Charged with DWI? 5 Things You Should Do Before Your First Court Appearance
DWI cases are all a bit different so this advice is given generally and is likely most applicable to a first time DWI charge. If you are charged with DWI, and you’re worried about your first court appearance, don’t be. The first appearance in a DWI case is called an arraignment.
There are 5 things you should know before going in to your arraignment in a DWI case:
1. Dress your best
The nicer your appearance, the more the judge feels you respect him or her. Remember Judges are human too, and Judges have the ability to make some pretty subjective decisions that will affect your ability to drive and your life. The more you make the Judge feel respected, by your clothes and your speech, the more likely the Judge will treat you with some respect, and the reverse is usually true.
2. Bring a Ride
New York imposes what’s called a “suspension pending prosecution” in DWI cases. This means your New York license will likely be suspended at your first appearance. Unless your lawyer has told you, the judge will not suspend your license, you should have a ride with you. The court may suspend your license while your case is being heard.
3. Submit an Application for a Hardship Privilege
If you need to drive to and from work, like most people do, prior to the arraignment, make sure your lawyer has submitted an “Application for a Hardship Privilege” to the Court. If granted this will allow you to drive to and from work and necessary medical treatment while your license is “suspended pending prosecution”. Usually the hardship privilege is granted without a formal “Hardship Hearing”, but make sure your lawyer has prepared an application for a hardship privilege before you go to Court, or you might not be driving to work the next day. This “hardship privilege”, pursuant to New York Vehicle and Traffic Law 1193(2)(e)(7)(e), can be generally obtained if your lawyer can can show the court that the “suspension pending prosecution” will result in “Extreme Hardship” (there is no other available means of travel) to your place of employment or necessary medical treatment.
4. Bring Some Proof
If valid proof exists to suggest your BAC was below a .08 at the time of driving, or you weren’t operating a motor vehicle at all, your lawyer may be able to request a “Pringle Hearing” and keep your license from getting suspended.
5. Make Sure You Have a DWI Lawyer
Prior to your arraignment call your lawyer and ask questions about the matters raised above. If they are unfamiliar with some, or any of the legal matters mentioned above, you may want to find a DWI lawyer more competent to represent you. A number of time intervals begin at the first Court appearance (arraignment), so if you’re unsure about the competence of your lawyer, after seeing them in court at your arraignment, be sure to do something immediately. Call your lawyer and ask about the things you were unsure of or didn’t understand. Not having a competent lawyer can affect the rest of your life, even with the simplest DWI case.
The exclusive purpose of this article is educational, and it is not intended as either legal advice or a general solution to any specific legal problem.