In some drunk driving cases you will immediately know that charges are being filed. For example, there was a traffic stop, field sobriety tests and a preliminary breath test (PBT), an arrest, and a subsequent breath test at the police station. Then, when you leave the police station you’ll have all the documents reflecting that you’re being charged with DUI.
In other cases, it might not be so clear. Some confusion may arise when a blood sample was taken as opposed to a breath test. In most DUI cases in which a blood sample was obtained, no formal citation issued at the time of the arrest. The same is true if you have one or more prior DUI offenses. Another reason you may not have received a ticket is you blow super-drunk at the roadside. In any of these cases you won’t leave the station with a ticket or any other document indicating you got a DUI, and you may wonder if you are actually being charged. This is because the police and prosecutor are waiting for the results of the blood sample to know which level, if any, of DUI crime they can charge. If you were involved in a case like this, you might be left wondering when you should hire an attorney.
How long will it take for me to find out whether charges will be filed?
In cases in which a blood sample was obtained to measure the amount of drugs or alcohol in your system, the charges typically are not filed until the results of the blood is tested at the State Toxicology Lab in Lansing. Alcohol testing is easier and quicker than drug testing. With alcohol the results are often produced and sent to the prosecutor in about two weeks. With drug testing this can easily take as long as 10 weeks or more.
How will I be notified of the charges?
The formal process of notifying someone of a DUI charge after a blood sample is usually through the issuance of a warrant. The warrant is the formal authorization of the charge. This gives the police authority to arrest someone with a pending criminal charge. However, in most DUI cases the police will not execute an arrest warrant on a misdemeanor DUI. This means the police won’t come knocking on your door, and unless you are stopped by the police and they run your record, you won’t end up in court until you arrange this first appearance with your attorney. You will know a warrant has been issued because the court will send a letter to the address on your driver’s license notifying you that the charge is filed and that you must appear to clear the warrant and start the DUI case.
Either way, once the charge is filed, and a warrant issued, it’s in your best interest to schedule your first court hearing and start the case as soon as possible. If you wait, you could be arrested unexpectedly while driving around. The Michigan DUI Lawyers at the Barone Defense Firm keep low case limits so they have time to quickly get into court with clients who have new cases filed. This reduces stress for clients and judges always appreciate when defendants appear quickly on warrants.
If you were stopped by the police for suspicion of drunk driving, the safest thing to do is call an experienced DUI defense attorney at the Barone Defense Firm as soon as possible. This is true even if you weren’t given a ticket by the police. The reason you should contact an attorney is because, even though you were not charged with DUI at the time of the incident, the charges could be filed later and you will want to be prepared.