A DWI is usually a more serious charge than a DUI. This means that you are driving with a BAC over the legal limit. If you are over the age of 21, it means you have a BAC level of 0.08. This can also refer to a situation where you drive with the influence of prescription medications.
It can even be driving if you are excessively tired. If you are found guilty on your DWI charges the sentencing proceeds immediately. This can include license suspensions, jail time or fines.
Furthermore, there may be more severe penalties if you are a repeat offender or if there is a specific type of DWI offense. The court must comply with the minimum sentencing for the state but the judge has the discretion to determine an appropriate penalty.
If you are found guilty you have 20 days to appeal your case to the county Superior Court. The superior court will decide based on a review of the trial record alone and no new evidence of testimony is heard.
At this point, there is post-conviction relief in order to challenge old DWI convictions after you have been arrested for a second or third offense. Unfortunately, the procedure can’t be used in the DWI case that you are currently in but you can seek post-conviction relief if you are arrested again.
However, the grounds for post-conviction is narrow. The ticket for the DWI complaint is a Summons and Complaint and includes the location, date and time of the first court appearance. It is best to hire an attorney to handle the matter.
You should attend the proceeding otherwise the court can issue a warrant for your arrest and suspend your driver’s license. At this point, the judge will recite the charges against you and if you plead not guilty the court will adjourn the case and schedule a date for further proceedings.
After this process (arraignment), pre-trial discovery begins and the attorney can request copies of papers or other relevant evidence held such as police reports, video recordings or data from breathalyzer tests.
One month after the arrest, a pre-trial conference is held and you will be asked if you want to continue to trial or if you want to enter a plea and the court will frequently schedule another pre-trial conference.
Before the trial starts, the attorney may make specific motions to compel discovery, exclude evidence or dismiss the case. The motions can frequently help you in your case and may be premised on violations that occurred during your arrest.
For DWI cases, many states have prohibited plea bargaining but some prosecutors will have the discretion to reduce or dismiss the charges. If the case isn’t resolved through the motions or pleas it will be scheduled for trial in a municipal court and the DWI case will usually be heard 60-120 days after the arrest. Sentencing will proceed soon afterward if you are found guilty and you will have 20 days to appeal your case.
If you have a DWI charge, Smith Ammons Law can help.