go through with a trial, make sure that you hire an experienced Idaho DUI lawyer to assist you with your case.
Failure to Appear
If you do not show up to your initial appearance, it is possible that you will be charged with an additional misdemeanor for failure to appear. If you are charged with this the jail time can be up to 6 months in jail and accompanied by fines and court costs. It is likely that the court will also issue a warrant for your arrest.
If you do not show up to any hearings after the initial appearance, the court will issue a warrant for your arrest. If you cannot justify your reasons for being in contempt of court, the court will find you guilty which is punishable by jail time and fines.
It is just good practice in life that if you can’t make an appointment, you call and ask for it to be rescheduled. If something comes up and you need your court date moved, contacting your attorney or the court and providing them with an acceptable reason may get the date moved.
You Can Appeal a Misdemeanor DUI Charge
If you do not agree with the judgment that has been issued against you, it is within your right to file an appeal. You and your attorney as well as the prosecuting attorney have the ability to file an appeal with a district court up to 42 days after the initial judgment has been entered.
Even though the state of Idaho has made the procedure for misdemeanor cases simple enough for someone to defend themselves without legal counsel, it is not a good idea to do so. If you truly want to find out the options in your case, contact a Boise law office that does DUI cases.