If it’s your first time in a courtroom, remember that you’re not alone. Court is an unfamiliar place for many people who receive their first DUI, DWI, OUI or OWI, but it can also be the place where you successfully defend case. It’s important to know what to expect when your court date arrives — the last thing you want on your court date is a surprise. There are usually several proceedings following a suspected DUI arrest: an arraignment, a preliminary hearing and the trial. Here’s what to expect at each stage.


An arraignment is a pre-trial proceeding that’s also referred to as an initial court appearance. An arraignment occurs in a lower court where you, the defendant, will hear the charges brought against you, along with the criminal sentence if you are convicted. You will submit a plea of guilty or not guilty at your arraignment. If you submit a guilty plea, the judge may set a sentencing date, and this will be your final day in court. If you plead not guilty, a court date will be established. It is advised that you hire a private or state-appointed attorney if you wish to proceed to a hearing or trial, as they have the expertise to defend your case. If you plan on fighting your charges, you may need to post bail.

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