What to Do After a DUI
Every DUI arrest triggers two different and independent proceedings: a criminal court case and a DMV administrative hearing. Your citation or notice to appear should advise you of when to appear for your criminal case. Scheduling a DMV hearing, however, is truly confusing, and neither the police nor the DMV do anything to make it easier.
Upon careful review of the fine print on your Temporary License, you’ll find that you have only 10 days from the date of your arrest to request a special DMV hearing. If you fail to request a hearing in this time, your driving privileges will be automatically suspended. Instead of focusing on what you should have done, you need to focus on what to do next, in order to minimize the impact of a DUI arrest.
After Your Release
The entire process—from getting pulled over and field sobriety testing to your arrest and release from custody—can happen very quickly. This is why it is important to document as much as you can about what happened throughout the entire process. Write down as much as you can remember, including:
- What happened when you were pulled over,
- What the police officer said to you,
- What the police officer said about field sobriety tests, and how they were conducted,
- What the police officer said about a preliminary alcohol screening test (breathalyzer),
- What happened during the arrest, and transportation to the police station,
- What the police officer said about providing a chemical breath test, and
- How the officer conducted the chemical breath test.
All of this information may be useful for exploring the defenses available to you in your administrative license hearing and in your criminal case. Even though police officers conduct DUI stops all the time, they may make mistakes, or take shortcuts in violation of your rights. An unconstitutional traffic stop should not lead to a criminal conviction.
Keep Your License
The first thing after a DUI arrest is to make sure you act quickly in order to keep your license to drive. After a DUI arrest, the police will take away your driver’s license and give you a piece of paper that acts as a temporary license to drive for 30 days. In this case, you only have 10 days, as opposed to the standard 30 days, to act in order to keep your license from being automatically suspended. If you look closely at the temporary license, it says you have 10 days to request a formal administrative license suspension hearing from the DMV.
The administrative license suspension is separate from the criminal proceeding. In most cases, simply being arrested for driving with a per se limit of 0.08% blood alcohol content or higher will lead to a suspension, even if you are later found not guilty of drunk driving. Your California DUI lawyer can make sure you file your DMV hearing request in time, and even represent you before you DMV hearing as well as your criminal court hearing. This is important for anyone who needs their car to get around to work or school, and can’t risk losing their license to drive.
Your DUI Defense Attorney
You can’t go back in time after a DUI arrest, but you can do something about making sure your arrest doesn’t lead to a DUI conviction. You may have a number of defenses available to your DUI charges. As long as you act fast, and contact your DUI lawyer in less than 10 days after your arrest, you stand a better chance at keeping your license to drive, and having your criminal charges reduced or dismissed. With an experienced California DUI defense lawyer in San Jose and 10 other locations by your side you won’t have to face the judge and prosecutor alone.