If you have been charged with DWI / DUI in Arlington, Virginia, you may have been surprised at how fast you had to appear in Court for your arraignment. Usually, the Court will set this first appearance within 2 weeks of the initial offense – many times almost exactly 7 days after you were arrested. If you were released from jail, your first appearance will be at 2 pm. This first appearance is an arraignment.
Many people ask me how they should plead at their Arraignment in Arlington, Virginia. People are often shocked when I tell them that the judge is not going to ask for a plea at their arraignment. Two significant things happen at this hearing: (1) the judge will advise you that if convicted of the charge of DUI / DWI, you will be facing a potential jail sentence; and (2) he or she will advise you of your right to counsel. If you think you can not afford your own lawyer, the judge will have you fill out paperwork to see if you qualify for court appointed counsel. Finally, the judge will set your trial date at the conclusion of that hearing. This date is normally within 45 – 60 days.
Individuals who retain counsel prior to the hearing can, and most times will, have that hearing waived. Because you have exercised your right counsel already, the lawyer can submit the appropriate documents to waive the arraignment and set the case directly for trial. After that, the lawyer will work on getting discovery and preparing the case for trial.