Appearing in court is one of the most intimidating aspects of a DUI case. The potential penalties can be harsh, and many defendants are unsure what to expect in the courtroom. Fortunately, an experienced Charleston attorney could help defendants thoroughly prepare for their court date and stand by their side before the judge.

Initial Appearance

A person’s initial appearance in DUI court usually occurs on the dated listed on the ticket. Initial appearances for DUI charges take place in the court connected to the jurisdiction where the offense happened.

Typically, the arresting officer, sometimes a prosecutor, the defense attorney, and the judge are in attendance at this court date. Notably, the judge present at the initial appearance does not necessarily preside over the remainder of the case.

Finding Information About a Court Date

Someone can find information regarding their court date on their ticket, on their bond paperwork, or sometimes online, depending on the jurisdiction. The Charleston City court system provides a PDF version of the court docket on their website, for example.

Individuals may be able to change their court date and ask for a continuance from the court if they need extra time to find an attorney or prepare their defense. Every court is different, however, and every judge is different. Whether or not the defendant is granted the continuance depends on the circumstances.

Out-of-State Defendants

If someone has been arrested for DUI while visiting from a state other than South Carolina, they need to contact the court as soon as possible to request a continuance. Most judges will postpone a court date for someone who lives out of state.

If an out-of-state defendant misses their court date, however, the case will be tried in their absence. A conviction would be entered, and they would suffer the consequences of whatever penalties are associated with the offense.

The consequences of a DUI charge or conviction could follow someone back home, as well. Nearly every state in the country participates in what is called the Driver License Compact. This is an interstate agreement in which the home state receives information from the state where the offense took place. If someone who lives out of state is arrested for DUI, does not appear in court, and a conviction is entered, then their home state could issue penalties in addition to those issued by South Carolina.

Preparing for a DUI Court Date in Charleston

The prospect of appearing before a Charleston judge on DUI charges can feel overwhelming, but support from a dedicated attorney can help you prepare for your court date. Before your appearance, a defense lawyer could explain the procedures, review the relevant evidence, and gather any documentation that may be beneficial to your case. They could then assemble this information into a case-specific defense strategy.

With help from a legal professional, you may be able to raise a strong defense and fight for a positive resolution to your DUI charges. Call today to discuss your case.