What To Do If You Are Arrested for a DUI in California

Request A DMV Hearing Within 10 Days

If you’re arrested for driving under the influence, you have 10 days to request a hearing with the Department of Motor Vehicles. If you do not, you lose your right to the hearing. What makes it crucial that you request a hearing? In most counties, you won’t have your first court appearance for 45 to 90 days from the date of arrest, which means up to 3 months may have passed before you or your attorney can even review the police report. If you fail to request a DMV hearing, your license will automatically be suspended 30 days after your arrest. If you request a DMV hearing, you’re entitled to obtain “discovery,” which generally includes the police reports. You might be also entitled to a “stay” of your license suspension, meaning you get to keep driving until the DMV comes to a decision regarding whether to suspend your license.

Hire A DUI Attorney

Your attorney will most likely obtain the police reports and blood or breath results within two to four weeks of your request for a DMV hearing. After going over these reports, your attorney can issue DMV subpoenas to acquire records associated with the stop and arrest, including any records regarding maintenance and calibration of the breath machine or documents relating to the validity of the blood test, as well as numerous other documents that might be vital to the defense of your case. If the records aren’t produced quickly, and most aren’t, your attorney can obtain a continuance of the DMV hearing, which means you are allowed to  driving.

Use The Information Obtained Through Discovery To Fight The DMV

Using the information obtained through subpoenas, your attorney is armed to fight the DMV to disprove any one of the elements they need to prove to suspend your license. The DMV must prove you were driving a vehicle, and your blood alcohol level was 0.08% or higher, and that you were lawfully arrested. If any one of these things can’t be proven, or if any number of possible technical errors were made, the DMV won’t suspend your driver’s license.

Fight The Court Case

Your attorney will usually have your case assessed by the time of the first court appearance if he or she used the DMV subpoenas to obtain the necessary information in a timely manner. Your attorney can then file appropriate motions, negotiate a plea agreement, or set the matter for trial.

Make Sure Your Attorney Considers Potential Consequences To Your Career

A DUI conviction is capable of having adverse consequences on your career or even your future career. For instance, if you’re licensed by any state or federal agency, which includes nurses, EMTs, attorneys, physicians, law enforcement officers and others, driving under the influence conviction could potentially  the suspension or revocation of your license. If you aren’t yet licensed, but plan to seek a license someday, a DUI conviction could preclude you from acquiring a license.