A California DUI carries some harsh penalties. Due to the nature of this offense — it is a clear public safety concern, our state has elected to take a tough stance. But just like any other criminal charge, there are steps that an accused can take that will help him or her in the future.
THE DUI ARREST
When there is sufficient probable cause, law enforcement may investigate and arrest an individual for a DUI. While defense attorneys can later challenge probable cause, it is wise to be respectful when stopped for suspicion of a DUI.
You should be polite and cooperative with law enforcement. It does not mean that you should waive your rights, but it will not help to be combative during the stop. Cursing, yelling, and being rude will not make the officer go away. In fact, it will be mentioned in the police report.
However, you should not volunteer information. Exercise your right to remain silent. Miranda is the landmark case, which protects statements from being admitted into evidence if there has not been an affirmative warning, but Miranda warnings only have to be given after a formal arrest. Thus, law enforcement will always utilize your statements to assess guilt before a warning. Slurred words, admissions of guilt, and memory lapses can lead to problems down the road.
AFTER THE ARREST
If you have been arrested, you should exercise your right to an attorney. There is a reason that there is law school and a bar examination. Further, there is a reason why attorneys charged with a crime will almost always retain another attorney. It is difficult for someone, under an emotional state, to represent themselves.
More than that, retaining an attorney will mean that a professional can immediately begin to protect your rights. Experience and knowledge can go a long way in fighting a DUI charge.
Schedule your DMV suspension hearing, or have your attorney do it immediately. There are two aspects to a DUI, as discussed on my website. There is the actual criminal charge handled by the superior court, and the DMV aspect of the case. They are distinct and separate, although the court can impact what the DMV will do.
Within 10 days of the arrest, a hearing needs to be scheduled. A DMV suspension hearing is a great opportunity to explore probable cause, the officer’s testimony, and other evidence that will be used against you. Do not sleep on your privileges with respect to licensing issues.
AFTER YOUR “OR” RELEASE
Finally, after you have been arrested and released under your own recognizance, exercise your right to information. The web has become a treasure trove of free legal content, including my blog and website. You should become familiar with the criminal, and DMV, process. Further, you should research potential DUI attorneys. An accused should be aware of the charge against him or her, and the consequences of that charge.
Our office invites your questions. We have experience in DUI, and other criminal cases. Remember that time is of the essence, so do not procrastinate if you or a loved one has been charged with a DUI.