Do I Have to Go to Court for a DWI Charge?
On behalf of Randall & Stump, PLLC in DWI on Tuesday, August 28, 2018
In every state, driving while impaired (DWI), while under the influence of alcohol, is illegal. This means if you’re 21 years or older and you’re driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least .08 percent, you’ve violated a North Carolina law. If you’re under 21 years old, you’ll face charges for a DWI for driving with any amount of alcohol in your system.
Whatever action you take regarding your DWI, you should consult an experienced Charlotte DWI attorney. The legal process can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to the penalties associated with driving while impaired. At Randall & Stump, Criminal Defense Attorneys, our lawyers can analyze the facts specific to your case, and explain how the law applies to your DWI charge.
Not Showing Up for Court Could Cost You
If you’ve been assigned a court date related to your DWI charge, then you’ve already been through booking and processing at the county jail. You may have been released on bail, or under your own recognizance. Either way, a condition of your release was that you attend all future court dates. If you don’t show up, you will face further penalties. Failure to appear at your first hearing will almost certainly result in a warrant being issued for your arrest. In most cases when the judge issues a warrant for your arrest, he or she, will also increase your bond, which complicates securing your release after being picked up on the warrant.
Missing a Court Appearance Has Consequences Beyond Your Possible Arrest
A warrant for arrest is part of the court record, and is therefore accessible to anyone who searches for data about you. Aside from any routine police stop likely leading to your arrest, you might encounter problems with anyone who checks your background, such as:
- Loan officials
- Admissions employees
- Employers or potential employers
If you don’t go to your court appearance and are subsequently arrested, it is likely that your bail will increase as well, sometimes doubling or tripling.
You Can Have Your Warrant for Arrest Stricken After Failing to Appear in Court
If you’ve had a warrant for arrest issued for not appearing at a court date, you may be able to have it stricken by appearing in court to explain why you failed to appear. In some cases, your attorney is permitted to appear in court on your behalf. There is no guarantee that you warrant for arrest will be stricken; as the request is a complicated legal process in itself. If you have prior incidents – especially previous instances of failing to appear – on your record, the road ahead will probably be more difficult.
When Do I Need to Go to Court?
It’s important to be in court for every hearing unless your attorney specifically tells you that you don’t have to attend. For your initial court date, your attorney may be able to appear on your behalf through a waiver of appearance. If approved, then you may not have to appear at your first court hearing. However, after that you are obligated to appear unless your attorney tells you otherwise.
Your first court hearing will be on the first floor of the District Court for Mecklenburg County. After that you will have one or more status conferences on the fourth floor. Your attorney will not be able to review evidence and interview the officer in your case until your case progresses to the fourth floor. If your case involves a felony DWI, it may be transferred to another court altogether. However, misdemeanors will stay in the district court. You will likely have to appear at all of the status conferences.
Depending on the facts of your case, there may be a pretrial motion hearing prior to your trial. You will have to appear at this hearing. Then, you will have to appear in trial if your case progresses to that level. Your attorney will present defenses and work to have your charges dropped or you found not guilty. However, if convicted, then sentencing will occur immediately after trial.
Call an Attorney for Help with Your DWI Charge Today
Regardless of what stage your DWI case is in, it is important to have the help of a skilled attorney as early in the process as possible, to ensure the best possible defense is mounted on your behalf. At Randall & Stump, Criminal Defense Attorneys, we can help you with any difficulties you encounter while facing a DWI charge in the Charlotte area. Dealing with the court system can be a daunting experience. With our experienced lawyers, you know your case is in good hands. Call us at (980) 237-4579, or use the online form to schedule your free, confidential case evaluation today.