Drinking & Driving – Legal Process

Over 80? The Mystery of the Legal Process Unraveled.

Being arrested for ‘drinking and driving’ can be a traumatic experience.  By educating yourself about our system of justice, you’ll be able to brace yourself for what’s to come.  Understanding the court process is crucial to preparing yourself for the long road that lies ahead.

Following your arrest and release, you will typically be given two dates by the police.  The first date will be to attend a police station to provide your photographs and fingerprints.  This is a mandatory attendance authorized under the Criminal Records Act.  You must attend for this date.  The second one will be to attend at your first court appearance.  Again, you must attend for this date as well.  The first court date may be as soon as one week following the date of your arrest and as far away as eight weeks following your arrest.  The first court date is not your trial date and is not typically a date to plead guilty but is the first in what is typically a series of court dates.

Disclosure is usually provided at the first court date.  Disclosure is a copy of the evidence that the State has in the drinking and driving case against you.  Most of the disclosure is usually provided at the first court date.  Sometimes there are items of disclosure that are not provided at that first court date.  Your lawyer will request any outstanding items.  Once the disclosure has been obtained by your lawyer, it is his or her job to review it in consultation with you, the client.  The purpose of this meeting is to analyze the case that is being built against you and discuss defence strategies and the various options available to you.  Following this, a meeting is usually held between your lawyer and the State lawyer or the Crown Attorney’s Office.  The purpose of this meeting is to discuss details of the case including any possible resolution to the case without going to trial, issues relating to outstanding disclosure – that is any evidence that your lawyer believes exists but has not been provided – and any issues regarding the potential trial.

Once this meeting has taken place, your lawyer should discuss the results of it with you and review your options with you.  After this, the case will return to court and the matter will typically either be resolved without having to proceed to trial or be set down for a trial date.  Of course, there are no hard and fast timelines but where the case is to be resolved without proceeding to trial, the case may take 2 to 4 months to conclude.  In a situation where the case proceeds to trial, it may be anywhere from 6 to 12 months before the case is concluded.  There are many factors that can affect how this process unfolds.  To get the best understanding of your situation, consult an experienced DUI lawyer at the earliest stage possible.

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