What do I do after a DUI arrest?

As a DUI defense attorney, I receive more questions about what to do after being pulled over for a DUI than any other topic. These questions don’t come from just past and present clients. They come from friends, family, and people I have literally just met for the first time after they find out I am a defense attorney. This blog will focus on what to do after you have been arrested for DUI in Los Angeles or Orange County. In the future, I will discuss typical scenarios for what the police will do before deciding on whether or not to arrest someone for DUI. 

WHEN AM I ACTUALLY UNDER ARREST FOR DUI?

If an officer has pulled you over on a traffic stop, at a DUI checkpoint, or for some other reason, you are generally not under arrest at that time. If an officer asks you questions about drinking, driving, or other investigative questions, then you are still not under arrest. Generally, an officer is supposed to wait until they have probable cause before making an arrest for DUI. This will mean that they believe you may be under the influence of alcohol or drugs and have been driving. An officer will usually tell you that they are placing you under arrest. If an officer places you under arrest, your rights have changed from before the arrest.

WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO AND WHAT CAN I REFUSE AFTER BEING ARRESTED FOR DUI?

Before you are arrested for driving under the influence, you have the right to refuse to answer questions about your drinking and driving, as well as the right to refuse any field sobriety tests (FSTs). One of the FSTs that is generally offered is called a preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) test. The PAS test is essentially a breath alcohol test. This is another test that can be refused. But after you are arrested for DUI, the officer will then inform you that you now must submit either a blood or breath alcohol test. If you refuse to submit to either test, the officer will then inform you that the consequences of refusing to submit to an evidentiary test will include the suspension of your driver’s license for one year. The refusal may also be added as an enhancement on DUI charges by the prosecuting agency and your refusal can be used against you in a criminal trial.

SHOULD I DO A BREATH TEST OR BLOOD TEST?

This is another common question that I receive from friends and clients. Both tests are admissible to be used against you in court by police and prosecutors. Breath tests results will occasionally be suppressed if the machine has not been properly operated, maintained, or tested. Blood tests can also be contested if proper protocol was not followed. While these issues should be investigated thoroughly, protocol is properly followed more often than not, no matter what some attorneys may claim. Blood tests may be preferable for a very simple reason; they take longer to execute. A blood test will require an individual who is trained on taking blood (phlebotomist) rather than just an officer operating a breath machine present in most police stations. This extra 30 minutes to two hours may result in a drop in blood alcohol results that may help make a difference in future negotiations or filing decisions.

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER I SUBMIT A BREATH OR BLOOD ALCOHOL TEST?

After you have submitted a DUI evidentiary test, the police agency will generally book you into custody and you will spend some time in jail. Most of the time, you will be released after the police believe you no longer are under the influence. In some instances, the police may require you to post bail in order to be released. Whether you are released with or without posting bail, you will be provided a notice to appear in court on a future date upon your release from jail. The police will also provide you with paperwork that functions as your temporary license since the police will generally confiscate your driver’s license after a DUI arrest.

WHAT SHOULD I DO AFTER I AM RELEASED FROM JAIL AFTER A DUI ARREST?

After you are released from custody for a DUI arrest, the first call you should make is to a DUI defense attorney with experience in your area. Generally, the initial deadline to be concerned with is the need to contact the DMV driver’s safety office within 10 calendar days from the arrest date to request a DMV hearing. If you fail to contact the DMV, then your license will automatically be suspended by the DMV. If you schedule a hearing, then the suspension will be put on hold until either a ruling is made after the DMV hearing or a conviction has occurred in court. An experienced DUI attorney will handle both the DMV hearing process as well as in court representation. In the majority of Los Angeles and Orange County DUI cases, a DUI attorney can appear for you in court and you will not need to attend the initial court date.

WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR IN HIRING A DUI DEFENSE LAWYER?

The most important aspect of hiring a DUI defense attorney is to speak directly to the attorney who will actually be handling your case in court. Many attorneys outsource the actual courtroom representation to less experienced associates. Make sure that the attorney has actual DUI experience and can explain to you in detail about how both the court and DMV process will play out. If an attorney can not do this, then they are likely to be unable to effectively represent you in court. If the attorney comes across as inexperienced, arrogant, or insincere, then this is likely exactly how they will appear to prosecutors, DMV personnel, and judges. For more tips on what to look for in hiring a DUI attorney, read my blog on DUI consultations. https://www.tyanislaw.com/blog/dui-consultations-dont-believe-hype/

CONTACT ME TODAY

I encourage you to reach out today and tell me more about the specifics of your situation. As a former senior district attorney in Los Angeles and Orange County, I have handled DUIs of every type imaginable across both counties. I have previously been asked by police agencies to conduct training on DUI defense and have won awards for client satisfaction. My commitment is to skilled, ethical, and vigorous representation for all of my clients. I look forward to hearing from you and helping you out in this stressful time.


Recent Posts