I’ve Just Been Arrested For A DUI. Now What?
The following are answers to questions we frequently get from people who have recently been arrested for a DUI, or when someone close to them has been arrested for a DUI. This section is intended to assist you with some of the basics and provide some insight as to where you should begin.
At any point in your research, feel free to call our office at (619) 930-5490 if you have further questions. There will always be a highly experienced and very well informed member of the firm to talk to you.
Q: I was arrested for DUI – what do I do first?
A: Consult an attorney. You have a few matters that must be completed in a short amount of time. When you were released from custody you were probably given a few documents. One should have been a pink temporary license. Even if you have an out-of-state license, this pink piece of paper informs you of your right to an administrative hearing through the DMV. It is important to note that you only have 10 days from the date of arrest to request this administrative hearing.
The DMV hearing is our first opportunity to receive police reports and other important documents that will be important in fighting your case. Further, some discovery is difficult to obtain if you have not hired an attorney, such as the video from the police vehicle.
If you posted bail, you will receive a bail receipt that will have your first court date. This is your arraignment date. If you do not retain an attorney to help you with your case, you will need to appear in court on that date.
If you completed a breath test, you may have received a printout of the results. If you submitted to a blood test, it can take several weeks to get your results.
When you are calling to schedule an appointment to meet with prospective attorneys, be sure to bring all of this information with you.
Q: Am I allowed to drive?
A: It depends. If you had a valid license at the time of your arrest, your license is still valid. While the officer likely took your license, the pink temporary will be your license for 30 days. If you schedule a DMV hearing, then you may be able to get a temporary license that is good until the DMV makes its decision to suspend or not.However, if an administrative hearing through the DMV is not requested within 10 days, your privilege to drive in California will automatically be suspended 30 days after your arrest. This applies to both California and out-of-state licensed drivers.
Q: Why do I need to schedule a DMV Hearing if I have a court date?
A: A DUI is actually two cases: one case at the DMV and one in court, both of which are completely separate. First, your DMV hearing is the only opportunity you will have to contest your license suspension. You have a right to discovery and you can subpoena the arresting officer at the DMV Hearing.The second phase of your DUI is the criminal case. In most DUI cases, the prosecutor will file a complaint against you. Once you are released, you will be given a court date. This is called your arraignment, which you will have to attend unless you hire an attorney. The DMV and Court are entirely separate and both will issue penalties if you are convicted.
Q: Should I consult an attorney?
A: Yes. Have you heard that phrase “You get what you pay for” or “good lawyers aren’t cheap, and cheap lawyers aren’t good”? Both are true. An experienced DUI Firm will be able to help you determine how a DUI will impact you and whether you need an attorney. People frequently face additional penalties beyond the criminal consequences.
A DUI can have an impact beyond the courtroom. Many people have a career, education, or immigration status on the line. A DUI can affect your career, education, immigration status, and professional licenses. An experienced DUI Firm can help you avoid or minimize the impact a DUI has on your life and your future.
When faced with DUI charges in San Diego, you have options. First, you can hire an attorney or see if you qualify for a public defender. But, even if you think a public defender is right for you, you should consult an experienced DUI Firm because a public defender will not handle your DMV hearing for you. Second, you have your choice on what attorney to hire. You should only hire an exclusive DUI Firm.
You are not automatically given a Public Defender free of charge—you must meet specific financial qualifications. On the day of court you will have to fill out financial paperwork in court to determine if you qualify for the services of the Public Defender. A Public Defender, however, cannot assist you with your DMV hearing.
San Diego is fortunate to have some very talented Public Defenders. In fact, DUI San Diego, LLP provides training for San Diego Public Defenders. However, large caseloads tend to require juggling of numerous cases across a broad spectrum of criminal charges.
We have built our rock solid reputation in the San Diego community by being up-front and honest with people that come in a talk with us. Please feel free to use this site as a resource guide and call when you’re ready to ask questions, we’re here to help.
Q: Will I be charged to speak to a lawyer about my DUI case?
A: No. Not in our office. You will never be charged for an initial consultation with our office. Speaking with a knowledgeable attorney is important. Our goal is to educate you, to encourage you to explore all of your options, and to allow you to make a well informed decision about the next steps in your case and with the DMV.
Q: What will happen on my first court date and do I have to be there?
A: Your first court date is called your Arraignment. If you have hired an attorney to represent you on misdemeanor charges, you do not have to be present. However, if you have not hired an attorney, you will have to be in court on that date. If you are being charged with a felony, then you will need to be at every court date—even if you have retained an attorney to help you.At the arraignment your attorney will plead you “not guilty” and set a new hearing date. This next hearing date is called a Readiness Conference. There will typically be a series of these readiness conferences prior to the resolution of your case.
Q: I am in the military. Do I need to inform my command?
A: Yes. Members of the military often face more severe penalties when charged with a DUI. But, not telling your command that you were arrested for a DUI can exacerbate those consequences and make matters worse. For example, if you fail to inform command, then you can face a court martial without the option for NJP, and you can face additional military charges as well. Therefore, you should speak with an experienced DUI Defense Firm to discuss your options.
Q: I was involved in an accident. Do I need to call my insurance?
A: You may have to deal with your insurance at some point if you were involved in an accident. But, it is important you speak with an experienced DUI Defense Firm before you make any statements to your insurance. Insurance statements are recorded and any statement you make may be used against you. Not only can this complicate the criminal case, it can cause your insurance to not cover the claim. Also, you do not want to make any inaccurate statements, and we can provide guidance because we assist with insurance statements routinely.
Q: Do I need to tell my employer I have been arrested for DUI?
A: Probably not. Most private employers do not require their employees to disclose a criminal arrest. However, in some situations, you will need to disclose the conviction to your employer. You will want to speak with an Exclusive DUI Defense Firm to discuss whether or not you have an obligation to tell your employer.
Q: I was involved in an accident and someone was injured. Will I be charged with a Felony?
A: Maybe. You can be charged with Felony DUI whenever anyone other than yourself is injured. Even if the injuries were to a friend and their injuries are minor, you can still be charged with a felony. Penalties for a Felony DUI can be severe because your can face time in prison.
Q: Aren’t the police supposed to read me my Miranda rights?
A: It seems like common sense that an officer must read you your Miranda rights. Although this is true in a situation where you are being interrogated, for purposes of DUI, you don’t have that same right. Many times an officer will ask you questions prior to administering field sobriety tests and placing you under arrest. These questions have been classified as “pre-investigatory” questions and are not subject to Miranda. Therefore, it is important you speak with an experience DUI Defense Firm to know whether or not the failure to read you your rights will affect your case.
Q: I was not drunk. Can I be charged with DUI for smoking marijuana or taking prescription medications?
A: If you were arrested for DUI but didn’t have alcohol in your system, you can still be charged with DUI. There are a number different charges associated with misdemeanor and felony DUI. You can be charged with an (f) count if you consumed any intoxicating drugs, regardless of whether they are illegal or prescription. But, if you were under the influence of both alcohol and drugs, then you can be charged with an (e) count for driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol.