An arrest for drunk driving can easily lead to DUI charges and eventually a conviction. A conviction could adversely impact your freedom, reputation, driving privileges, and career. Thus, you want to seek legal assistance as soon as you’re arrested to avoid facing charges or fight the charges you may face.
There are also things you must remember to do that will help you acquire your freedom. Remember, once arrested, you may attend both criminal court proceedings and administrative hearings by the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles), which would trigger two sets of penalties upon a conviction.
If you’re arrested for a DUI in Los Angeles, CA, a competent lawyer may help convince the prosecutor not to file charges altogether, reduce the charges, or drop the charges if they were already been filed. We boast well-trained and skilled DUI lawyers who will be by your side throughout the legal proceedings until they achieve the best possible outcome for your case.
An Overview of DUI Arrests in California
Drunk-driving arrests are so common in California. For the first half of 2020, 7,200 people were arrested for intoxicated driving in the state. Before, driving under the influence was treated as a mere traffic violation. But today, it’s a severe crime with harsh accompanying consequences.
In California, most people depend on their cars to move around, particularly in suburban areas. Dependence on cars combined with stringent DUI laws gives rise to the alarming number of intoxicated driving arrests every year. The high number of DUI arrests is attributed to the effort the police put into curbing intoxicated drivers.
It may seem as though the odds are against you. However, the good news is there’s hope. The positive thing about the common nature of intoxicated driving arrests is that many individuals have been subject to the system and emerged from it fine. The system is well-balanced to ensure arrestees resume their everyday lives soon enough.
Restricted licenses and minimum jail sentences are just some of the consequences of a standard California DUI— they normalize the crime. Additionally, several excellent lawyers specialize in drunk-driving defense and have taken on many cases. This means they know how best to beat the charges against you.
However, since drunk-driving arrests are prevalent, the bad news is that there’s a sophisticated system for trying and punishing DUI offenders. The DMV takes instant action against your driver’s license after you’ve been arrested, even before you’re convicted. According to the Administrative Per Se laws, the DMV becomes involved even before the prosecution files charges in most cases. Courts process uncountable cases each year, meaning prosecutors have dealt with all the arrestees’ tricks and heard thousands of cunning stories. Therefore, you cannot avoid charges by saying you thought it was okay for you to DUI or you only drank a little. The system is sophisticated, and so should be your defense.
What You Need to Remember after a Drunk-Driving Arrest
We have mentioned that the DUI criminal court and administrative processes are complex to navigate, so failure to know what you should do at a particular time could land you in more trouble. No one expects to be arrested. Therefore, it’s understandable that you may be in shock and more confused after being placed under arrest. However, you have to be more careful not to commit further mistakes that may land you in more trouble. You need to know how to act to improve your chances of regaining your freedom and saving your driver’s license from suspension. Here is what you should remember to do:
Stay Calm and Don’t Talk to Law Enforcement
Remaining calm may be challenging after you have been arrested for DUI. At this time, you so much want to explain to the cops how innocent you are because you don’t want to go to jail or lose your driver’s license, let alone having a criminal record. You may think that you are automatically guilty once you are arrested for DUI because the BAC (blood alcohol concentration) results show it. Regardless of what the BAC results indicate, don’t be nervous.
Remember that people talk too much when they’re tense. Therefore the police may take advantage of your nervousness and obtain information from you, which they can use against you in court. Don’t even apologize since the police may interpret it as an admission of guilt. You should only share any information you have that could help your case with your lawyer.
Call a Skilled DUI Lawyer
If you’ve been arrested for drunk driving, you may have several questions. You’ll receive answers to these questions after a consultation with a DUI defense lawyer. Most attorneys offer an entirely free initial consultation. Additionally, navigating the legal process on your own is an uphill task. You’ll need help, and only an expert DUI lawyer can accord you this assistance. An attorney will help you gather relevant proof and prepare a solid defense.
You have to retain a lawyer experienced in handling DUI-related cases specifically since these kinds of cases are very complicated. The right lawyer will fight to defend your constitutional rights. They’ll stick by your side to make the process smooth for you. It’s easy to obtain a charge reduction or dismissal when you have a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer working for you.
Contact the DMV A Soon As Possible
We mentioned that a California DUI arrest triggers two different legal proceedings— an administrative hearing by the DMV and a criminal court process. The criminal court case formally commences when the DA brings charges against you after going through the police report and finds enough proof to sustain the DUI charges.
But for the administrative hearing, you ought to request it by calling the DMV. You have only ten days from when you were arrested for requesting this hearing. After a drunk-driving arrest, the arresting officer confiscates your license and issues you with a temporary license that’s good only for thirty days. Failure to demand the hearing will lead to the DMV automatically suspending your license once the thirty-day validity of the temporary license is over. The suspension will take place even if you’re not guilty. You’re supposed to dial the number included on the temporary license. If you require help with the calling, reach out to your lawyer. Calling the DMV soon after your arrest allows you an opportunity to challenge the license suspension.
Record Everything that Transpired
Soon after your release from custody, you have to record everything you can recall concerning your arrest (as well as what transpired before the arrest). You could either note the details down or save them on your cell phone as a voice memo. You have to note every detail you remember, from when the law enforcement officers showed up to when you left jail. These details include:
- What you said to the officers.
- How you first encountered the cops.
- The reason the police gave for stopping you.
- Whether the police said anything else concerning your driving.
- Whether they asked you to step out of the vehicle or they ordered you to do so.
- Whether they asked you to do Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs) or told you to do them.
- What FSTs you did (if you submitted to the tests), and how you performed them.
- Whether you gave a breath/blood sample, and if so, how many?
- Whether the police allowed you to choose between a blood and breath test.
- Whether the police asked you to write a statement after your arrest.
The judge/jury depends on proof to give a verdict of a given case. Therefore, the DA prepares and presents any proof the law enforcement officers obtained against you after your arrest. You also ought to have adequate evidence that’ll help contest what the DA has.
For instance, suppose you were drinking at a restaurant or bar before your arrest. In this case, you could request a copy of your bill, which could show that you weren’t intoxicated while driving. If the bar/restaurant has security cameras, they could help prove you didn’t drink too much. Remember only to share the evidence you collect with your lawyer. If the lawyer thinks the proof is helpful, they’ll know how to use it.
Identify Possible Witnesses
For your case to be stronger, you may need an eyewitness to testify on what transpired on the day of your arrest. It may convince the judge more if another person testifies in your favor. Potential witnesses may be persons you were with before your arrest or the ones that witnessed it. For instance, the witnesses could inform the court you did not drink more alcohol than you ought to on that specific day. With help from your lawyer, your witnesses could give solid testimony that could help weaken the prosecution’s case.
Therefore, once you’re released from custody, start drawing up a list of places you were and people with whom you were. For a simple misdemeanor drunk-driving case, the officers won’t conduct any investigations after you’ve been arrested. They’ll assume they have all the proof they require for a conviction. However, you might be capable of finding witnesses that’ll help prove your innocence.
Don’t Commit Other Crimes
It’s easier negotiating with the prosecuting attorney and defending your case when you don’t have new cases apart from the DUI case. Proving to the prosecution that you’ve been well-behaved could be persuasive during plea deal negotiations. It could also be convincing to the judge during sentencing. Therefore, you must avoid committing other offenses while awaiting your trial.
If you’re facing misdemeanor DUI charges, you’ll likely not remain in custody. The judge could order your release on your own recognizance (O.R release) and set conditions that you’ll have to obey. One of these conditions is not to drink alcohol. Failure to comply with the specified requirements could lead to the judge ordering your arrest and detention. The judge may also raise your bail amount should you find yourself in more trouble.
Prepare for Your Hearing
You’ll need to prepare well for your hearing if you wish to avoid a conviction. Note that a conviction for drunk driving affects many aspects of your life, such as your career and finances.
Firstly, you should know how you’ll plead during the arraignment. How you plead determines the repercussions you’ll face. For instance, a nolo contendere or guilty plea may lead to sentencing right away. But if you plead not guilty, the judge will allow you and your lawyer time to submit your proof and challenge the prosecution’s case.
You’ll also need to understand why you’re being accused of DUI. California law requires that the police have probable cause to pull over and arrest motorists for DUI. Therefore, you should be aware of the precise reason you were pulled over on the given day. It could be because you were involved in a crash or had committed a traffic violation while DUI. Knowing why you were arrested may help you build a good defense.
Prepare the documents required for your hearing. Your lawyer will assist you with this and file them. Failure to prepare may compromise your case and result in you losing it.
Finally, you have to be emotionally and financially prepared for whatever outcome. It’s not guaranteed that the outcome will favor you. That’s why you ought to be prepared even for conviction. Allow your lawyer to inform you about all the penalties that come with a conviction, then be well prepared for what’s coming should you turn out to be guilty. This makes it easy to accept the court’s verdict.
Contact a Competent DUI Lawyer Near Me
If you’ve been arrested for DUI in Los Angeles, CA, you want to know your legal options and how the legal proceedings occur. Then, you’ll know what to do to avoid going to jail and facing other consequences. A skilled DUI lawyer will walk you through everything comprehensively and explain what the chances of winning are. At Jonathan Franklin DUI Attorney, we’ll not only explain what you need to know. We’ll also stick with you, fighting for you throughout the entire process to ensure you obtain the best possible outcome for your case. Contact us as soon as you’re arrested at 323-464-6700 to share the details of your case.