When arrested for a DUI or any other criminal case, it can be stressful. Sometimes a person is given their arraignment date at the time they make bond. Others are notified by mail. In either situation, it can be stressful. We are here to help you. If you or a loved one has been arrested or has an arraignment approaching, contact our office today. We are here to assist no matter what the charges are!
The short answer is an arraignment is a hearing that starts the criminal prosecution of your case. In some of our courts, such as in Atlanta Municipal Court, your arraignment may be days after your arrest. In other parts of Georgia, your arraignment may be weeks or months later. No matter the date of your arraignment, you need to make sure you are prepared!
The statute of limitations in Georgia for all misdemeanor offenses is two years. In most felony cases, the statute of limitations is four years. To clear up a frequently asked question, a formal accusation or indictment must be filed within the statute of limitation. Some callers incorrectly believe that the arraignment must be scheduled within those time periods.
Arraignment is Very Important in DUI Cases and Drug Cases
While arraignment is important in every criminal case, it is especially important in DUI cases and in drug cases. The reason it is important is that all motions must be filed within 10 days of a person's arraignment. Your entire defense could come down to the filing and arguing of the correct motions. Any motions you have not presented at arraignment (or within 10 days) will be deemed to be waived. That is one of the reasons why you should hire an attorney before arraignment.
Motions in DUI and cases include requests for evidence, police reports, toxicology reports, witness statements, the statements of the accused, and a copy of any video. Motions also are used to challenge the reason a person was stopped (reasonable articulable suspicion), the probable cause to make an arrest, the admissibility of key evidence such as an intoxilyzer reports, and the results of field sobriety tests.
Motions in drug cases can also include the discovery motions mentioned above. In addition, most drug motions involve challenging an illegal search of a person's home or automobile and the illegal seizure of alleged contraband.
When someone waives their right to file appropriate motions, he or she may considerably limit his or her potential defenses. Once waived, the state may be able to use improperly gathered evidence against you at trial.
Can I Waive Arraignment?
Many clients ask about waiving arraignment. Some are concerned that if they miss court they will violate the terms of their bond. It is an understandable concern.
Waiving arraignment does not mean that you give up any rights. While it may sound complicated, it means that your attorney will file all of the appropriate motions before your court date. Once filed, you will be excused until the next court date.
Your Georgia DUI Lawyer will also enter a “not guilty” plea, in writing, on your behalf.
Do I Need a Georgia DUI Attorney for Arraignment?
As previously stated, you must file all of your motions before or at arraignment. A DUI Lawyer can help you understand what motions need to be filed in your case and file them for you. While you can file motions without an attorney, any mistake will be held against you.
The law is not designed for self-service. A skilled Georgia DUI Defense Attorney will make sure you never lose any of your rights. If you wait until the last minute, you will not get the lawyer of your choice.