What Happens In The Days Following A DUI Charge?
If you’ve been charged with a DIU, the first thing you need to do is relax because there’s nothing you can do immediately to change anything. If you’ve just been arrested for a DUI, one can assume that this is the point where you’ve either been released from custody on the side of the road or you’ve been released to a friend or family member, or you may have been taken to jail or some type of a holding facility after which you’ve been released.
First and foremost you need to seek out an experienced DUI lawyer who’s familiar with the area where you were arrested or the county that you were arrested in. Primarily, you need someone who’s done this for quite some time and has the qualifications to fight for you. What you do not want to do is defend yourself. Being arrested for a DUI is a very serious offense for many reasons. It’s a misdemeanor, and in some cases, it can be a felony.
In most cases, a DIU is a misdemeanor. What’s at stake here is your privilege to drive, your criminal record, potentially your job, as well as future jobs; in fact, there are so many things that can be affected if you do not win or get the best result in your DUI case. Finding the right attorney is especially important. One of the most important things to keep in mind is to find someone that you’re comfortable with. Make sure the attorney that you do your intake interview with is the one who will be representing you because that person is going to spend a lot of time with you reviewing the facts of the case, answering your questions, understanding what your goals are and what your concerns are.
If the attorney just hands you off to another lawyer or an associate or has someone else handle the case who hasn’t talked to you, then they could miss something. Ask the attorney, whom you initially talk to, if they will be handling the case. The attorney who represents you needs to be well-qualified, which means doing mainly DUI defense or only DUI defense in the courts and with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Make sure that they are a member of the California DUI Lawyers Association and the National College for DUI Defense. If your attorney is a member of these DUI organizations, they are monitoring different defenses and seeing what’s going on, which shows that they care about defending people and are looking for ways to get the best results.
When Do DUI Defendants Typically Get In Touch With An Attorney?
Sometimes DUI attorneys get calls from people’s families while in custody awaiting bail or waiting to appear before the judge. This happens frequently in certain counties in the San Francisco Bay Area, including the North Bay counties of Sonoma and Marin. If someone’s not from the area or if there is an injury accident, there may be a felony bail, and it may be a lot harder to get out.
While in custody, the decision could be made whether to post bail or wait until court, which brings up the question about bail bondsmen. Typically, when you’re in jail, you will not be able to make a lot of phone calls because you won’t have your cell phone with you; however, there’s no reason to call an attorney right away because by the time you are in a jail cell, they’re done asking you questions about what happened. At this point, there’s really nothing that an attorney can do other than tell you, “You don’t have to do this or that,” which you’ve already probably done. The best advice to give someone who is arrested for DUI is to not answer any questions other than identifying information.
Don’t tell the officers about what you had to drink or when you did and do not submit to a field sobriety test. Only after you’re arrested are you required to do a breath or a blood test. At that point, you can do it because, if you don’t and you refuse, they’ll force you to do a blood test in most cases, and you’re looking at losing your license for a year, along with a potential DUI conviction. Expect to be in custody for four to 12 hours. After you’re released, go home, get some fluids and try and get some sleep; you will need a clear head when you’re talking to lawyers. Talking to someone, when you’ve gotten 10 minutes of sleep on a hard cement floor, does not guarantee you have all your wits about you.
With a clear head, you will remember more about what happened and can describe to the lawyer what went on, the exchange between you and the officer, the tests that were given, your drinking patterns, driving and any other particulars. There is no rush. You have 10 days from the date of arrest to request a hearing with the DMV, which is always advisable, especially if your lawyer knows how to get the hearing officer they want at the DMV. This is usually a good thing instead of relying on the luck of the draw because there are a lot of hearing officers at the DMV who aren’t necessarily following the law and may have just been told to suspend everyone’s license who comes in front of them.
In fact, there are DMV hearing officers who never set any suspensions aside. So again, have a clear head. Once you do, talk to your lawyer and have them request a DMV hearing for you unless you are up against that 10-day deadline; then you may want to do that yourself, and maybe the lawyer can change the date or who the hearing is with to give you the best chance to win your case.
For more information on Days Following A DUI Charge, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (415) 523-7878 today.
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