Being charged with driving while impaired may affect many aspects of your life. It is strongly recommended that no matter what the circumstances of your case you hire competent legal representation to further assist you in determining the best possible outcome. This is to be used solely as a resource, legal advice can be obtained through a credible DUI attorney. Being pulled over for drinking and driving is scary. Our experienced lawyers could help you prepare for what to expect after a DUI arrest in Orange County.
If you are pulled over and the law enforcement officer suspects that you are drinking and driving you should expect them to ask you a series of questions. You have the right to politely decline to answer and offer that you will talk to your lawyer prior to answering any questions. If the officer suspects that you are over the legal limit of .08% BAC he may ask you to perform a series of Field Sobriety Tests. There may only be one or a series of activities that they ask you to complete on the roadside prior to the arrest.
These are used as probable cause or reasonable grounds for arrest. These are not required to be completed. The state operates under an implied consent law where all licensed drivers give their implied consent to submit to a chemical blood alcohol test after being arrested for driving while intoxicated. This does mean that you do not have to submit to a PAS (Preliminary Alcohol Screening) which is a breath test administered as the final Field Sobriety Test to help the officer determine whether to place the drunk driving suspect under arrest.
An officer will place a suspected drunk driver under arrest based on a number of factors. The arresting officer will take into account the vehicle code that was violated, the nature of the speech of the suspected drunk driver, his or her demeanor, any physical signs of intoxication, and performance on field sobriety tests if given. All of these factors will be used as probable cause to make the arrest. Most of these presumptions are rebuttable since a number of other factors could account for a person’s slow speech or red eyes. Namely the fact that most of these arrests happen in the late hours of the evening or early hours of the morning and drivers are naturally tired and would likely show signs of exhaustion.
An arrest for DUI results in two distinct procedures. A criminal case will be heard to decide your fate on the charges. The criminal court phase will begin with an arraignment hearing listed on the citation given to you at the time of arrest. This hearing is mandatory and failure to show up at the assigned court date will result in a bench warrant being issued for your arrest. An attorney can appear for you at most hearings.
The other procedure is through the Department of Motor Vehicles. As of September of 2005, the DMV is responsible for all license suspensions following an arrest for a DUI. You have 10 days from the date of arrest to request a hearing or your license will be automatically suspended following the expiration of the temporary license given to you at the time of release from arrest. The hearing through the San Bernardino Driver’s Safety Branch is called an Administrative Per Se Hearing and will be attended by a DMV representative to determine whether the DMV will suspend your license based on the vehicle code 23152 (b) driving with a .08% or higher BAC.
These hearings are independent of each other, so a dismissal at one level does not automatically ensure a dismissal at the next. A qualified DUI attorney can help you to understand what to expect during both of these proceedings and will likely be able to appear on your behalf at the court hearing and through the DMV – meaning you may never have to spend a day in court
While jail is a potential consequence of a drunk driving conviction, it is not necessarily the only option. A skilled attorney can suggest a number of alternatives to mandatory minimum jail sentencing. In Orange County, an individual may be able to expect the court to allow them to complete a house arrest in lieu of jail. That means that through electronic monitoring you will not be allowed to leave except for necessities such as going to the grocery store. In addition, you will generally get credit for the night in jail resulting from the arrest. While an experienced lawyer will most likely be able to keep you out of jail, ultimately it is up to the judge. For this reason, it is imperative to hire representation local to the area who knows the judges and district attorneys and can work well with them under all circumstances.
Upon release from your arrest, you will be given a temporary license. The temporary license gives full driving privileges until its expiration 30 days later. The temporary license also states that you have 10 days to contact the DMV to schedule an APS hearing or your license will be suspended on the expiration of the temporary license. Generally, first a first-time offense the suspension is 4 months and after 1 month of no driving a driver can apply for a restricted license which allows him or her to drive during the course of work and to and from an alcohol treatment program. In order to receive the restricted license you must submit an SR-22 financial responsibility form from your insurance carrier which proves coverage, pay $125 re-issue fee and enroll in a 3 month AB-541 alcohol treatment program. The restricted license will be in effect for 5 months, however, if you choose to do a hard suspension of no driving you will be eligible for full driving privileges after 4 months.
Whether your concern is staying out of jail or keeping your license as long as possible a practiced DUI defense attorney can help. A local attorney will know how to apply for a restricted license and which judges to ask for more lenient sentences. Most attorneys will not charge simply for a consultation so it is recommended that you speak to an attorney immediately so you know what to expect after a DUI arrest in Orange County.