After having a couple of drinks and getting behind the wheel, flashing lights in the rearview mirror can trigger panic. Even if you are not very impaired, being nervous during a traffic stop can help convince the police officer that you are driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol and/or drugs. The next thing you know, you are booked into jail and charged with a misdemeanor crime.
There are some steps you need to take to protect yourself after a DUI arrest in California. After reviewing this information, if you have any other questions about a DUI arrest in the East Bay, contact the Gorelick Law Offices for help in Dublin, Pleasanton, Hayward, and Oakland and all Alameda County cities.
Get Out of Jail
Your first concern after a DUI arrest may be to get out of jail. For most first-time DUIs in California, the individual will be released on their own recognizance within a day. Unfortunately, because most DUIs happen during the evening or early morning hours, this may require spending at least a few hours in detention.
After release, your first move may be to contact an experienced, local DUI lawyer. There are a few reasons you should consider a local and experienced DUI lawyer for your DUI case. A local attorney should be familiar with the way the local courts operate. Each court district and individual judge may have their own way of handling drunk driving cases. A lawyer who is familiar with the judges, prosecutors, and local police departments can tell you what to expect in your case.
Don't Lose Your Driver's License After a DUI
One of the most confusing parts of a DUI arrest is that you can lose your license even if you are never convicted of a crime. There is an administrative process separate from the criminal case, which is handled by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). You only have 10 days after a DUI arrest to request a DMV hearing to challenge an administrative suspension.
After a DUI arrest, the police will generally take away your license. You will be given a temporary driving permit that is valid for 30 days. After 30 days, your driving privileges will be suspended unless you request a DMV hearing. When you request a hearing, your administrative suspension will be stayed until your hearing.
Your DUI attorney can handle the DMV APS hearing on your behalf, so you don't have to take time off of work or school to go to the hearing. If your attorney successfully deals with the DMV hearing, your license will not be administratively suspended and you can keep driving, pending the results of the criminal case. Contact your attorney as soon as possible after a DUI arrest to make sure there is time to request a DMV hearing.
Your First DUI Court Appearance
Your first court appearance after a DUI arrest is generally the “arraignment.” This is where you will be told of the formal DUI charges and respond guilty or not guilty. It can be a stressful experience to be charged with a crime for the first time. Your experienced East Bay DUI defense lawyer will be able to prepare you for court and help you through the process to take away some of that stress.
The most important part of an arraignment is showing up. The arraignment is generally a short process. If you plead guilty, you will be sentenced. If you plead not guilty, your case will be given a later court date to challenge the criminal charges and have your “day in court.” However, if you fail to appear in court, a “failure to appear” (FTA) may be issued, which could lead to a warrant for your arrest.
Before showing up to court, make sure you leave plenty of time to account for traffic, parking, and going through security to get to the courtroom on time. If you cannot make the court date because of a conflict with work, school, or childcare, you need to contact the court as soon as possible. If you contact your attorney before the arraignment, your lawyer may be able to go to court on your behalf so you don't have to take time off of work to wait around at the courthouse.
Avoid a Criminal Conviction
At the Gorelick Law Offices, attorney Lynn Gorelick has dedicated her legal career to defending drivers charged with a DUI in the East Bay. With over 35 years of experience, Lynn Gorelick understands how a DUI conviction can affect your future, possibly your job, and how to fight to keep a conviction off your record. If you are facing a DUI, contact the local East Bay DUI defense attorney who understands that you do not have to plead guilty just because you were arrested.