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Court Procedures After a DUI Arrest in Minneapolis

Every person after DUI Arrest in Minneapolis faces the same court procedures. Whether you are facing your first offense or you have been arrested for DWI before, the court procedures are always the same.

These procedures might be uniform, but every DWI case is different. These charges are often defensible, and you should never assume that a conviction is certain in your case. With an aggressive defense strategy, you could prevail at trial with the help of legal counsel.

The attorneys of Gerald Miller understand the court procedures related to Minneapolis DWI cases. Our firm can ensure you understand how to comply with these procedures while building the strongest defense possible in your case. Call right away to learn more.

Getting Released From Jail

Before you ever enter a courtroom, there is a chance you could be released from jail following your DUI Arrest in Minneapolis. Your prior criminal history will play an important role in determining if you get out of jail immediately. Other factors, including whether or not someone was injured while you were driving under the influence, will also come into play.

For first-time offenders, it is not uncommon to be released from jail after sobering up. The police typically have the option to release a person on their own recognizance if they are facing misdemeanor DWI charges. Being released on your own recognizance means in exchange for your promise that you will appear at all of your court appearances.

The Right to Bail

You have other options for getting out of jail prior to your trial, at least in most cases. Under Minnesota law, you have a right to bail. That means in exchange for someone posting cash bail on your behalf, you are released pending trial. That money is returned to the person that posted your bail as long as you appear in court and meet other conditions.

The law requires bail to be set in every DWI case. If you are not released on your own recognizance, you have a right to a set amount of bail. If you are facing felony DWI charges, release on your own recognizance is not an option at all.


Arraignment: Your First Court Appearance

The first step in every DWI court procedure is known as an arraignment. This initial court appearance is important, especially if you are held in jail following your arrest. The arraignment hearing could be your first opportunity to have a bail amount set.

There are different ways an arraignment hearing can play out. If you represent yourself, you are likely to remain in jail until your hearing date. At the hearing, the judge will consider bail and ask you to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty.

The plea you enter is important. If you plead not guilty, you will have a hearing set and your case will continue. This gives you an opportunity to build a defense and fight back against a conviction. If you plead guilty, your case comes to an end and the court will enter a sentence against you.

If you hire an attorney, your arraignment could go very differently. For starters, your attorney might be able to arrange for bail before your hearing date. This could get you out of jail sooner and prevent you from waiting until the hearing. Your attorney could also appear at your arraignment on your behalf, preventing you from having to miss work.

Status Hearings

It is uncommon for a case to lead directly from arraignment to a trial date. These cases take time, especially when the defense has motions they intend to file. The court typically sets status hearings where the parties will periodically appear to ensure the case is moving forward.

There are many things that can occur at these hearings. Often, your attorney will file motions to exclude evidence or even have your case dismissed. The motions filed in your case will depend on the facts of your arrest. For example, if the police stopped you illegally your attorney could move to exclude any evidence recovered after the arrest. If the state has failed to bring your case to trial in a timely manner, your attorney could move to dismiss it based on a violation of your speedy trial rights.

These hearings are often about plea bargains. Although you have the right to a trial, many defendants ultimately reach a plea agreement in DWI cases. This can occur because the evidence of guilt is strong, or because the terms of the plea bargain negotiated by your attorney are substantially better that a likely sentence at trial.

Plea bargains can occur at any point in the process. It is not unusual for the state to reach out with a plea bargain shortly after the arraignment. However, it could be in your best interest to hold off on pleading guilty until your attorney has had time to thoroughly investigate your arrest. Your attorney could provide you with useful guidance on the next steps in your case.

Pre-Trial Hearing

The final hearing before your trial is known as the pre-trial conference. This hearing is intended to streamline the trial process and resolve potential issues ahead of time. If there are any pending motions that must be resolved prior to trial, the court will typically take them up at a pre-trial hearing.

The pre-trial hearing is the point where late-developing issues can be brought up to the court. This includes informing the court that a witness is unavailable. This is typically the last chance either side will have to exclude evidence from trial or bring other issues to the court’s attention.

Some pre-trial motions could limit what the witnesses or attorneys are allowed to talk about. The judge has a duty to prevent evidence that is more like to be prejudicial than probative from being seen or heard by the jury. Once these motions are resolved, it is time to move on to the trial.


If you ultimately do not resolve your case through a plea bargain or have your charges dismissed, your case will eventually go to trial. Your trial potentially has two stages. First, the guilt stage determines whether or not you are convicted of DWI. Second, the penalty phase determines your sentence. The penalty phase only occurs if you are found guilty of DWI.

The guilt phase is what most people think of when they hear the word “trial.” It can occur in front of a judge or jury, whose job it is to determine your guilt or innocence. At trial, your attorney will have the chance to put on evidence of your innocence while questioning the evidence raised by the state. You have the right to testify, but you are never required to do so. Most of the time, defendants in DWI cases do not testify in their own case.

If you are found innocent, the criminal process comes to an end. You are free to walk out of court unless you have other legal issues that keep you in state custody. If you are guilty, the case will move to the penalty phase. During this phase, the judge will hand down a sentence that complies with the sentencing range provided by state law.

You also have the right to appeal your conviction. The appellate process can be challenging, but it could also result in your conviction being overturned. It is in your best interest to discuss the appeals process with your attorney following a conviction.

Let Attorney Gerald Miller Help You Fight Back

Understanding the court procedures after a DUI arrest in Minneapolis is only the first step in the criminal justice process. While understanding this process is helpful, it is more important for you to have legal counsel that understands how to build the strongest defense possible.

The attorneys of Gerald Miller understand the court procedures in Minneapolis. We have built our legal practice defending the accused in Minneapolis courtrooms, and we look forward to the chance to advocate for you. If you are ready to fight back against your DWI charge, now is the time to reach out. Contact the attorneys of Gerald Miller right away to schedule your free consultation.

Related Post: The DWI Court Process in Minneapolis

About the author

Gerald Miller

Gerald Miller is a top-notch and experienced DWI/DUI lawyer at Gerald Miller P.A. in Minneapolis, MN. He has more than 35 years of experience in Criminal Defense practice. He has also been a mentor to numerous DUI/DWI defense attorneys.

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