Navigating the DUI Process in California: What to Expect and How to Defend Yourself
Being charged with a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) in the state of California can have serious consequences. It is important to understand the legal process and what to expect if you are facing such charges.
The first step in the process is the arrest. A person may be arrested if a law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe that the person was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Once arrested, the person will be taken to a police station for booking and will typically be held until they sober up or until they can be released on bail. If you were involved in a collision, you will be taken to a nearby hospital and provided with a criminal citation with a future date of appearance in court.
After the arrest, the person will be charged with a DUI. The exact charges will depend on the circumstances of the case and the person's prior criminal history. In California, a first-time DUI offense is generally considered a misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of six months in county jail, a fine of up to $3,000, and a six-month driver's license suspension.
Once charged, the person will be given a court date for an arraignment. At the arraignment, the person will enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. If the person pleads guilty, they will be sentenced immediately. If they plead not guilty, a trial date will be set.
If the person chooses to go to trial, the prosecution will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person was driving under the influence. The person will also have the opportunity to present a defense and call witnesses to testify on their behalf. If the person is found guilty, they will be sentenced. If they are found not guilty, they will be acquitted and the charges will be dismissed.
It is important to note that a DUI conviction in California can have long-term consequences, including increased insurance rates, difficulty finding employment, and the possibility of future legal issues. It is also important to know that the consequence of a DUI conviction will vary depending on the severity of the case and the offender's criminal history.
If you are facing DUI charges in California, it is essential to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help you understand the charges against you, the potential consequences, and your legal options. With the right legal representation, you may be able to reduce the charges or penalties you face, or even have the case against you dismissed altogether.
If you are charged with a DUI, make sure to consult with a local attorney to determine next steps. Attorney Monty Randhawa is an experienced DUI attorney in San Diego, California.
*Please note that when charged with a DUI, there is also a DMV administrative hearing that is separate and apart from the Court case. See the blog on DMV administrative (APS) hearings here.