With Stagecoach and other concerts coming up a lot of people will not use good judgment and will drink too much and get stopped by the CHP or Riverside Sheriffs. The most common question I get from a DUI caller is what is going to happen after they have been arrested?
Initially the caller must understand that a DUI is a criminal offense that kicks into play 2 separate proceedings……….one is the Court proceeding and the other is the DMV hearing. Because this is new to almost all callers it is important they understand the many different parts of the two proceedings.
The following is a 9 step synopsis:
Arrest, Booking and Custody: After your arrest the officer will take your license under the “Stop and Snatch” law and take you to jail where you will remain for 4-6 hours in a holding tank…normally. You will be fingerprinted and your picture will be taken for booking. The officer will give you a pink piece of paper in exchange for your CDL. This is your temporary license for 30 days. You are normally released on your own promise to return called an OR release though sometimes a bail will be set on a more serious DUI.
Field Sobriety Tests and Chemical Tests: You will be asked to submit to a Field Sobriety Test at the scene as well as a breath test. Both are OPTIONAL and you can courteously opt not to take them. You would then consent to a Blood Test at the station or hospital.
DMV Hearing Request: One must be requested within 10 days of your arrest or you will lose the right to do so. This is set forth on the pink Temporary License you received when they snatched your driver’s license. Though you can do this yourself you are better off having your lawyer request the DMV date.
Retain a Local Attorney: For DUI’s in the greater Palm Springs area you should retain a LOCAL DUI attorney and not one from LA, OC or SD. They will not know the local DA’s and Judges and how to work the local system. Your lawyer will review the police report to look for a way to get their foot in the door to keep it from closing on the driver and having DMV suspend the defendant’s driving privileges. DUI’s can be complex and you need someone to review all the paperwork with a fine tooth comb.
DMV Hearing, Telephonic vs In Person: They can be in person or telephonic. When you request it your attorney will ask for a STAY. Thus your temporary license will be valid until the results of the DMV hearing which will be about 45 days later. At the hearing your side has the opportunity to present their case and subpoena witnesses, including the arresting officer. However today you often have to pay a fee to get the officer to come to the hearing. Your attorney can argue for your license and driving privileges and DMV will then rule on whether or not the arresting officer had reasonable cause to take your license. The hearing officer is both the prosecutor and bench officer. They will not rule at the hearing but instead send you a notice through the mail.
1st Appearance: It is called an Arraignment and you either plead guilty or NOT guilty. We always plead not guilty to get copies of discovery………police report, maintenance records regarding the chemical test and copies of the video in the patrol car to see if it shows how well you were walking and performing the tests. Thus the judge gives us another date for a Pre Trial. This arraignment stage is where you are formally charged with a DUI and a Driving with a .08 or higher Blood Alcohol level. Both charges are filed on all DUI’s.
Pre Trial: This is the stage where some DA’s will offer a plea bargain. However the DA’s in Indio have marching orders to not reduce any charge and to request a maximum jail sentence. This is also the time when your lawyer can make a Motion to Suppress Evidence under penal code section 1538.5. At the suppression hearing your attorney can fight to have certain parts or all of the DA’s evidence thrown out… if your rights were violated.
Trial: Your case can be tried by a Judge or a Jury. Either way your lawyer can present evidence that will aid your argument and cross examine the prosecution’s witnesses to poke holes in their case.
Sentencing: The jury will decide if you are guilty and the Judge will impose a sentence if you are found guilty. In the Indio Court the sentencing demanded by the DA is a jail sentence starting with 10 days in jail and going up for each .1 of a reading over .10. Thus a .12 is 12 days and a .18 is 18 days in custody. We would then work to trade that for home arrest with an ankle bracelet where you would be allowed to go to work for 8-12 hours a day and be home the balance of the time.