If you’ve been arrested for drunk driving in Wisconsin, you likely want to know what happens next. The first step after the arrest is the arraignment, where you’re charged with a crime. In most cases, you’ll be offered a quick plea deal after the arraignment, which will be the end of your case if you accept. If there is no plea bargain, however, you’ll have a preliminary hearing.
What is a preliminary hearing?
In short, a preliminary hearing is when the judge will decide if there’s enough evidence to go ahead with a full trial. The judge does not do this in a vacuum. Instead, there is almost a mini-trial in the court where the prosecutor is expected to put forth their evidence that would support a continued case. They may even need to call witnesses to the court and question them in the hopes of showing the judge that the justice system should move forward with the case.
What a preliminary hearing means for your case
If your case gets a preliminary hearing, chances are that the matter is serious. Some states reserve preliminary hearings for the most serious matters, so if your operating while intoxicated (OWI) case is at this stage, you may be facing major charges. This also means that the prosecutors have either not offered you a plea bargain or you were not able to arrive a deal. Thus, the stakes may be high for this hearing.
The importance of legal representation
If you’ve been arrested for OWI, it’s crucial to have legal counsel to ensure that your legal rights are protected. The OWI attorney would represent you at every step of the process beginning right after the time that you were arrested. The hope is that the lawyer can help with an expeditious resolution of your case so you can begin to put this matter behind you as soon as possible.