Review of Steps to Take Prior to Your DUI Arraignment
After you were arrested for driving under the influence, most will worry about how it could affect their job and personal life. The next legal step to deal with the California DUI in the court process is the arraignment hearing.
When you are arrested for DUI and detained in jail, your court arraignment will normally occur within a few days. If you are released immediately after the DUI arrest, then the arraignment date is usually set several weeks later. You should retain an attorney before your arraignment.
Many defendants will go to their arraignment with the belief they can argue their case in court and possibly get the charges dismissed, but this is not the function of the DUI arraignment.
Rather, the arraignment is where you will be told what criminal charges have been filed against you, your legal rights, along with bail status.
You will also have the opportunity to enter a plea on the charges against you, such as no contest, not guilty, or guilty.
After you enter your plea, then the hearing is over and the judge will set a trial date, assuming you pleaded not guilty.
California prosecutors have two main statutes they use to charge someone for driving under the Influence:
- Vehicle Code 23152(a) VC prohibits driving under the influence of alcohol;
- Vehicle Code 23152(b) VC prohibits driving a vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or higher.
Most people are charged with both statutes.
Vehicle Code 23153 VC defines the crime of driving under the influence causing an injury.
Most DUI cases in California are prosecuted as a misdemeanor, but the case could be filed as a felony if you have prior DUI's on your record or someone was injured.
If you were charged with a DUI, there are some steps you should take before your arraignment which are explained below by our Los Angeles DUI lawyers.
Is There Anything I Should Do Prior to My Arraignment for a DUI?
A lot of people come to my office asking what they can do before their arraignment to try to help their case if they received a DUI in Los Angeles County.
What I typically tell them is that it depends on your circumstances. If, for example, it's your third or fourth DUI, and you obviously have a bad alcohol problem.
Now you're facing a bunch of jail time or even prison time, then checking yourself into a live-in rehab program actually might be the answer to show the prosecutor that you're serious about not having any more issues in the future and maybe avoid some jail time.
If, on the other hand, it's your first-time DUI, you really don't have an alcohol problem, your blood alcohol level wasn't that high, you didn't hurt anybody, it would be up to you whether you want to check-in to a live-in program.
But, it's questionable whether it would help your case or not, because the worse you look as far as alcohol use goes, the more dangerous you appear to the prosecutors.
Then, they're going to want to put a bunch of ramifications on you and they might even want to send you to jail for a period of time to let you dry out.
Initial Strategy Meeting with a Lawyer
So, you really want to talk to your attorney about it. You don't just do the same thing every time when it comes to DUI cases.
I have a lot of people come in and tell me, this attorney told me to do this and this attorney told me to do that.
Of course. These attorneys want to get you in and get your money, so they're going to say a bunch of stuff that they think you want to hear.
Because of course, people want to do things and want to help themselves, but why do something that's not going to help you. In the case of going into a live-in program, it may even hurt you.
So, I just try to be honest with people, whether I get the case or not, I'm not going to lie to get the case. It's not the right thing to do and it's not the way that I handle it.
Sometimes there's nothing you can do leading up to the arraignment, except for hiring the best attorney you can and cooperate with that attorney.
Other times, there are some things you can do. It really just depends on:
- your criminal record,
- what happened in your DUI case,
- whether or not you truly do have an alcohol problem,
- if you got in an accident or not.
That might be an example where you'd want to do something. Obviously, get your insurance company to compensate the other party if the accident is your fault. That's definitely going to be an issue in the case.
Retain a Local DUI Attorney
But I think the biggest thing you can do is to hire somebody like me who's been practicing criminal defense and doing DUI's now for almost 30 years and has a lot of experience with how to handle these cases and what's going to make a difference to both the judge and the prosecutor.
Probably the two biggest things that they're going to be concerned about is:
- are you a danger to the public, such that they need to put restrictions and ramifications on you, and
- do you need to be punished for driving under the influence?
If you need to be punished, then they're going to try to punish you, and if it's jail time, that's probably the harshest punishment that they can come up with.
So, obviously, what I do is have you come into the office. We sit down and talk and we get a game plan together -- we get a strategy together -- so that you can end up with the best result.
So, if you want to take the best first step towards dealing with your DUI matter and getting the best result and making the right moves.
Not just doing something because somebody over the phone told you to do something, pick up the phone. Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding.
Once you hire me on the case, I'm going to do everything I can to get you the best result.
I'm going to properly advise you and direct you, so if there is something you need to so, you're going to be doing it. You and I are going to be working together and coordinating the best possible defense.
Hedding Law Firm has two office locations in Los Angeles County and we offer a free case consultation.