Most people do go through some shock. They tell the police officer or perhaps the deputy in charge of OWI processing, "But I've never been in trouble before!" And that's good. But that doesn't stop prosecution.

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Once the judge has set bond, or, hopefully, pretrial release conditions, it’s time to understand the timeline. But first, for those OWI arrestees, make sure you pay your civil penalty and go to the Cedar Rapids Police Station with your receipt to release the vehicle from Darrah’s towing.

cedar rapids / iowa city criminal and OWI-DUI defense

All these court dates are confusing. Do I have to go to all of them? 

by David A. Cmelik Law PLC

To someone without a criminal record, prosecution is intimidating because of inexperience. But, wait, that’s good, right? Someone without experience in the criminal justice system is someone who has never before been prosecuted. And that’s good. Trust me.

Most people do go through some shock. They tell the police officer or perhaps the deputy in charge of OWI processing, "But I’ve never been in trouble before!" And that’s good. But that doesn’t stop prosecution. And so it’s important to understand what is happening as it is happening.

First, arrest. You got that part totally down. You understood when that was happening. Arrest is very clearly spelled out by law enforcement as under charge and in custody. The next morning, in Linn County, Iowa, at least, you’ll see a judge about 9:30 AM, on video, or, closed caption television. You’ll be in jail. The judge will be about 300 feet away in the courthouse. The first floor courtroom is wired for sound and video. This will sound all too familiar to those who are searching this information after arrest has occurred. 


Next, pay attention to court dates. Preliminary hearings are set by law. If you have a lawyer hired by the preliminary hearing date, chances are you won’t have to attend. However, it’s a good idea to attend all court dates unless you receive something in writing telling you otherwise. Assume you have to show up and you’ll never get a warrant for failure to appear.

After that, it’s up to the prosecutor to craft a charging document, a criminal lawsuit otherwise known as a “trial information,” and do so within 45 days of your arrest to honor your right to speedy indictment. Next stop: arraignment, after that hearings for any pretrial motions filed, and then pretrial conference, final pretrial conference, and, possibly, a jury trial, although most cases settle out of court.

Your lawyer will most likely be able to craft a document to substitute for your appearance in court for arraignment, but do not assume so unless you have been notified otherwise in writing.

In most cases, the next court date is pretrial and unless the case is resolved with a guilty plea agreement beforehand, the defendant must be personally present at the courthouse.

If you or a loved one has been arrested for a criminal offense in Cedar Rapids or other Iowa community, contact David A. Cmelik Law PLC for a free initial consultation today. However, remember that a blog is not legal advice and sending unsolicited information to a lawyer over the Internet does not establish an attorney-client relationship. ​