Interviewer: Michael, what would you say are the stages of a typical DUI case in Washington D.C.?

Multiple Courts Appearances for Every DUI

Michael:  A DUI case actually involves multiple court appearances in the District of Columbia.

The first court appearance is what is referred to as an arraignment, which is simply the court telling you what the charges are, and really, nothing more than that. The second court appearance is what’s called “the status date,” which basically, allows someone to enter a plea of guilty if they want to or they can go ahead and set a trial day. The third court appearance is the trial day, where the government probably would have to be ready with their witnesses and presumably we would be ready with our defenses. There’s nothing that would stop anybody from doing a plea of guilty on the trial day, and sometimes, on the trial day, you actually end up getting it softer than what you would get on the status date.

A Trial is Almost Always Advisable in DC

At least in D.C. and with the types of plea offers they make, it’s almost always advisable to go forward and set a trial date and prepare for trial.