Generally, when a driver is arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in Orange County, he or she will be released from jail the following day. When the DUI suspect is released from custody, they will receive a citation and be scheduled for a future court date.
What happens if for some reason, you do not appear in court? For example, what if you forget all about your court date, or what if you can’t make it because you don’t have a way to get there?
What happens if I miss the court date?
When someone is arrested for DUI, he or she has to sign a notice to appear, acknowledging the fact that they are aware of their future court date, and that they promise to show up in court on the scheduled day and at the scheduled time. This first court date is called the “arraignment.”
Sometimes miss their first court date. Often, this happens when they forget about the date, or when they can’t get off work. Unfortunately though, the court does not see these as valid excuses for missing an arraignment.
Usually, if a DUI suspect misses the arraignment date listed on their citation, what happens is the judge issues a bench warrant for the suspect’s arrest. Once the judge issues the bench warrant, the DUI suspect can be arrested anywhere and at any time.
Let’s say the DUI suspect is pulled over for speeding. The traffic cop runs the driver’s information through the system and finds out that there is a warrant for their arrest. The driver is arrested on the spot and taken to jail.
In this situation, the individual remains in jail until they either: 1) post bail, or 2) are taken to court for their next scheduled court appearance. Often, the driver has no idea that there is a bench warrant for their arrest and doesn’t learn about it until they’re pulled over for a common traffic violation, such as speeding.
When the DUI Court Date is Changed
Sometimes the prosecutor has not yet had the chance to file DUI charges against the suspect by the DUI court date. In that case, the judge does not issue a bench warrant since the DA has not filed criminal charges.
When this happens, the DUI suspect is supposed to receive notice from the DA or the arresting agency, but sometimes the notice is not sent out or the notice is sent to the wrong address. In this scenario, a bench warrant can be issued and the defendant is in the dark about the whole situation.
When a DUI suspect misses the rescheduled court date, not only is a bench warrant issued, but the Department of Motor Vehicles places a hold on the person’s driver’s license, causing the driver to lose their driving privileges. This situations happens to people more often than it should.
If you are facing DUI charges, do NOT ignore your case. If you do, a warrant for your arrest can be issued and your driving privileges suspended. To fight your DUI charges, contact the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc., home of Orange County’s DUI Queen!