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Knowing Your Rights During and After a DUI Arrest

Being arrested and charged for driving under the influence can happen to anybody.  Most people don’t even think they are doing anything wrong when they get pulled over.  Think about this scenario, you are at dinner with some friends, you have a couple beers, or a couple glasses of wine.  You feel perfectly fine, and completely sober after the meal is over.  You get into your car and start driving.  Right before you almost get home you get pulled over for what you think is a stop sign violation or speeding, or even a busted taillight.  Out of no where, the officer asks you if you have been drinking and that is when you panic.  You know you had a couple drinks, but you’re not drunk, and even though the cop wasn’t with you, you feel like he knows you were drinking so you don’t know what to say.  You start to sweat, you have a bright flashlight in your face, and you feel like you are about to go to jail.  What do you do now? What are your rights? What happens next?

Knowing your rights and how to handle this situation is extremely important.  First off, it is important to note that California has what is called implied consent.  This means that you consent to a chemical test after a DUI arrest and refusing the test will have unfortunate implications such as a suspended license and enhanced jail time.  However, you are NOT required to take the initial test when the officer pulls you over as long as you are 21 years of age or older.   When you get pulled over, you do not have to answer the officer’s questions and you can refuse the field sobriety test and/or breathalyzer.  This cannot be used against you as an indication of guilt.

Once the officer arrests you for a DUI, you must submit to the chemical test.  You may refuse the chemical tests, however even with a refusal, you can still be charged with driving under the influence, with an additional charge for refusing the test.  This will only enhance the punishment against you and your license will automatically be suspended by the DMV for the refusal.  It should also be noted that this type of suspension from the DMV does not qualify for a restricted license.

There are some potential positives that can come from refusing the test after the DUI arrest.  For starters, outside of the officer’s observations, there is no other evidence indicative of your guilt.  In some DUI cases the prosecution may see this as a problem and it can be a helpful negotiating tool. In any event, you need to use your best judgment and see what is best action for your case.  Unfortunately, there is not right to a lawyer during the time after a DUI arrest and before the chemical test is administered.

In any event, whether you take the test or refuse it, the arrest MUST be lawful.   Even if you fail the tests, if the arrest was not lawful from the beginning, then the test results will be thrown out.

So now you have been arrested, you’re in jail, what do you do next?  If possible, try and bail out.  A lot of times people do not know a bail bondsman but they know a lawyer.  Nasseri Legal can help you secure bail with a reputable bondsman and get you out of jail quickly.

From the time you are arrested, you have 10 days to schedule a hearing with the DMV to try and save your license.  The officers will not tell you this, but it is in the fine print of the paperwork you get when you are arrested.  Most people are unaware of this procedure.  If you do not schedule a hearing within 10 days, the DMV will suspend your license.  Remember, with DUI cases, there are two separate cases, one with the DMV and the other is a criminal case.  If you are having the Public Defenders office handle your case, they typically do not get involved with the DMV, so do not think they will handle everything.

If you win your criminal case, it is still possible to have your license suspended by the DMV.  There are different standards of proof for the two cases and unfortunately, your license can still be suspended.

Once the DUI criminal case begins, you have different options depending on the facts of your particular DUI case.  NO TWO CASES ARE THE SAME.  Never judge what will happen with you case based on what happened in someone else’s case.   This isn’t just true about DUI cases, it is true about any case, criminal or civil.  You can either take a deal in your case, or take it to trial.  Either way, it is important to have a good attorney on your side to defend your rights.

If you or a loved one has been arrested for a DUI, whether alcohol or drug related, contact Nasseri Legal immediately.  We can secure a hearing with the DMV, walk you through the case, and keep you informed every step of the way.  Nasseri Legal can provide aggressive and competent representation for your DUI case.  Call now to schedule your free consultation with our office.

 

*This article should not be construed as legal advice or constitute any implied or express representation.