Charged With DUI ?
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Everyone loves kicking back and relaxing with friends while having a few drinks, but if you decide to drive while under the influence, your night of fun can quickly turn into one that can leave you with a criminal record.
Learn about all the DUI stages from your initial arrest through the entire process and finally ending with your trial.
Why would I get arrested for a DUI?
In the state of California, those over the age of 21 will be charged with a DUI if their blood alcohol content or BAC is .08% or more. Under the age of 21, any BAC level will get you a DUI charge.
You might think that you feel sober enough to drive yourself home or you may only leave a few blocks from the bar, but the only thing that legally matters is your BAC.
A police officer may pull you over if you are driving erratically. Reckless driving or not being able to maintain your lane will lead the officer to suspect you may have been drinking. He or she will administer the breathalyzer test, and if your BAC is over the legal limit, you will be arrested.
A breathalyzer does not have to be administered for you to be arrested for a DUI. The police officer can arrest you due to probable cause as well. Probably cause is the reasonable grounds that an officer has for making an arrest.
In the case of a DUI, probable cause could include
Many times, an officer will end up making an arrest for a DUI when the initial reason for pulling you over was a simple traffic violation. If you run a red light, have an expired tag, or are driving around with a broken tail light, you might be pulled over for that reason initially. However, once the officer comes to your window and notices that you appear intoxicated, they will usually ask you to take a breathalyzer or maybe even do a field sobriety test.
Once the officer has decided to arrest you for a DUI, he or she will take you to the station for booking. Booking is your processing into the system. The booking officer will collect personal information from you, including:
After you are entered into the system, you will be strip searched and all of your personal belongings will be confiscated.
The first time you appear before the judge is your arraignment. The judge will read the charges that have been brought against you, in this case, it will be the DUI. If you don’t already have an attorney, the judge will ask if you need one. You will then be asked how you plea to the charges.
It is highly recommended that you hire a quality DUI defense attorney that specializes in DUI hearing if you are pleading not guilty to a DUI.
The preliminary hearing is where the judge decides if there is enough evidence to bring a case against you and go to trial. The prosecution will be able to call witnesses, like the arresting officer, and your attorney will be given a chance to cross-examine them. The prosecution may also present other evidence to the judge if it can prove that you were driving while intoxicated.
Your case will either be dismissed or go to a jury trial per the judge’s decision.
If the prosecution was able to convince the judge that there was enough evidence, then you will find yourself in a trial by jury. There are a few different stages the trial will go through:
If you are found to be guilty of the DUI, then the judge will issue a sentence or punishment for your crime. The penalties that you will face will depend on how many DUIs you have on your record.
1st DUI Offense
If it is your first DUI offense, it is considered a misdemeanor DUI, and you could be given the following penalties:
2nd DUI Offense
A second offense is also a misdemeanor DUI, and it incurs the following penalties:
3rd DUI Offense
A third offense is also a misdemeanor, and it comes with the following penalties:
Dealing with your DUI arrest will be a long process that could go on for several years once you get your sentencing. If you are faced with DUI charges, it is in your best interest to hire a quality DUI defense attorney.
If you or your loved one were arrested and charged with driving under the influence of in California, you may have several options to help defend your innocence. Contact one of our DUI defense attorneys today. Having had successful DUI case outcomes for the majority of those I have represented, our firm has the experience and history of success that will help you to feel confident about your case moving forward.