A lot of things have changed dramatically over the past 6 months. COVID-19 hit California and the East Bay hard. With some of the strictest stay-at-home orders in the country, Alameda and Contra Costa County drivers generally stayed home. Even though many of the restrictions are still in place, there are noticeably more cars on the road, and a likely increase in traffic stops and arrests.
More Cars on the Road Again
In the early months of the coronavirus, driving around the East Bay felt like going back in time 30 years, with no traffic and empty roadways. Now, more people are feeling comfortable to go about their daily lives, subject to the continuing restrictions on gatherings, mask requirements, and closed indoor bars and restaurants. This includes driving to visit friends or family, having a few drinks, then driving home.
In July, Alameda police reported 3 DUI crashes over one weekend. All of the separate events involved drivers in their 20s, with one 20-year-old arrested on suspicion of an underage DUI. One of the accidents was an injury hit-and-run involving a pedestrian. The suspect was eventually tracked down and arrested on charges of felony DUI causing bodily harm.
Alcohol and Drug Use Before, During, and After COVID
Trips to the bar may have stopped but drinking alcohol did not appear to slow down at all after the first stay-at-home orders went into place. As we wrote about in April, there may have been an increase in alcohol consumption when the pandemic hit the U.S. A Bay Area breathalyzer company found that users of their product were reportedly consuming 42% more alcohol compared to before the shelter-in-place orders.
Individuals in the East Bay had relatively easy access to alcohol and marijuana during the lockdown. Many areas declared cannabis dispensaries to be essential businesses. People also have easy access to beer, wine, and liquor at grocery stores, drug stores, and many gas stations. California even reduced restrictions on alcohol availability and delivery.
However, not surprisingly, with fewer cars on the road, there was also a drop in traffic accidents and DUI arrests. There were still traffic stops and DUI arrests during the stay-at-home orders. In addition to facing criminal charges, individuals who were arrested during shelter-in-place COVID-19 restrictions had to navigate the constantly changing criminal justice and court system.
What Should I Do After a DUI Arrest?
If you have any questions about criminal charges, arraignment, and whether you should challenge the charges against you, talk to an experienced DUI defense lawyer for immediate answers. The court rules surrounding COVID-19 are continually changing and an attorney with experience dealing with cases in the county where your arrest was made will have the up-to-date answers you need on going forward with your case.
Unfortunately, you do not have a lot of time after an arrest to wait. You may need to take immediate action as soon as you are released. Fortunately, you can get an answer to all your questions with a quick call to an experienced East Bay DUI defense lawyer. This includes handling the DMV Administrative Per Se hearing and the arraignment.
The arraignment is the court hearing where the judge reads out the charges against you and you can answer guilty or not guilty. It is recommended to have an attorney to help you answer any questions before the court or law enforcement. You can respond “not guilty” to have more time to consider your case and talk to your attorney.
The confusing part of a DUI arrest is that it leads to a suspended license even if you are never convicted of a crime. The arrest itself triggers an administrative per se license suspension after 30-days from the arrest. The only way to challenge this is to formally request a hearing to challenge the suspension. 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.
Call for Help After a DUI Arrest
If you were arrested for a DUI in the East Bay, you need to act quickly to preserve your rights. With over 36 years of experience, Lynn Gorelick will be able to help you keep your California driving privileges and resolve the criminal charges. Contact the local DUI lawyer who understands that you do not have to plead guilty just because you were arrested.