DUI hearings are just like any other court hearings. You will have to stand before a judge to answer for the allegations leveled against you unless you intend to plead guilty to the charge levelled against you. Surprisingly, many DUI defendants never seem to be familiar with the court process.
There’s no doubt that most of the people accused of drunk driving end up winning their cases. But such success doesn’t come with a carefree attitude and unpreparedness.
Judges are not going to take it kindly if you walk in dressed like a thug and behave weirdly no matter how strong your evidence is.
Here are some tips on how to prepare for your DUI court hearing:
Hire an experienced DUI lawyer
Drunk driving is a serious offense that can land you into trouble if you don’t present a strong defense before the judges.
In fact, the first thing you should do after being presented with a DUI charge is to retain a lawyer. But it should not be just any lawyer. Hire someone who is qualified and has experience in handling DUI cases.
There is a big difference between hiring a lawyer and representing yourself in court. An experienced lawyer understands how criminal laws work. He or she will look at the evidence presented by the prosecution team and try to counter them with his own facts.
Besides, a lawyer will ensure that all the necessary documents concerning your cases are availed before the hearing commences. He or she will be the one to present your evidence and cross-examine any witnesses from the prosecution’s side.
The way you dress during your DUI court hearing has some significance. Ensure that you dress appropriately from the first to the last hearing. Don’t take anything for granted because from the first day, your dressing and conduct will reflect on the judge’s final decision.
You should try as much as possible to portray a positive image before the court. If you are a man, then put on long pants with a collared shirt. It will even be better to add a coat and a nice tie if you have them. A female should put on a skirt with a nice blouse.
Show up early
Try to arrive in court at least 45 minutes before the hearings begin. This will help avoid delays that may be caused by traffic or anything else.
In case your driver’s license was revoked or suspended after you were arrested, don’t drive yourself but instead, get someone to drive you for the court hearings. This will show that you respect the law and are remorseful for your actions.
Listen to everything your attorney tells you
Your attorney plays a major role in the entire DUI court hearings. As such, you need to work closely with him or her and listen to every advice that you are given.
For example, if your lawyer tells you to say something or stay silent, obey those instructions. Talking back to your attorney or judge will demonstrate your lack of respect to the court – something that can negatively affect the overall outcome of the case.
Discuss your options with your lawyer in advance
Every state has its own DUI punishment and penalties. Some states are lenient on DUI defendants while others are very tough. If this is the first time you are committing an offense, then you could end up serving up to six months in jail together with a fine. But the punishment can even be worse if it is not your first offense.
Fortunately, your attorney already has a clue of how the court will make a ruling on such a case. He or she will give you some recommendations as well as a rough idea of what the judgment will be. Being privy to such information in advance will prepare you psychologically for any type of ruling.