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Michigan Criminal Law Blog

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What Happens after a Drunk Driving Arrest?

Drunk Driving Arrest

Have you been arrested for driving while intoxicated?

A drunk driving arrest can be an intimidating experience. This is especially true if this is your first DUI arrest or first arrest in general. You have no idea what to expect and the anxiety and frustration of your uncertainty can make a bad situation even worse.

Understanding the DUI arrest process and knowing what comes next can ease your mind a bit, even if it doesn’t solve all of your problems.

Here’s what you can expect to occur following a drunk driving arrest.


Following your drunk driving arrest, you’ll be given a date for arraignment. This serves as the formal notice of the charges against you and is your first appearance in district court. Your lawyer can and should be with you during your arraignment.

A first drunk driving arrest is a misdemeanor. Those charged with misdemeanor offenses are given an opportunity to enter a plea, which in most cases will be not guilty.

Bond and Pretrial Conference

At the arraignment, a pretrial conference is scheduled and the court imposes any bond conditions. This might include random alcohol or drug testing or limitations on where you are permitted to travel.

Many people find bond conditions to be expensive, inconvenient, and frustrating, but the best thing you can do at this point is to abide by whatever conditions are imposed.

Your attorney might be able to negotiate better conditions, but assume there will only be practical exceptions made. For instance, if a bond condition you’re given is not to drive, your attorney could negotiate your ability to drive to and from work.

Keep in mind, once bond conditions are set it’s tough to get exceptions made, which is one of the many reasons it’s important to have an experienced DUI attorney with you at arraignment.

Next comes the pretrial conference. This is a meeting between your attorney and an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney to discuss whether your case will go to trial. If not, it can be resolved with a plea or dismissed outright. If a plea is an option, things might not be resolved immediately, but negotiations will begin during the pretrial conference.

If you’re facing felony charges (which wouldn’t be for a first-time drunk driving arrest), there will also be a preliminary examination, which is when it is determined whether the prosecuting attorney has probable cause against you.

You can learn more about felony drunk driving charges and Michigan’s drunk driving laws here.

If Your Drunk Driving Case Goes to Trial

If your drunk driving case is not dismissed or settled via a plea deal the next step will be a trial. This is when the prosecutor must prove your guilt. Evidence against you is presented and the prosecutor must prove to a judge or jury that you are guilty of the crime for which you are accused.

Most drunk driving cases are settled before reaching the trial phase. Part of your attorney’s job is to make the process as easy and uncomplicated as possible for you, and trials are anything but easy and uncomplicated. However, if your case does proceed to trial, it’s essential you work with an experienced attorney who can defend you against the charges and ensure your rights are protected.

A drunk driving arrest, even if it’s your first one, can change your life. The smartest thing you can do after an arrest is contact an attorney who has experience dealing with drunk driving charges and who is familiar with the Michigan court system.

If you’ve been arrested for drunk driving Andrew W. Kowalkowski, PLLC can help. For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact him at 248.974.9594.

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