Initial Appearance in Hampton Roads DUI Court

The vast majority of initial appearances in Hampton Roads will take place in the General District Court. In certain circumstances, if a person’s DUI has been indirectly indicted to the Circuit Court, an initial appearance in Hampton Roads DUI court may go to circuit court.

Speaking with an experienced driving under the influence attorney about the charges against you. Lawyers can help you prepare a strong defense by seeking out beneficial witnesses and evidence for your case.

What are Arraignments?

There are many different names for a first appearance depending on the jurisdiction. Some places call it the first appearance, others use arraignment or advisement date. All of these terms generally mean the same thing. What happens is that a person comes to court, the court tells them they have been charged with a crime, and they will receive a court date.

They do not have to make a statement and often do not have to enter a plea at the initial appearance in Hampton Roads DUI court. The court will also ask what the person plans to do about hiring a lawyer. The three options they have are they can either ask for a court-appointed attorney, waive their rights to an attorney, or they can elect to hire their own attorney.

When Do Initial Appearances Occur?

In state courts, they usually happen very soon after the initial incident. If a person is released and is able to make bond, this appearance will usually happen with one or two weeks of the arrest. In some places, it can even be a day or two in certain places. As long as someone is given time to communicate with their lawyer they will be ready to appear.

In federal court, their initial appearance tends to be several weeks down the line. This is beneficial and gives a person plenty of time to contact a lawyer. Often times lawyers can even communicate beforehand to reach a resolution of the case.

The person is given a court date and their attorney status will be determined. In some circumstances, they may want to enter a plea if they are going to plead guilty or not guilty. If they know the person is guilty it can maybe be resolved that day. That happens more in federal court. Most state courts will not be in a position to take a guilty plea at that time until there will be separate trial at a later date.

Parties That Commonly Attend an Initial Court Appearance

The parties at an initial appearance in Hampton Roads DUI court include the judge, the defendant, and if necessary the defendant’s attorney will be there if they have an attorney. Many times for an initial appearance the attorney will have a scheduling conflict because the appearance is so close to when the incident occurred. However, since the purpose of the initial appearance is basically acknowledging the defendant having a lawyer, it is not a necessity to have a lawyer present.

Usually, somebody from the Commonwealth attorney’s office is there to acknowledge the defendant’s choice of attorney, not necessarily the person who will be prosecuting the case. The officer more than likely will not be in court for the initial arraignment or initial appearance unless it happens to be their court date, or there are some other special circumstances that require the presence of the officer.

Understanding the Role of a Judge

The role of the judge at an initial appearance in Hampton Roads DUI court is to get the person’s decision as to whether or not they want an attorney and to set the individual’s trial date. They do not usually hear any facts of the case at this stage. Depending on the jurisdiction, some judges may require the person to enter a plea at this stage.

In many jurisdictions, they have multiple judges that rotate their judges to that courtroom. In most places, the judge someone may see at an initial appearance is not the judge that will be tied to the case moving forward.

Defining Arraignment Bond Schedules

For Most DUIs, a person is going to be given an unsecured bond or they will be released on their own recognizance. In some circumstances depending on the facts of the case or someone’s criminal history, they may be given a secured bond or be held without bond. If a person is being held in custody at their initial appearance in Hampton Roads DUI court, they may be able to get a bond.

That is up to the discretion of the judge and it will vary throughout jurisdictions. Some judges are willing to consider bond status at an initial appearance and others will require that notice be given to the Commonwealth before making any changes to bond.

Usually, if the judge is not able to hear their bond that date, they will set a bond hearing if someone requests one. They will try to set it as soon as possible because they understand that they are being held in custody and that is something that has to be expedited.