What Happens if I Choose not to Appear for my Los Angeles DUI Arraignment

  • September 1, 2017

    When you are arrested and charged with a DUI in Los Angeles, you go through a process called arraignment. It’s a court appearance in which you, the defendant, appear to hear what the judge has to say about the case. You hear what charges you’ve been arrested for, what the police have to say, and you find out what happens next in your case. You are also provided with something called a criminal complaint, which an officer filed against you when you were arrested for driving under the influence. During this time, the court also provides you with something called a discovery packet. You are provided with several legal obligations, dates, and information at this quick hearing.

    If you’re arrested and charged with a DUI, you might assume the most important thing you can do is show up for any and all court appearances, but California law is a little bit lenient with this. Before you make the decision to stay home rather than attending your arraignment, however, know that not everyone is permitted to skip this appearance. Here’s what you need to know about your arraignment so you can determine if you must be there or not.

    Your Attorney Can Appear on Your Behalf

    If you hire an attorney, you might not need to appear at this hearing. The law states your attorney may appear on your behalf, take the information meant for you, and share it with you. This means you can stay home, go to work, care for your kids, or do whatever you must do that’s preventing you from showing up at your own arraignment.

    If you do not hire an attorney, you must show up for the arraignment. No one else may show up on your behalf unless they are your attorney. Failing to appear or send an attorney for you is grounds for a bench warrant. It’s immediately issued in your name, which means you are now a wanted criminal and the police may arrest you on the spot for no other reason than you have a warrant out for your arrest.

    Misdemeanor vs. Felony DUI Charges

    The only time your attorney cannot appear for you at your arraignment is if your charges are felony charges. A Felony DUI arrest means you must show up in person for your own arraignment even if your attorney is present. Felony charges are much more serious than misdemeanor charges. If you are arrested for a misdemeanor DUI, you were arrested on the following grounds:

    – You have not been arrested for a DUI in the past
    – You did not cause an accident while driving under the influence
    – You did not harm or injure anyone while driving under the influence

    If you are arrested and charged with a felony DUI, it’s because of one or more of the following reasons.

    – You have been arrested and charged with a prior DUI
    – You caused an accident while you were under the influence
    – You injured someone personally or you damaged their property while you were driving under the influence

    If you are a felony DUI arrest recipient, you must appear at your arraignment in person with or without your attorney. If you are arrested for a felony DUI, you want to call an attorney. You want to call one no matter what kind of DUI arrest you’re charged with, but this is when it’s especially important. The potential consequences you face if convicted are far more serious.

    If you are convicted of a misdemeanor DUI, you face a short stint in jail, fines, and even suspension of your license for several months up to a year or two. If you face felony DUI charges, you face prison time, more fines, and you might even lose your license for good. You must have an attorney on your side if these are the type of charges filed against you. They can affect the rest of your life, your ability to work, and even your ability to care for your family. Let an attorney help you with your DUI case. You are legally entitled to legal representation, and you should take advantage of that legal right.

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