If you've been arrested for a DUI in the East Bay, you and your family will need answers fast. Drunk driving arrests are some of the most common criminal charges in California and California cops and sheriff's officers treat them as routine. However, for the individual placed under arrest, the DUI process is anything but routine. Here we provide answers to some of the most common questions defendants and their families have after a DUI arrest.
Do I have to post bail to get out of jail?
In most cases, after a DUI arrest, the defendant will be booked and released on their own recognizance. The driver will be released and required to appear in court for an upcoming hearing. However, if you have multiple DUIs, or the DUI involved an injury accident, you may be required to post bail to get out of jail.
When should I call a lawyer?
It is recommended that you contact an attorney as soon as possible after a DUI arrest. By contacting an attorney immediately, they will be able to appear in court on your behalf for all your court appearances. This can help you avoid costly mistakes in how you plead to criminal charges.
Can I keep driving after a DUI arrest?
After a DUI arrest, the police generally take your driver's license and give you a temporary 30-day driving permit. The DMV requires that you request a hearing within 10 days of your arrest. If you win your DMV hearing, you may be able to avoid a suspension of your license. If you do not request a hearing or the DMV hearing is not won, you may be able to apply for a restricted license, after a 30-day suspension, that allows you to drive to and from work, school, doctor appointments, and DUI school. You may also be able to get an IID restricted license. If you want to fight the automatic license suspension, you only have 10 days to request a hearing with the DMV. Lynn Gorelick has been successful in preventing suspended licenses. An attorney can easily request your DMV hearing for you.
What is a DMV Administrative Hearing?
Your license suspension is part of an administrative process and separate from the criminal proceeding. After a DUI arrest, your license will be automatically suspended after 30 days unless you request an administrative per se (APS) hearing. You only have 10 days to request an APS hearing after a DUI arrest or you waive your right to a hearing. During the DMV hearing, your attorney can challenge your license suspension.
What are the penalties for a DUI in California?
The penalties for a DUI in California depend on your criminal history and other factors. A first-time DUI that did not involve an injury may result in the following penalties:
- Up to 6 months in jail
- Fines of up to $1,000
- 6 months suspended license
- Ignition Interlock Device (IID) restricted license
- DUI school
- Probation for 3 to 5 years
What will happen to my insurance rates?
A DUI conviction will likely result in an increase in your car insurance rates. You will generally need an SR-22 certificate of financial responsibility after a DUI. Your insurance rates may increase as much as double, depending on your driving record and coverage limits. Your rates may remain elevated for at least 7 years while the DUI is on your driving record.
Should I have refused to submit to a chemical test?
Refusing a chemical test after a California DUI arrest may result in losing your license. Under California's “implied consent” laws, you have effectively consented to give a chemical test sample if you are arrested for a DUI. A first-time refusal will lead to a one-year license suspension. A second offense carries a 2-year suspension and a 3-year suspension for a third offense.
There are legal defenses to a refusal of a chemical test. Lynn Gorelick has been successful in defending refusal hearings at the DMV.
Are roadside field sobriety tests reliable?
Roadside field sobriety tests can be very unreliable. The standardized field sobriety tests (SFSTs) in California include the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN), Walk-and-Turn, and One-Leg-Stand tests. These tests suffer from a number of reliability problems, including the driver's medical conditions, physical limitations, environmental concerns, improper instructions, and improper evaluation.
Are breathalyzers or preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) devices reliable?
Field breathalyzers are known as Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS) devices in California. These devices can be extremely unreliable but, in certain circumstances, can be used for evidentiary purposes in California criminal cases. However, the police rely on them to give probable cause for an arrest and a prosecutor may try and use the test results as leverage to get you to plead guilty to a DUI. You have a right to refuse a PAS test. As long as you are over 21 and are not currently on probation for a DUI, you do not have to submit to a PAS test.
A PAS can show a sober driver to be over the limit and even show a highly intoxicated driver to be under the legal limit. These devices can malfunction, be subject to contamination, operator error, or be triggered by innocent causes. Your field breathalyzer test should not be used as the basis for pleading guilty to criminal charges.
How do the police test for drugs in a DUI?
If the police arrest you on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs, they may request a blood or urine sample to test for the presence of drugs. Blood or urine samples are taken and analyzed for the presence of a number of drugs or drug indicators. This includes testing for the presence of opioids, THC or THC metabolites, amphetamines, or cocaine.
However, even if your blood or urine tests come back clean, the prosecutor may still try and charge you with driving under the influence based on testimony from the Drug Recognition Expert (DRE). They may argue that you were under the influence of a substance or drugs that were not tested for in the standard chemical DUI test.
If you refuse a chemical test, you may face losing your license for a year. Even if you no drugs in your system and are not convicted of a DUI, you can lose your license for refusing a chemical test after a DUI arrest.
What are some defenses to DUI charges?
There are a number of possible defenses to criminal DUI charges. Your defenses will depend on your individual case. Possible defenses include:
- Police pulled you over without cause
- Chemical breath test device was not calibrated
- Breath test device was not operated properly
- Medical reasons for failing field sobriety tests
- Field sobriety tests not given proper directions
- Chemical test contamination
- Police illegally searched your vehicle
- You were not driving
Your DUI defense attorney will review your case and investigate the circumstances surrounding your DUI arrest. Your attorney can advise you on your best defenses and how to challenge the prosecutor's case and fight your DUI charges.
How should I choose a DUI lawyer?
When choosing an East Bay DUI defense attorney, you should find someone you can trust. Contact the attorney and talk to them before deciding whether you want them to represent you. An experienced attorney understands the charges you are facing, the consequences of a conviction, and will advocate for what is best for you.
Lynn is the Past President of the California DUI Lawyers Association and on the faculty of the National College of DUI Defense. She understands how to approach the individual facts of each case for the greatest chance of success, keeping her clients out of jail, keeping their license and maintaining a clean record. Whether you have been arrested in Oakland, Berkeley, Pleasanton, Danville, Richmond or anywhere else in Contra Costa or Alameda Counties, contact Lynn Gorelick who understands you do not have to plead guilty just because you were arrested. Lynn is available to help you with your case. Call 510-785-1444 or 925-847-3006 for a free convenient phone appointment.