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Do You Need an Attorney for a DWI Arraignment?

Updated: Feb 14, 2023 @ 7:21 pm

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Few people understand how important it is to hire an experienced DWI lawyer as soon as they are arrested. Although you might think you have a few weeks to get everything lined up, the reality is that important things happen at your arraignment that a seasoned legal advocate can help with. If you call Tad Nelson & Associates, we can have an experienced DWI lawyer standing beside you in court, defending your rights. Contact us today to get started.

What is the Arraignment & Why Is it Important?

Essentially, the arraignment is where the court will read the charges against you filed by the District Attorney. In most cases, this is the first time following your arrest that you will see a courtroom.

At the arraignment, the judge will ask you if you want a lawyer. If you don’t have funds, the judge will ask if you want a public defender appointed.

You can also enter a plea at the arraignment: Guilty, Not Guilty, or No Contest. At the end of the arraignment, your case usually gets continued for a couple weeks.

The arraignment is important because it is your first chance to make a good appearance on the judge. But more significantly, a judge can order reasonable bail at the arraignment. But judges have discretion, and they might set an amount that is much too high. If you have an attorney, they can immediately request a reduction in bail or possibly even a release on your own recognizance. Without an attorney, you will be left to make your own arguments—or you need to wait until your next appearance to request bail.

How Else Can a Lawyer Help?

Having an experienced legal advocate by your side can make a big difference, even at the arraignment. For example, a lawyer can remind you not to say anything extraneous at the arraignment. Remember, all statements you make could show up again later if you are brought to trial, and you don’t want to accidentally admit guilt.

An attorney can also ask that the judge drop the charges, where appropriate. Although you could also make that request, an experienced attorney can make a more compelling argument.

Some people make the mistake of thinking all DWI cases are routine—a predictable bail schedule, for example. And this is sometimes true. But judges have total discretion over what happens at arraignment, including the bail they set. It helps to have a lawyer who has appeared many times before the judge.

Call Our Law Firm Today

No two DWI cases are ever the same.

Each case has its unique set of facts. At Tad Nelson & Associates, we do our best work when you get to learn about you and the circumstances surrounding your arrest. We can fight for your release as you await trial, and can attend the arraignment so you are not standing before the judge all alone. To learn if we can help, contact us as soon as possible after an arrest.

Houston DWI Lawyer Tad A Nelson is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the TBLS.

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