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DUI (DWI) Legal Process in New York

When arrested for DWI in the state of New York, you will be taken into police custody. At this time you will go through the booking process, where you will be finger printed, have a photograph taken and may also receive a bail. If you are released through bail a notice will be given to you on when you are to appear in court to face your charges.

During your initial court appearance – the arraignment – you will be asked to enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest after a reading off of your charges. This is also the time where the court will appoint a lawyer to your case if you do not have or cannot afford one, if you wish.  The first court appearance following an arrest for DUI in New York is called the arraignment.  Your license will be revoked and taken away.

In New York DWI cases, court appearances prior to trial are called preliminary hearings. These hearings are an opportunity for both sides to go before the judge and update her on the status of the case. Preliminary hearings may deal with issues such as scheduling and discovery. They also serve as valuable face time with the prosecutor to help negotiate pleas.

Motion hearings are hearings requested by the defense to deal with issues that must be resolved prior to trial. The most common motion hearing involves the issue of evidence suppression.  At motion hearings, testimony by officers or experts may be heard.

The two types of trials for New York DWI cases are: Jury trials and Bench trials. A jury trial will consist of six jurors who will determine the factual questions, while the judge rules on issues regarding law. In a bench trial, the judge will act in the dual role of judge and the jury. Bench trials are usually more desirable if there are complex legal issues that a jury would be hard pressed to resolve. However, the defendant has the choice of which trial she would like to peruse.

The burden of proof is on the prosecution to prove all elements of the DWI beyond a reasonable doubt. At this point, expert witnesses can be brought in by either side to prove points. After a decision has been reached, a sentence will be imposed or the charges will be dismissed. If found guilty on charges of DWI, a timely appeal may be filed to show why the trial court erred in its decision.

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