All Driving Under the Influence (DUI) cases start with an arrest warrant. Once you are arrested you are taken to the sheriff's office in Ashland City, TN to be booked and processed. A bail bond will be set and you will be released from jail once you comply with the bail bond.
Your case will be assigned to one of two courts. For those arrested by the Ashland City police, you will be assigned to the Ashland City Municipal Court. If you are arrested in Kingston Springs, Pegram, or Pleasant View your case will be assigned to the General Sessions Court for Cheatham County. Most Tennessee Highway Patrol and Sheriff's Department cases are assigned to Cheatham County General Sessions Court. Ashland City Court meets once a month and General Sessions convenes every Wednesday.
Your first court appearance is an arraignment or commonly referred to as an appearance date. Normally, no police officers are present and you enter a not guilty plea, then the case will be reset. The next court date will be more involved. At that time the officer will be subpoenaed. Be prepared for a preliminary hearing or a trial on that date.
Can You Expect A Plea Bargain on a DUI Charge in Cheatham County?
In other Tennessee counties, a DUI case may be reduced to a lesser charge such as reckless driving. In both Ashland City and Cheatham County General Sessions Court, the District Attorney's office's policy is not to plea bargain DUI cases. What does that mean to those facing DUI charges? You must hire a lawyer willing to investigate your case to find any weaknesses, contest any illegal traffic stops, and try your case to a judge or jury.
Bench Trial or Jury Trial
You have an option to try your case before the Judge, commonly referred to as a bench trial, or a jury trial in some cases. I have tried a Bench Trial in General Sessions Court with great success. Remember, the State must agree to the Bench Trial. A jury trial is the other option. A jury trial must be tried in Criminal Court. There are some advantages and disadvantages to each.
Is it Hopeless to Fight a DUI?
One myth of defending DUI cases is that it is hopeless. In most cases, there is a defense. One of the biggest issues is whether the initial traffic stop is valid. A violation of the Fourth Amendment will result in the Court suppressing or excluding all evidence after the traffic stop. The other major defense is whether the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests were performed properly.
If you want to know your options for a DUI case in Ashland City, Tennessee, please contact us to set up a meeting. We do not take all cases, just those we think we can make a difference.