What to Expect at Your First DUI Court Appearance


After a police officer arrests you for a DUI (also called DUII) in Oregon, you’ll either get your court date, place, and time on the cop’s citation or from the jail’s release agreement. In Multnomah County, it may be the next day or within the next few days. Here’s what to expect at your first court appearance (called an arraignment), how to prepare, and your options going forward.

Things to Know Before Your Arraignment

Your arraignment is when you are officially charged with a crime. It isn’t a trial, and often you will not even speak except to enter a plea of “not guilty.”

At the same time, it is an important step in the process and you absolutely should not miss it. If you do, in addition to your original charge, you’ll be charged with FTA (Failure to Appear), and the court will issue a bench warrant for your arrest. Also, the DMV will suspend your driver’s license, and you lose the chance to be part of Oregon’s diversion program, which can keep a DUI off your record.


Your DUII will be processed in the same city/county you were in when you got it. (Even if you’re from Washington, if you were pulled over in Portland, that’s where your court appearance will be.) You can go to your first court appearance by yourself, or if you’ve already hired a DUI attorney, he or she might be able to go to court without you.

For your first court appearance, while it’s not necessary “dress up,” you should try. Look and act like you take your arraignment seriously. Find childcare if at all possible, and under no circumstances should you appear in court with alcohol on your breath.

Your Arraignment in Court

You and I wait for the judge to call your name. At that time we will approach the bench and the bailiff, or sheriff’s officer, will hand us a copy of the charges. I will enter a plea of “not guilty” for you and we will be given new dates to met with the District Attorney to discuss your case.

Between the arraignment and the next date, I will request and receive what is called “discovery.” Discovery is all the evidence the state has to prove your guilt. It will include police reports, notes from the field sobriety test if you took them (hopefully not), and any lab or breathalyzer results. Once we review the evidence against you, I’ll have a better idea of the prosecution’s case, whether the police followed proper procedure, and whether they violated any of your rights. Then I’ll be able to counsel you about your best options going forward.

I Can Help

Getting a DUI can be scary and confusing. With a good Portland DUI lawyer by your side, the process is much simpler and easier to handle. Let me help you understand your case, fight any unjust treatment, and figure out your best choices for your future. I know how to help people keep a DUI off their record. Call me for a free, confidential consultation and let’s talk.

503-227-3800 or adam@adamgreenmanlaw.com

Further Reading

NOLO: The DUI Arraignment

What Happens If You’re Arrested for a DUI?