Top 10 Things to Do After Your DUI Arrest:
One of the most common questions our DUI clients will ask us is, “What should I do now?” Here is a list of things you can do that will help you with both your criminal DUI case and your DMV case.
- Do Not Talk to The Police
Once the police have decided to arrest you for DUI, there is nothing you can say to get the police to change their minds. Likewise, there is nothing you can say that will prevent the prosecutor from filing or pursuing charges once you have been arrested. Even if you have a strong alibi or other evidence indicating innocence, you should not speak with the police. If the police have already arrested you, they will simply assume that you are lying or that your evidence is fabricated. You should share this evidence/information with your attorney, who can decide the best way to use it to your benefit.
It is never a good idea to talk to the police without your lawyer present. If the police ask you to talk about your DUI arrest, you should decline and ask to speak with your lawyer.
- Call the DMV Right Away
In California, a DUI arrest will start two different cases: (1) the criminal case (in the Superior Court) and (2) the DMV Administrative Per Se (APS) case.
The criminal case officially begins when the prosecutor files charges after receiving the police report. This can take some time, as the prosecutor has one year from the date of arrest to file charges. The police will typically give you a date to return to court for your initial court appearance (called an arraignment) when you are released from jail.
However, you have to actively request a hearing for you DMV APS case. You only have 10 days from the date of arrest to request the hearing. If you do not request a hearing within 10 days, your license will automatically be suspended. You need to call the phone number on the pink temporary license that the police gave you when you release from jail. If you need help with this, call us right away and we will help you request a hearing. Read here about the DMV APS hearing.
- Consult With An Experienced DUI Attorney
If you have been arrested for a DUI, you probably have a lot of questions. That's why you are reading this article right now. Many of your questions can be answered after a simple consultation with an attorney. Many attorneys will offer a completely free initial consultation. You should seek out an attorney with experience handling DUI cases specifically, as DUI cases can be very complicated.
We offer free consultations. These consultations are completely confidential, so you can tell us everything that happened and it cannot be used against you. If you have been arrested for a DUI in Monterey or Santa Cruz County, do not hesitate to give us a call for a consultation. We can answer your questions.
- Record the Details Of What Happened
As soon as you are released from jail, you should record all of the details you can remember about your arrest (and what happened prior to your arrest). You should either write this down or save it as a voice memo on your phone. You should write down every single thing you can remember from the time the police show up to the time you leave jail.
Here are some questions you should try to answer to yourself: What did you say to the police? How did you first encounter the cops? If you were pulled over, what reason did the police give you for pulling you over? Did the police say anything else about your driving? Did they ask you to get out of the car, or did the order you to get out of the car? Did they ask you to do the Field Sobriety Tests, or did the tell you to do them? If you did the field sobriety tests, which ones did you do? How did you do on them? Did you give a breath sample? How many? Did the police give you a choice between a breath and blood test? Did the police ask you to make a statement after you were arrested?
- Identify Potential Witnesses
Chances are that if you were arrested for DUI, you were either coming from a restaurant, a bar, or a friend's home. Most likely, you were with people before you were arrested. Once you are released from jail, you should start creating a list of places where you were and people you were with. In a standard misdemeanor DUI case, the police will not do any investigation after you have been arrested. (The police will assume that they have all of the evidence they need to convict you.) However, you may be able to find witnesses that will help your case. Your attorney can contact these witnesses and see if they have any information that can help. For example, the people you were with may be able to testify that you did not have much (or anything) to drink or that you were not under the influence before you got behind the wheel.
- Gather Potential Evidence
In addition to potential witnesses, there may be other evidence available to help your case. For example, if you were at a bar or restaurant before your DUI arrest, you can request a copy of your bill; this can help prove that you were not under the influence while driving. You can also see if the restaurant has any security cameras that may help prove that you did not have too much to drink. However, you should only share this information with your attorney. If your attorney thinks the evidence is helpful, your attorney will know what to do with it.
- Decide If You Will Retain A Private Attorney or Use the Public Defender
When you are arrested for DUI, the police will usually give you your first court date. This is usually written on your arrest citation. If you want to hire a private attorney, you should hire that attorney prior to the arraignment. You can always hire a private attorney after the arraignment as well but doing so before the arraignment will give your attorney the best chance of success.
In California, if you cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint the Public Defender to represent you. Although the Public Defender's offices are filled with excellent attorneys, the Public Defender handles hundreds of cases and is extraordinarily busy. You may find it difficult to get a lot of attention from the Public Defender.
Additionally, if you are represented by the Public Defender, you will have to physically show up to all of your court dates. If you have been charged with a misdemeanor (most DUI's are misdemeanors), and you hire a private attorney, the private attorney can appear on your behalf. Therefore, when thinking about paying to hire a private attorney, you should consider the fact that you will likely not have to miss work if you hire a private attorney.
- Listen to Your Attorney
Whether you hire a private attorney, or you are assigned the Public Defender, it is imperative that you listen to the advice your attorney gives you. Your attorney is ethically bound to have a duty of loyalty to you. Your attorney has an obligation to only act in your interest. As such, it is very important that you trust your attorney. Before you hire an attorney, you need to make sure that you can trust that attorney to do what is best for you.
- Stay Out of Trouble
It is much easier to negotiate with the DA and to defend your case if you do not pick up any new cases before your original case is resolved. Showing the DA that you have stayed out of trouble can be persuasive in plea bargain negotiations. This can also be persuasive when you go to get sentenced by the judge.
If you have been arrested for a misdemeanor DUI case, you will likely not have to stay in jail until your trial. At your arraignment, the judge will likely order that you remain out of custody on your “own recognizance” (OR). As part of this order, the judge will likely order that you “obey all laws”. (In Monterey County, it is common for the judge to also order that you not consume alcohol and not visit locations where alcohol is sold.) If you fail to follow these orders, the judge can order that you be put into jail before your trial. (The judge can also add bail (or increase your bail amount) if you get into more trouble.)
- Be Patient
It can take a long time to resolve a DUI case. It is not uncommon for a DUI case to take upwards of a year to be resolved. It is important that your attorney receive and review all available evidence before your case is set for trial. Your attorney may also have to make several motions (to suppress evidence or to obtain evidence) before your case is ready to go to trial. You may also need to hire an expert witness to testify on your behalf. A skilled DUI attorney will make sure that no stone is unturned before your case is resolved. Remember: good things come to those who wait.
DUI cases are very different from most criminal cases. In order to get the best results, you need an attorney that knows the ins and outs of DUI's. We have handled hundreds of DUI cases and have achieved great results for our clients. Call us today and let us fight for you.