CHRONOLOGICAL SEQUENCE OF EVENTS
IN KENTUCKY DUI CASES
Arrest—You have been arrested on a citation charging you with DUI. You will be jailed where you will meet with a pretrial services officer after being booked. Based on the information you provide about your background (not about the crime charged), your criminal history and the verification of the information you provide, the pretrial officer and a Judge will determine your bond. Bond is the cash or property you will be required to deposit with the court to insure your future court appearances. There are no bail bondsmen in Kentucky. If you are an out-of-state resident, the minimum cash bond is $500.00. However, some Judges ignore this requirement.
- Arraignment (ARR)—This is your initial appearance before a Judge. If you were arrested on a weekday, this can happen by a video monitor from the jail. If you were arrested on the weekend and you posted bond, you will be given an arraignment date. You can plead guilty, but you shouldn't without consulting with a qualified, experienced DUI attorney, like Andrew T. Coiner. At this initial appearance, an interpreter is appointed, if necessary. If you are still in jail, your bond will be reviewed. You will formally be advised of all charges against you. If your attorney has reviewed your case and consulted with the prosecutor for an appropriate penalty, you can plead guilty at this stage of the proceedings. If you are indigent, you can apply for a public defender. If you can afford an attorney but have not had time to hire one, PLEAD NOT GUILTY and ask the Judge for more time to obtain an attorney. Your attorney can ask to review the evidence against you, such as audio and video recordings, at your arraignment. Your attorney can advise you of the defenses available to you. The Judge will then set another court date, called a continued first appearance, so your case can proceed.
- Continued First Appearance (CFA)-- This is your next court appearance, usually scheduled within 14 days after Arraignment unless blood and/or urine tests are involved. Chemical test results generally take six to eight weeks. You and your attorney should have obtained and reviewed the evidence against you by now. Your attorney may have discovered a problem with the vehicle stop and the subsequent seizure of evidence. Your attorney might attempt to have questionable evidence against you thrown out by filing a motion or motions to suppress the evidence. If so, the Judge will conduct an evidentiary hearing. You and your attorney may have decided, after consultation with the prosecutor, to enter a guilty plea at this court appearance. You may also set your case for trial. If your attorney has filed a motion contesting the evidence, the Judge will then schedule a suppression hearing regarding questionable evidence. Depending on the outcome of the motion, a pretrial conference and a bench or jury trial, will be scheduled. If the Judge grants your motion, the case may be dismissed or amended. A Bench Trial is a trial before the Judge without a jury. Generally, I don't recommend Bench Trials.
- Pretrial Conference (PTC) – Prior to this court date, your attorney may have obtained a plea offer on your case from the prosecutor, which may include the reduction of some non-DUI charges if you plead guilty. Should you reject the plea bargain offer, your trial will proceed as planned. At this court appearance your attorney should also be prepared to resolve any outstanding issues such as jury instructions and the admissibility of certain evidence.
- Bench Trial (BT) or Jury Trial (JT) -- The Commonwealth will present its case against you to a Judge or jury. The issue of Judge trial, also called a Bench Trial, or jury trial should be thoroughly discussed with your attorney. Generally, in Kentucky, your attorney will advise you to have your fate decided by a jury of your peers instead of a Judge, who may not get re-elected if he or she appears soft on crime. A bench trial is only advisable if your defense involves a technical issue of law. At either type of trial, your attorney may question the witnesses to dispute the charges. You will also be permitted to present evidence on your behalf. The factual questions and the final judgment are determined by a six-person jury or the Judge, if you opted for a Bench Trial. If you are found guilty of DUI, you can be sent to jail, fined or both. Your driver's license will be suspended. You can appeal your case to the Circuit Court if you and your lawyer believe the Judge erred on a legal issue that went against you. If you are acquitted by the jury, you will be released if incarcerated. If not incarcerated, you may resume your life never having to worry about facing the same DUI charge. If your case doesn't involve the refusal to submit to a chemical test or tests, your driver's license will be reinstated if you have been pretrial suspended. If you have been acquitted, you can have the court record expunged in 60 days.