Call us at 619-746-8879 if you have been arrested for a DUI in the state of California.
For most Californians, a DUI arrest begins with a traffic stop. Once this happens, a police officer may ask you to carry out a number of tests that are designed to assess your sobriety. You will also be asked to breath twice into a breathalyzer.
One the policeman or police woman has determined probable cause, you will then be arrested. Next, you will be taken to a police station, jail or hospital, where you may be asked to provide samples of your blood or breath for further testing.
California’s laws make it mandatory for you to take any of the required tests. Refusal to take these tests can result in increased penalties.
Most DUI cases end with the officers releasing you a few hours after the arrest and booking. For certain cases (including but not limited to felony arrests and arrests where there were accidents), it you may be required to post bail.
At the moment of your release, you are furnished with a citation to appear in court and a pink temporary license. At this point, your California driver’s license is usually seized and mailed to the Department of Motor Vehicles ("DMV").
After your DUI arrest, you are required to contact the DMV within 10 days of your arrest in order to ask to be granted a hearing. Failing to do so within the prescribed time leads to the forfeiture of your right to a hearing. This automatically means that your license gets suspended for 30 days.
Those that hire California lawyers can have the hearings requested on their behalf. This, in most cases, is the best route for you, for the simple fact that your lawyer understands the intricacies of the DMV process and can schedule the hearing to the furthest possible date. Doing so gives you the time that you need prepare.
The DMV Hearing
In most cases, your DUI lawyer will conduct the DUI hearing on your behalf. Depending on the situation, you may or may not be asked to attend.
The aim, for you and your attorney, is to convince the DMV not to suspend your license. Not only that, but it is also usually the case that your attorney will use the DMV hearing to gather as much information as is possible, for use during your defense in court.
As an example, your lawyer may subpoena the maintenance and calibration logs of the breathalyzer that was used in your case. This reveals any history of inaccuracies and malfunctions, information that will be extremely useful when the case goes to court.
Should you decide to hire us, we may also subpoena the police officer who did the arrest to give testimony at the DMV hearing. This helps elicit information about inadequate DUI training and mistakes that were made during the course of the investigation.
Conclusion of the DMV process
At the end of the DMV hearing, the officer in charge then considers the matter. He or she later produces written findings, with the decision getting sent to you within 30 days.
If you are found to not have been at fault, your license will not be suspended (note here, however, that should you later be convicted for a DUI in court, your license could be separately suspended).
Should the DMV officer find you to have been at fault, the suspension of your license comes into effect a few days after you have received notification.
DMV hearings are only carried out in case of alcohol arrests. They are meant to determine whether or not you were driving with a BAC that is .08 or higher. For underage DUI, any positive BAC is noted.
For those that get arrested on DUI of drug charges, no DMV hearings are carried out. However, if a court convicts you of drug-related violations, you get an automatic suspension on your drivers’ license.
What to do should your license be suspended
Once your driver’s license has been suspended, it usually is possible for you to get a restricted license. This gives you the ability to drive to work, court or any other imposed programs.
Should you be working with us, it is sometimes possible for us to immediately negotiate a restricted license on your behalf. It’s important, however, for you to follow the suspension as long as it remains in effect.
Doing otherwise will be tantamount to breaking the law, and could lead to you doing jail time and getting a tougher license suspension.
What happens in criminal court?
There are two charges that are usually used for people who are found to have a BAC of over .08 upon their arrest. The first is the DUI, which falls under Vehicle Code 223152(a), while the second is driving with excessive BAC, which falls under Vehicle Code 23152(b). The aim, as far as you are concerned, is to make sure that you do not get convicted for any of the two cases.
Who attends DUI court proceedings?
Penal Code 977 provides if someone has been charged with a misdemeanour and if the person hires a private attorney, that attorney can attend all court hearings on behalf of the client. That means the client does not need to attend (unless specifically requested by a judge). This Penal Code protection would apply to a misdemeanor DUI charge.
If you have hired a California DUI lawyer, he or she will usually attend all court sessions on your behalf. This happens, unless there is a session that you actually need to be present at, in order for you to give testimony. You will also be required to attend should the case end up going to trial.
Court hearing dates
DUI cases are not usually concluded within a single hearing. In fact, a large number of the cases involve numerous court dates. They can also span several months.
This extended time period gives your DUI lawyer the chance to gather evidence and negotiate with the judge or prosecutor to either have your case dismissed or the charges reduced.
In a criminal case, the prosecutor produces what is known as “discovery.” This is the evidence that the prosecutor will intend to use against you. This includes, but is not limited to arrest and other police reports furnished during the course of the case. We will sit down and review the discovery with you and identify any possible defences, ranging from the legality of the original stop to the manner in which certain tests were administered.
As a client, you make the decision as to how to move forward on your case. If you decide to settle the matter and accept a guilty plea, we will begin the negotiation process with the prosecutor to obtain the best possible outcome for you. This can involve negotiating certain sentencing guidelines. For example, we recently managed to negotiate a favorable outcome for a client, a small business owner whose BAC was approximately three times the legal limit, where the prosecutor and the judge agreed to modify our client’s requirement from having to perform the mandated 10 days of Public Work Service to a set hours of volunteer service.
Should a settlement fail to be reached, the next step involves having your case set for trial by jury. have experience handling trials and while most matters settle prior to trial, we will request your case be set for trial if after reviewing all of the evidence, it is your wish to do so.
Get in Touch with us for Help.
DUI convictions can have devastating consequences. In most instances, the negative effects that accrue from a conviction for driving under the influence can be long term. You may, as an example, end up getting a permanent criminal record depending on your conviction. Additionally, your driving record will be affected as well. We will work with you to put you in the best position possible to navigate your case.
To learn more about us, feel free to visit our information page.