When and Where DUI Arraignments in DC Take Place

If you are arrested and the police do not release you with a citation to come back on a later date, then you will be held in custody and you should appear in court the next afternoon in the D.C. Superior Court. The only exception to that, barring some abnormality, is if you are arrested on a Saturday night due to the fact that the court is not open on Sundays, meaning you will have to wait until Monday for your arraignment.

All the individuals who are arrested in D.C. and held in custody and therefore need to be brought to court for their arraignment or presentment will be processed and in the cut-off list for the next day’s arraignments and presentments which is typically at 10:00 or 10: 30 in the morning. If you are not processed in time to make the cut-off for that afternoon’s calendar then you will be held until the next day.

If you are arrested at 9:00 am on a Tuesday, you are almost certain not to make the cut-off for the afternoon’s court hearing that day. You will be held overnight and go to court on Wednesday. With that said, the fact that most DUIs occur at night means you can usually expect for your arraignment to take place the next day.

Where DUI Arraignments Take Place

If you are held in custody, then your arraignment will be in courtroom C-10 in the basement of the DC Superior Courthouse, which is at 500 Indiana Avenue in Northwest D.C. If you are released by the police and given a citation, then the citation will tell you the date and time to come to court, as well as the courtroom. For DUIs, it will be one of the three courtrooms in the first floor of the courthouse: courtrooms 115, 116, and 120.

Are Your Required To Appear For Arraignment?

It is required. In D.C. they require a personal appearance by the defendant at the arraignment to have the case begin. In some other jurisdictions, the court may allow an attorney to appear on behalf of the defendant for the arraignment, but D.C. does not allow for the waiver of appearance for a defendant in an arraignment. As a defendant, you need to plan to be present at the arraignment.

With that said, in certain circumstances, the initial arraignment date can be moved if the police officer has given the defendant a citation for a court date in a couple of weeks and the person is going to be on a business trip to some other jurisdiction or is otherwise unavailable on the citation’s court date. The defendant can come to the clerk’s office inside the courthouse and request the setting of a different date. If they want to have that happen, they absolutely need to have that done beforehand. Even if they move the initial arraignment to a new date, they need to appear at the new date personally.

What Take Place At a DUI Arraignment in DC

An arraignment will officially start the case. The defendant appears in open court and will be informed of what charges the government has brought. The court will set the release conditions and the government will give initial discovery to the defendant. The available discovery may consist of police reports, the charging document, and other related documents. The court will have the defendant’s plea of not guilty entered, have the attorney assert the defendant’s rights, and officially begin the case.

Importance of An Attorney At Arraignment Proceedings

The court will never expect defendants to speak on their own behalf, because anything a defendant says could be used against them. If you are speaking in court on record, you want to have an attorney to make the arguments for you. Additionally, an attorney will know what the pertinent information is to be presented and discussed.

Under very limited circumstances the defendant may want to insist on proceeding without an attorney. The court will be very hesitant to allow that to occur. The court typically will hold hearings on that issue to make sure that the defendant completely understands the ramifications of that decision. In a certain respect, the court is trying to talk the defendant out of representing himself, because the criminal justice system is complicated. You need to have someone experienced and knowledgeable in the system to represent you. At an arraignment, the court is certainly going to make sure that there is an attorney present by your side.