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DUI Legal Process in Kentucky

The DUI process will begin with an arrest. Once a lawful arrest has been made the driver will be booked. The booking process includes fingerprinting, photographs, and a search. Once this is done the accused may post bond, if it is given. If the person is released he/she will be given a date which will be the first court appearance. This appearance is called an arraignment. At the arraignment the judge will read the charges against the defendant who will enter a plea. If the defendant is still in custody bail may be discussed at the arraignment as well. Also, at the arraignment the defendant will be asked to turn over his/her driver’s license. If the defendant has pled guilty the judge will likely impose a sentence at arraignment as well. However, if the defendant pleads not guilty or no contest a date will be set for trial.

All appearances made before the court prior to the date set for trial are preliminary or motion hearings. These hearings can be used for different reasons. One of those reasons is to update the judge on the progress being made in the case. And the other reason is to discuss motions made by either side. These motions typically involve discovery and the suppression of evidence. A hearing involving evidentiary matters will likely include testimony from officers and the defendant’s presence is almost always mandatory. At the conclusion of these hearings the judge will make a ruling on the matter. In the evidentiary sense, when the judge rules to suppress something it will no longer be admissible in court.

All preliminary or motion hearings will be held prior to trial. At trial there will be one of two fact finders, either the judge or a jury. A jury panel usually consists of twelve or more people who are completely impartial people. The fact finder will only decide issues of fact; it is up to the judge to decide all issues of law. This means during a bench trial, when the judge is fact finder, the judge must take both roles. At trial the state has the burden of proving every element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. Once the trial is over a sentence will be imposed if the defendant is found guilty, or the defendant will be released when he/she is found not guilty.

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