It is each person’s right to be heard by a court of law, and be given a fair trial before they are found guilty of a criminal charge. In interest of these rights, when a person is arrested and charged with a potential DUI, they are ordered to appear before a criminal judge. They will not be found guilty of any criminal charge unless prosecutors can prove that there is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
The first appearance is called an Arraignment. During the arraignment the Judge will read the charges and ask if the person being tried would like to enter a plea. You can plead guilty, not guilty or no contest. If you plead guilty or no contest, you will be given a DUI Advisement of Rights, Waiver and Plea form. You will be asked to read over each provision carefully and initial by each statement.
The advisement assures that you are aware of the rights you will be relinquishing when you plead guilty or no contest. It also confirms that you have been advised of the potential consequences you may face as someone who has been found guilty or have not contested driving under the influence charges against you.
The Advisement first and foremost explains to the signer that they have a right to an attorney. If they cannot afford an attorney, a public defender will be provided to them by the government. It also informs the signer that representing oneself has many disadvantages and that it is highly recommended that an attorney represent them.
The second section discusses the different types of charges pertaining to a DUI and the signer is asked to review the charge and the code section and initial in agreement. The Advisement continues to discuss the Constitutional rights a person gives up when they plead guilty or no contest. They relinquish rights to a trial by jury,sand they will not have the right to confront a witness. Additionally, by pleading guilty or no contest without any findings from the court, they are giving up their right to self incrimination. And they waive their right to produce evidence so that the facts and evidence can be heard before the court makes a decision.
The form also explains the statutory penalties for each charge relating to a DUI, including reckless driving. It goes through the penalties and consequences so that the court can assure the person pleading has fully understood their rights and the possible penalties.
The Advisement form is a simple 4 page form, but carries with it a heavy forfeiture of rights. Although the Judge will explain each statement in detail, you will not fully understand the consequences that you may face. It is important to consult with a DUI specialist who can provide you with a detailed explanation and discuss with you how to reduce the potential penalties.