After Your Arrest
After a DUI arrest in California, it can take a few months or longer for your case to resolve. During that time your life is on hold. To help you navigate your DUI case after your arrest, here is what you can expect in the coming months.
The First Hours
Immediately after your arrest, you will be taken into a station or the jail. In many cases, you will be given a blood or breath test. If you take a breath test and it comes back positive, you may be given a blood test as well. These tests will measure your BAC (blood alcohol concentration). The test results will be a key component of your case. You will be booked and could be released in as little as a few hours, but you may have to post bail or sign a document saying you will return to court.
Your First Step
As soon as you are able, you should call an experienced California DUI defense attorney. Some criminal defense attorneys specialize in a few areas of the law, such as DUI law. Find one with ample experience handling DUI cases, preferably a California DUI trial attorney. It's best to discuss your case in detail early on so you can make the best decisions about how to proceed. Do this before you speak to anyone else and especially before you post on social media about your arrest. Only communications between you and your attorney are confidential.
Protect Your License
Your next step, which your attorney can handle for you, is to request DMV administrative hearing. You have ten days in which to request this hearing. The DMV hearing pertains only to your license suspension. But this is your chance to challenge your suspension and save your license. Request the hearing immediately so you don't forfeit your right. Once you request the hearing through the DMV, your license suspension is put on hold pending the outcome of your hearing. This means you can keep driving.
Your First Court Date
If the prosecutor who received the police report of your arrest decided to file formal charges, you will be arraigned at your first court date. This is just your first court appearance. Do not plead guilty without first speaking with an attorney. Also, do not try to argue your case. The arraignment is so the judge can read you the formal charges and the sentence the prosecutor suggests. You do not have to plead guilty and take this sentence. Again, the arraignment is just your first court date. It's best to go and get the information you need to then work with an attorney on making an informed decision.
If you hire an attorney, he or she might be able to appear in court for you, saving you the time and expense of taking off work. If you do plead guilty, you will be sentenced right then and there. If you plead not guilty, you will have another court date and some time to work with your attorney on obtaining key pieces of evidence and planning your defense.
Handling Your Case
During the next phase in your case, your attorney can obtain the evidence the prosecutor has and file certain motions. For example, your attorney could file a motion to suppress certain pieces of evidence that were obtained illegally. Or, your attorney can file a probable cause motion to question the reason for your DUI stop. If the officer did not have probable cause to stop you, your entire case could potentially be dismissed. California has specific laws about probable cause. Don't assume because you were stopped, it was legal.
While your attorney obtains evidence and files motions, he or she can also engage in negotiations for a plea bargain. The courts are typically motivated to resolve your case before taking it all the way to trial. Most cases are resolved prior to that point. If your attorney cannot negotiate a plea bargain you find fair, you can continue on the path to trial.
The court has a backlog of cases awaiting trial. This waiting period may involve relatively little work on your part. But continue to meet with your attorney to prepare for trial. You will be gathering evidence, scrutinizing the evidence being held against you, and preparing your defense. These steps represent the initial stages of your DUI case after your arrest. You could resolve your case relatively quickly or make it all the way to trial. Every DUI case is different.
If you are facing DUI charges in the Tulare, Fresno or Kings County area, call experienced criminal defense attorney Christopher Martens today for expert counsel. At The Law Offices of Christopher Martens, we can help you fight your charges and clear your name. With over ten years of criminal defense experience, attorney Martens is ready to defend your rights. Contact our Visalia or Hanford, CA offices at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] to discuss a possible plan of action for your case.