Posts Tagged DUI Arraignment

Could I be charged after the fact if my friend got a DUI in my car in which I was a passenger?

Law enforcement officers investigating a potential crime make important decisions about who to arrest.  At the scene of a suspected DUI an officer may decide to arrest and charge both the driver and passenger of a vehicle with the offense of Driving Under the Influence.  Depending on the circumstances, an officer may choose to only arrest the driver of the vehicle if the officer suspects DUI.

The state prosecutor, however, is not required to follow the officer’s decisions.  After an arrest is made, a prosecutor may learn of additional facts, like the ownership of the vehicle involved in the crime.  In response to this knowledge, a prosecutor may issue additional arrest warrants for uncharged defendants or increase the severity of the charges.

In most DUI cases, the prosecutor has one year from the date of the offense to bring charges – the statute of limitations for Tennessee misdemeanor offenses.  For more serious DUI-related offenses involving multiple offenses, bodily injury, or death, the prosecutor may take up to 15 years to bring charges.

The criminal defense attorneys at Oberman & Rice are able to provide advice and counsel both before and after arrest.  Should you have any questions about a Tennessee DUI issue, you may contact Steve and Sara by calling (865) 249-7200.  Our Tennessee DUI website, provides additional information about the crime of DUI and its associated penalties.

[Source: Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-2-101 & § 40-2-102]

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What if a person accidentally misses a court date for a Tennessee DUI?

Court dates should always be a defendant’s highest priority, aside from urgent family emergencies.  If a person expects to miss a court date or has missed a court date in the past, he should contact his attorney as soon as possible.

When a person misses a court date, the court may issue a warrant for that person’s arrest or may charge that person with “Failure to Appear” in court, a separate, Class A Misdemeanor.  The effect of a missed court date will vary in each case depending on the presiding judge, the facts of the case, the amount of advance notice provided to the court, and the practices of the local county.

If a good reason exists as to why a person will miss a court date, a judge may show leniency.  In this type of situation, an experienced Tennessee Criminal Defense lawyer will work to avoid an arrest or incarceration for his or her client.  If you missed your court date and do not have a Tennessee Criminal Defense lawyer working for you, contact one immediately.

If you have questions about your Tennessee DUI or other criminal charge, our lawyers are available to assist you.  Sara, Steve, or Nate will be happy to speak with you at (865) 249-7200.  You may also review our websites at, and

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What happens at the arraignment for my Tennessee DUI charge?


In Tennessee, an arraignment, often referred to as an “initial appearance,” is conducted by a magistrate or judge. The underlying purpose of this appearance is for the magistrate or judge to:

1.    Inform you of the offense(s) with which you have been charged;

2.    Inform you of your right to a lawyer in every stage of the proceedings;   and

3.    To schedule your next court appearance on a mutually convenient date for you, the involved lawyers, and the witnesses. An arraignment generally takes place in the General Sessions Court before the preliminary examination (often referred to as a “preliminary hearing”) or trial; or before a formal motion hearing in your case if the case is pending in a court of record such as Criminal Court or Circuit Court.

Because your lawyer must be available at the forthcoming court appearance which is scheduled at the arraignment, it is very important to hire a Tennessee DUI lawyer to appear with you at this initial appearance.



When should I hire a Tennessee DUI attorney?

“How soon after my arrest should I hire a Tennessee DUI attorney?” This is a common question following an arrest for the offense of Driving Under the Influence.  The answer is simple–you should consult with a DUI lawyer as soon as possible after your DUI arrest.

“The arraignment for my DUI charge is a month away.  Why do I need to hire a Tennessee DUI lawyer before my arraignment?” If you wait to hire a DUI lawyer, you take the risk of losing evidence that may be critical to the defense of your Tennessee DUI case.  To properly preserve the defenses in your case, a Tennessee DUI lawyer must conduct a thorough interview of you as soon as possible after your arrest.  Additionally, one main purpose of an arraignment in Tennessee is to set a new court date for a preliminary hearing of your case in General Sessions Court.  Accordingly, the presence of your attorney at the arraignment is important to ensure that your attorney is available for your General Sessions court date.


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