If you or your loved one has been arrested for DUI in California, the first thing that should cross your mind is getting the right DUI attorney. The DUI process is not easy to navigate alone. But with the help of an experienced attorney, you may be able to go through it successfully. Again, you need guidance and support in dealing with the grave situation you will be in after arrest. A DUI charge is not simple and could leave you serving a long time in jail and paying hefty penalties.
Therefore, hiring an experienced Moreno DUI attorney is advisable if you do not want to face the grave consequences of a California DUI conviction. A well-skilled DUI attorney will utilize his/her skills and experience in ensuring that the court either drops or reduces your charges.
Find The Right Moreno DUI Attorney to Hire
The choice of a DUI attorney can significantly affect the outcome of your DUI case. That is why there are several considerations you should have in mind while hiring a DUI attorney to represent you throughout the DUI process. Some of these considerations include:
The most important thing when hiring a legal expert is to consider their area of specialization. An attorney that is trained and experienced in handling DUI cases will be in a better position to help you navigate the state's DUI process. For that reason, go for an attorney who only handles DUI cases. He/she will also dedicate all their time to your case to ensure its success.
As mentioned above, California's legal systems are quite complex, and only an experienced attorney can navigate them with ease. The DUI process is long, with so many processes in between. You need to work alongside an attorney who has gone through the same process again to get it right. There are trials to attend, hearings to request, documents to file, and so much more that you do not need to miss out. An experienced attorney will ensure that everything is moving on smoothly for a successful end.
How successful is the Moreno DUI attorney you are about to hire? This may determine the outcome of your case. An attorney who has successfully handled other DUI cases in the past is likely to give you a promising result. Most DUI attorneys with good reputations are those with close working ties with prosecutors and judges. These will be in a better position to negotiate a favorable outcome of your case. If the court cannot drop your charges, maybe because of the overwhelming evidence against you, you may be able to get a charge reduction.
Lastly, you would like to work closely with an attorney who will be available throughout the legal process. A DUI arrest can be inconveniencing, especially if you have things to attend to. If you are an employee, for instance, a student, or a family person, you do not want to spend a minute longer behind bars. Quick intervention by your attorney will ensure that you are getting back to your daily routine in no time. Again, if your charges are grave, you may suffer emotional distress if you are left alone to deal with them. Your attorney is not just there for legal guidance but also to offer you emotional support during the time you need it most.
Stages of a California DUI for a Skilled Moreno DUI Attorney
There are several stages of California DUI that you need to go through for a successful outcome of your case. DUI laws in the state keep changing, and so, only an experienced attorney will understand what to do after your arrest. Again, you do not want to go through the overwhelming process alone, when you already have so much going on in your mind. Here are important processes that your experienced DUI attorney can help you with:
The DUI Investigation
California DUI investigation can be confusing, especially to a first DUI offender. There are mainly three main ways in which the police will investigate whether or not you are operating a vehicle under the influence:
- An officer will stop you if you have committed a traffic offense
- An officer will stop you if he/she notices that there is something amiss with your vehicle. It could be an expired tag or a damaged headlight
- You may have been involved in a car accident, and police officers were called at the scene
In all of these instances, the police will ask you a series of questions as they observe your behavior to determine whether or not you were operating a vehicle under the influence. If you show any signs of intoxication, or there was a smell of alcohol coming from your breath, you may be asked to submit to a field sobriety test.
There is always confusion when a person is being suspected of drunk driving, and so, you may need the help and guidance of a skilled DUI attorney. Your attorney will guide you on what to say and whether or not to submit to the roadside testing. Note that the results of the field sobriety test can cause an arrest under Section 23152a of California Vehicle Code.
If there were clear signs of intoxication during the investigation, you would be placed under arrest. A California DUI arrest is the most terrifying because you do not know what will happen to you after that. You need someone by your side who understands the DUI process to ensure that you gain back your freedom. After the arrest, the police will either take you to a police station, jail, or hospital, where you will undergo another test to determine your BAC levels. Legal guidance is needed here as well, to prevent violation of your rights.
If you did not submit to the field sobriety test, you might not face any legal consequences. However, failing to submit to testing after an arrest will come with grave consequences, including the possibility of losing your driving privileges to up to one year. Your attorney will, therefore, be there to encourage you to submit to the testing, and the best test to take, depending on your condition.
If it is determined that your BAC level was at .08% or more, you will get an additional charge to the previous drunk driving charge. The second charge will be a violation of Section 23152b of California Vehicle Code. You will also be told about the likelihood of your driver’s license suspension for 30 days, within which you must attend a hearing with the state’s DMV.
The help of an experienced Moreno DUI attorney will go a long way in ensuring that your arrest is legal and that the charges against you are genuine. Your attorney will also be there to ensure that the BAC tests are well-conducted, following all the regulations provided under California DUI laws.
Based on the circumstances surrounding your case, as well as your criminal history, you may be released the same day, following your BAC results, or you may be booked in. If released, you will be issued with a temporary driver's license to use for the 30 days your license will be suspended. Note that the suspension will only be lifted if you successfully attend a DMV hearing. The arresting officer will then submit your report to a prosecutor, who will decide whether or not to file criminal charges against you.
California DMV Hearing
Every person that has been arrested for DUI in California must go through a DMV hearing within 30 days of their arrest to determine the status of their driver's license. Once you have been arrested, the police confiscate your license, which is then sent to the state's Department of Motor Vehicles. You are expected to request a hearing within ten days after your arrest. Otherwise, you will lose your driving privileges for the period stipulated by law for the particular DUI offense you have committed.
DMV hearings can be conducted in-person or over the phone, depending on your particular situation. Once you place the request for the hearing, DMV will delay your license suspension until the outcome of the hearing is out. You need to win in this hearing as its outcome is what will determine the status of your driver’s license. For that reason, you need the right help and advice from an experienced DUI attorney.
Note that legal defense is not necessary during the DMV hearing, but the presence of an attorney can make a significant difference in its outcome. Some of the issues that will be discussed in the hearing include:
- Whether or not you believe your arrest was legal
- If your BAC was at or more than 0.08%
- If the arresting officer has probable cause to stop and arrest you for DUI
The Criminal Court Trial
Once the DMV hearing is conducted, you will then be summoned in a criminal court for a trial, where you will be charged for drunk driving. The criminal court trial and the DMV hearing are very different. being found guilty of your charges in the criminal court will come with more and graver consequences than you will face if you fail the DMV hearing. The only consequence you will face after a failed DMV hearing is the suspension of your driver's license. However, losing in the criminal court will come with such consequences as time behind bars, hefty fines, probation, and mandatory completion of a DUI program, among others.
For that reason, it is important to have the best legal defense team by your side. You need an experienced DUI attorney to plan a strong defense against your charges. An experienced attorney will also negotiate for reduced charges to minimize the penalties you are likely to face if found guilty.
If you get convicted, your case will stay in the state's legal system until you have met all the obligations provided by the court. You can either be sent to jail or prison or on probation, based on the underlying offense. Your attorney will serve an even greater role in ensuring that your rights are protected throughout the process.
Once you have been arraigned in a criminal court, you will get a chance to plead guilty or not guilty to the charges the prosecutor presents against you. The prosecutor will start by providing the evidence gathered against you. Your attorney will then be given a chance to defend you against those charges. The good thing is that there are several defense strategies an experienced attorney can use in your defense to cause the court to either drop or reduce your charges. Some of these are:
- That the breath testing equipment was faulty, hence may not have produced accurate results
- That the arresting officer did not have a probable cause to stop or arrest you
- That your arrest was not legally done
- That the prosecutor does not have enough evidence to charge you for DUI
- That the arresting officer violated your Miranda rights
- That your BAC was not above the allowed standard
If the evidence presented against you is not enough, the prosecutor is likely to give you an offer, such as a lenient sentence if you plead guilty to the offense. If you choose to plead not guilty, your attorney is expected to challenge the prosecutor’s evidence very well, to the point of convincing the jury that you are not guilty as charged.
If you choose to plead guilty to the charges, on the other hand, the case will be closed, and the judge will read your sentence.
DUI sentencing for California DUI suspects happens once the offender is found guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The sentencing is followed by penalties, which the offender must undertake for the court to close their case. The criminal court judge is the one that determines the offender's sentence. The penalties you are given are as per the gravity of the offense committed as well as your criminal record.
The most common types of penalties a DUI offender can get in California include:
The amount of money the offender will pay in fines will depend on the nature of the offense committed as well as their criminal history. A first time offender will, for instance, be required to pay a minimum fine of $390 and a maximum fine of $1,000. If the offender caused another person injury, their court fines could go up to $5,000.
Suspension or Revocation of Your Driver’s License
Every DUI offense has a maximum amount of time within which your driver's license will be suspended. A first-time DUI offender will, for instance, lose their driving privilege for a maximum of six months. If you have committed the same offense twice within ten months, your license will be suspended for a maximum of one year. More serious cases of drunk driving, especially those that involve physical injuries and property damage, could result in the revocation of one's driver's license.
Mandatory Completion of a DUI Program
This penalty is given to those DUI offenders who are believed to have a drunk or alcohol problem. The judge will order them to register and complete a rehabilitation program in a court-approved facility for a period ranging between 18 and 30 months.
The judge could also send you on probation, instead of sentencing you to jail or prison. There are mainly two types of probation; misdemeanor and felony probation. The kind of probation you get will depend on the underlying charge. If you were charged with felony DUI, for instance, you are likely to get felony probation. However, the court must first be sure that members of the public will be safe with you out of incarceration. Probation comes with certain conditions that must be adhered to for the offender to be allowed to finish part of or the entire sentence out of imprisonment. Some of them include the installation of an IID in their car and submission of regular reports on their progress to the court.
California judges do not send all DUI offenders on probation. It means that some of them are sent to jail or prison, depending on the nature of their offense. The gravity of the offense committed will also determine the length of time you will be required to stay behind bars. A first-time DUI offender is, for instance, likely to face six-month jail time if found guilty of the offense. A DUI offender that is found guilty of felony DUI is likely to face a three-year sentence behind bars.
Sentencing for California DUI offenders can be tough, but you might be lucky to get a more lenient sentence if you are working closely with an experienced DUI attorney.
Find a Moreno DUI Attorney Near Me
California DUI court process is quite complex and may be confusing for any person that is working on their own. You need a legal expert to navigate the system and help you get through it in no time. An experienced DUI attorney will also ensure that your rights are protected and that you are fairly charged. Call us at 619-535-7150 if you are in Moreno, CA, and let us make the process easy for you.