If you have been stopped on suspicion of DUI, your legal rights may be in jeopardy – even if a prosecutor has not yet filed formal charges against you. It is therefore important to contact an experienced DUI attorney as soon as possible after you have been stopped by law enforcement.
Contact the Hedding Law Firm immediately after a DUI stop to protect your legal rights and preserve all defenses available to you. The sooner you call, the sooner we can achieve a fair outcome to your DUI case.
What Happens After a DUI Stop?
- When an officer stops you for suspected DUI, he or she has the option for how to resolve your stop: The officer can ask you to submit to bodily fluid tests (breath, blood, urine) on the scene. Refusal to do so triggers an automatic suspension of your driver's license under the “administrative per se” DUI statutes. If you have been issued an administrative per se suspension, you have ten days to request a hearing with the Department of Motor Vehicles. It is, therefore, highly important to consult with an attorney so that you do not miss this window of opportunity to challenge your license suspension.
- If you submit to a breath test on scene and it comes back over the .08 blood alcohol limit, you will also face suspension of your driver's license. In addition, the officer will issue you a citation to appear in court. The citation is later filed with the court, as well. This is the formal filing of criminal charges against you.
- If your blood or urine is taken for testing, there will most likely not be an immediate result. Instead, the officer will send your sample to a law enforcement laboratory for testing. This does not mean that you are off the hook. If the sample comes back at greater than .08, a prosecutor will file formal criminal charges against you. You will be summoned to court by mail or process server.
- Once formal charges have been filed, your DUI attorney can begin negotiating with the prosecutor or preparing for trial as appropriate. Your attorney will need time to interview witnesses (including the arresting officer), review the prosecutor's evidence, and prepare your defense. The more time he or she has, the stronger your case will be.
As you can see, there are many steps in the DUI process, and almost all of them can have an improved outcome with the advice of an experienced DUI attorney. By getting legal advice early in the process and preparing your defense early, you will have improved chances of a successful outcome in the criminal case.
What Will an Attorney Do for Me?
Many people who have been arrested for DUI wonder how an attorney can help them. Usually, this either because they concede the fact that they were drunk or they believe that the evidence that the police gathered against them cannot be challenged.
First of all, it important to understand that the majority of DUI cases never go to trial. Instead, they are resolved through a plea bargain process in which the defendant pleads guilty in exchange for the prosecutor recommending that the judge impose a particular sentence – which usually avoids jail time or other serious consequences.
In some cases, there may be legal defenses that could result in an acquittal or the case being dropped. These include the following:
- Arguing that the initial stop was not legally justified
- Establishing that you have a medical condition that could inflate breathalyze results or cause symptoms that could be confused with those associated with alcohol intoxication
- Impeaching the credibility of the officer who arrested you
- Uncovering problems with the way your blood or urine samples were handled
Determining whether these or other defenses exist in your case is a complicated legal matter that requires significant legal training. For this reason, if you have been arrested for DUI in California, you should speak to an attorney as soon as you can. A lawyer will thoroughly evaluate your case, determine whether any defenses exist, and advise you how to proceed.