The first court date for a charge of driving under the influence (DUI) or other Colorado drunk driving offenses is called the arraignment. At this arraignment, you will hear the official charges against you and will have to enter an initial plea of not guilty or guilty. Many people who have not hired an attorney are fearful about attending court and opt to skip this court date. Some people mistakenly believe that by not showing up in court, they may avoid the potential consequences of their DUI charge. In fact, missing a court date—whether accidental or intentional—will usually lead to additional charges and harsher penalties.
If you were arrested at the time of your suspected DUI, chances are good that you posted bail to get out of jail. The court will accept bail money as a promise that you will return for your scheduled court date, and the bail money is usually returned to you after your case is complete. If you fail to attend the scheduled hearing, you will likely forfeit your bail money. Additionally, a judge may set a higher bail if you are arrested again or may even deem you as a flight risk and require that your are held in jail without any possible bail.
If you are not present for your scheduled arraignment, a judge will almost always issue a bench warrant. A bench warrant authorizes law enforcement officers to immediately arrest you on sight, whether or not you are breaking the law at the time of the police encounter. Many people with warrants believe they can simply avoid police. However, an officer can see your bench warrant by simply running your driver’s license information. This means that a simple traffic stop for failing to signal may end up with you in handcuffs on the spot.
When you miss court, the state may issue additional charges against you for Failure to Appear (FTA). The court may also request that the Colorado Department of Revenue immediately suspend your driver’s license for missing court. If you are pulled over in the future, you may then also face additional charges of driving while suspended. Both failure to appear and driving while suspended charges may have significant penalties in addition to any consequences you face for your underlying DUI.
If you have missed a DUI court date, you do not have to continue living in fear of getting caught. A DUI defense attorney can talk to the court to have any warrants withdrawn, your license reinstated, and get a new court date.
Contact an experienced Denver DUI Defense Attorney for Assistance
Going to court to face criminal charges may be intimidating, however having an experienced DUI defense lawyer representing you can make the process significantly less stressful. The experienced attorneys at the Tiftickjian Law Firm in Denver work diligently to develop aggressive DUI defense strategies to ensure every client receives the best possible outcome in their case. If you have been arrested on suspicion of DUI, call our office for assistance today.
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