The legal process for a DUI case depends on its severity and whether the prosecutor is willing to reach a plea bargain with the defendant. In some cases, the defendant may have a preliminary hearing in court. This is almost like a mini-trial in which the prosecutor must demonstrate to the judge that there is enough evidence to proceed to a full trial.
The first thing to know is that not every DUI case will have a preliminary hearing. In fact, most of them will result in a plea deal right after the arraignment. In many instances, preliminary hearings are reserved for cases such as felonies. However, for cases that do have this type of hearing, the prosecutor will need to put on much of their evidence to show the judge that there is a basis for the charges.
This may even require that witnesses be called and examined in court. At the conclusion of this hearing, the court determines whether the evidence is sufficient to support the charges. Note that the prosecutors do not need to prove the defendant’s guilt in the same way as they would at a trial. The standard that must be met at a preliminary hearing is lower than the one at trial. Nonetheless, the judge will dismiss the case if the charges seem flimsy or not supported by the weight of the evidence.
After a DUI arrest, it is important to call a DUI attorney immediately. These types of cases unfold much more quickly than the average criminal case, and legal representation is a must at the early stages of the process. The attorney may handle the negotiations with the state about a possible deal. If the case goes further, the attorney could represent their client all the way through a trial and possible appeal.