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Grand Rapids DUI Case Process

If you have recently been arrested for driving under the influence, you need an experienced defense attorney who is familiar with the Michigan DUI process and trials. A Grand Rapids DUI attorney can aggressively fight your drunk-driving charges and may help you avoid a Michigan DUI conviction.

Initial Traffic Stop and Arrest

The first step in the Michigan DUI process is the initial traffic stop. A police officer may stop you because he or she believed that your driving was erratic or dangerous and that you were impaired by alcohol or other substances. During the stop, the officer will try to collect DUI evidence. Decline to answer any questions until you have had the chance to speak with an attorney.

If the officer believes there is probable cause to arrest you for DUI, you will be taken to the police station for booking and a breathalyzer test. During this time, you will be fingerprinted and have your mug shot taken. Once you are processed, you must stay in jail until the following day, at which time you may be released or arraigned.

At the arraignment, the judge will read a list of the drunk-driving charges against you and ask how you plead. You have the option to build guilty, not guilty, or no contest. After you enter a plea, your bond will then be set by the court. While you do not need a DUI lawyer present at arraignment, speaking to one before entering a plea is a good idea.

Pre-Trial

The next stage of the Michigan DUI process is the pre-trial. During this time, the prosecutor and defense lawyer discuss matters and issues pertaining to the case as well as negotiate plea deals. There may be several pre-trial conferences before the DUI trial.

Preparing For Trial

At the motions/evidentiary hearing, both sides may file motions to prepare for the trial. A motion may be filed in order to receive evidence from the other sides, such as a police videotape from the night of the arrest. Motions may also be filed to keep evidence out of the trial, such as the breath test results or statements made by the defendant after being arrested. Your DUI lawyer may question the validity and accuracy of the prosecution’s evidence during this hearing.

Jury selection is the next stage in the Michigan DUI process. After both the prosecution and defense have selected the jury, the trial may begin.

Trial

During the trial, each side is allowed to present an opening statement, explaining their version of the case. Next, witnesses may be called to testify and may be cross examined by the other side. At the trial, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were guilty of driving under the influence. After all witnesses have testified and evidence has been entered, each side may present a closing argument. Once the closing arguments have been made, the jury deliberates to decide on a verdict.