California DUI: An Overview
Being arrested for DUI can be a confusing and frightening time for anyone. You need to take the right steps immediately to ensure you have the defense you need to protect yourself and your family from DUI charges. These first steps can be vital to the final outcome of your trial, and a qualified DUI attorney will help fight for your freedom – and your license.
When you are stopped for suspicion of a DUI
When a law enforcement officer stops a vehicle and suspects that the driver may be intoxicated, the officer will conduct a “field sobriety test”, and may ask for his or her consent to some form of chemical test for intoxication.
A chemical test is required by most states and is punishable under the law if it is refused. The chemical test results in a variety of data, but most importantly it shows the current blood alcohol level of the person being tested. In the state of California, a person being tested for alcohol can choose between a Blood and a Breath test.
California has an implied consent law. By the act of driving, it is implied that the driver has consented to mandatory alcohol testing, whether of blood or breath, for the purpose of determining their blood alcoholic content, at the time of a lawful arrest for DUI.
Note: Refusing to take a breath test is a criminal violation subject to stiff penalties. Refusing a breath test may result in automatic drivers license suspension or revocation. If ultimately found guilty of a DUI, refusing this test could lead to additional penalties, over and above the DUI charges.
If you are arrested for a DUI
After being arrested for DUI, it may be necessary to post bail. Although most individuals are released without bail, some cases do require the aid of a bail bondsman. Bail bondmen require an upfront fee (under California law, the rate is set at 10% of the bail amount), and once that fee is paid, they will post bail for you. This can be expensive, but it’s far less expensive than paying the entire bail amount to the court. Bail bondsmen guarantee that you will be at your hearings. If you fail to appear, the bondsman will most likely come looking for you.
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Requesting a DMV Hearing
After the time of your arrest, you have a limited number of days (normally ten, including weekends and holidays), to make a formal request for a DMV hearing. Your DMV hearing will determine whether or not you can keep your license. If you or your attorney fails to request a DMV hearing, your license WILL be suspended automatically.
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