The first 10 days following an arrest for a DUI in Clearwater are important to the criminal case. The arrestee will be required to attend an arraignment within this time period. Failure to attend the arraignment could result in the Court issuing a bench warrant for immediate arrest. At the arraignment, the State announces the formal filing of the charges against the arrestee and gives the defendant an opportunity to enter a plea. The defendant can decide whether to plead guilty,not guilty, or no contest to the charges filed by the State. An attorney can and should be present at this hearing.
If the defendant pleads guilty or no contest to the DUI charge at the arraignment, the judge will enter a sentence on the case. The defendant will sign a ‘waiver of rights’ form giving up any right to challenge the DUI. If the defendant pleads not guilty, the court will set a future date for pre-trial hearings.