Have you received a ticket for DUI or Domestic Battery while Sheltering-in-Place?
Have you received a ticket for DUI or Domestic Battery while Sheltering-in-Place? You may be wondering what to do next. The truth is that DUIs and Domestic Violence cases are typically the types of cases where arrests are made, but the fact that you were not arrested does not make them any less serious. They are still criminal offenses that can impact your criminal record and in the case of Domestic Battery, your gun rights.
COVID’s Impact on the Criminal Justice System
The COVID-19 pandemic is interfering with just about every aspect of society. The criminal justice system is no exception. The courts are not operating as usual, in fact, they are shut down for most purposes. The Idaho Supreme Court has determined that most court hearings in the state that are not considered an “emergency,” will not be held until after April 22nd (subject to further extension). The orders are available on Supreme Court Website. Additionally, Sherriff’s Offices, the organizations responsible for running the jails, have asked the courts to take the pandemic into consideration when deciding to release or keep individuals in custody. Moreover, police officers are hesitant to add more people to the jail and are limiting the arrests. This may cause more individuals to receive tickets for misdemeanor offenses, specifically Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and Domestic Battery when they might otherwise be arrested. It’s important to understand that even though you received a ticket or citation for a misdemeanor, it’s still a misdemeanor which is a criminal offense that brings with it the possibility of jail time, fine, and probation.
What to do Next?
If you were issued a ticket for DUI or Domestic Battery, the next step in the court process is to appear at the courthouse for an arraignment. An arraignment is simply a court hearing where the judge advises you of your rights, charges, and penalties. For a misdemeanor, it is also a hearing where you have the chance to plead “Guilty” or “Not Guilty.” The date of the arraignment is typically listed on the bottom of the ticket the officer gives you. It will typically say that you need to appear between two dates. If you fail to appear within that period of time, you can be charged with a new offense for “failure to appear” and a warrant may be issued for your arrest.
If you plan on hiring an attorney, which is always recommended, most counties do not require you to attend the arraignment if there is a formal appearance by an attorney. The thought is that if you are represented, your attorney should be competent enough to advise you of your rights, charges, and penalties. Typically, when that attorney begins the case, they will file a Notice of Appearance, Plea of Not Guilty, and a Request to set for Pre-Trial and Jury Trial. Once an attorney files that document, the court will likely skip the arraignment and set it for a pre-trial conference, which is usually a month or sometimes even two months down the road.
If you have been served a summons/citation/ticket for a misdemeanor offense, such as Driving Under the Influence or Domestic Battery, don’t hesitate to reach out to an Idaho Criminal Defense Lawyer that handles criminal cases. An attorney can help walk you through every step of the process so you’re not left guessing along the way. Hooper Law Offices is dedicated to providing quality representation to defendants in the State of Idaho. Feel free to call if you have questions regarding your citation.