Your WV DUI court dates begin after you are officially charged with driving under the influence. This whole nightmare started when a police officer noticed erratic driving or saw you running a red light or stop sign. The officer pulled you over and began a DUI investigation, something the officer was well-trained to perform.
The investigation started by observing your manner of speech, how your eyes looked, smelling the presence of alcohol or drugs, or seeing an open container or drug paraphernalia in plain sight. The next stage was asking you to blow into a portable breathalyzer and perform field sobriety tests.
If the officer determined that you were driving over the legal BAC limit, you were placed under arrest by the officer at the scene. According to West Virginia DUI law, you were held in custody or released. Bond was set to guarantee your return to court for all future court dates.
DUI Arraignment – First Court Date
Up next in the court process is your arraignment. That’s the part of the case where you will be told of the charges against you by the judge. You also are informed of your rights. Then, you and your lawyer will enter a plea of either guilty or not guilty. In most West Virginia lower county courts, the arraignment takes place during your arrest without an attorney present.
Pretrial Motions Are Filed
Before the trial begins, lawyers for the state and the defense will submit pretrial motions. Some of these motions include pre-trial hearings to suppress evidence, to argue outstanding discovery motions, motions to dismiss and other motions in limine.
At this point in the case, it is very important that you have an experienced WV DUI lawyer working with you. That’s because often before the trial even begins, the state will offer some sort of plea bargain to you. It may include pleading guilty to a lesser charge. Harley Wagner can advise you if the plea bargain is a good idea or not. Sometimes the plea bargain may mean nothing more than probation, and it makes more sense to take it. While other times, it is more beneficial to go ahead with the trial itself. You need a lawyer with experience with West Virginia DUI law who will help you make this very important decision.
What If My DUI Case Goes to Trial?
So if you do end up going to trial, what does that mean? If you do end up choosing to go to trial, next will be jury selection. This is when attorneys from both sides will question potential jurors to build a jury of your peers. The process of questioning the jury is called “voir dire.” Oftentimes an attorney will choose to dismiss a potential juror for a myriad of reasons. Once the entire jury is selected, your trial begins.
Once your jury is seated, lawyers for both sides deliver opening statements to the jury. The state goes first, followed by the defense. Having the burden of proof, the prosecution then calls its witnesses. Your lawyer can choose to cross-examine all of the state’s witnesses. Then the defense presents its case, followed by a prosecution rebuttal case. Each side then gets the chance to give a closing argument.
Final Verdict in a DUI Trial
After the evidence portion of the case is over and closing arguments have been delivered, the judge will instruct the jury and deliberations begin. The jurors go into a private room where discuss the evidence in the case. Once a decision has been made, the jury will deliver its verdict where you will be pronounced guilty or not guilty. A judge will then decide on a punishment if you are convicted of a WV DUI.
Being scared is natural after a WV DUI arrest. You may be nervous about what comes next. You may be wondering if it is even worth going to trial. Before you give up and plead guilty, find out what kind of defense you have in your WV DUI case. Talk to WV DUI lawyer Harley Wagner today. Don’t give up before you find out how he can help you get justice in your case.
It’s important long before you end up facing a trial for a WV DUI that you get a qualified, skilled lawyer working for you. Don’t make the mistake of hiring a general practice attorney who doesn’t have experience with DUI cases. The Wagner Law Firm is the only one in the entire state of West Virginia that is completely dedicated to fighting DUI cases.
Take advantage of Harley Wagner’s years of experience and knowledge in the handling of DUI cases. It could make the difference in your case. Meet with him for a free consultation right away.