If a police officer suspects that a driver is under the influence of alcohol, he or she will conduct some tests called Field Sobriety Tests (“FSTs”). You may be required to count backward from 100 by 2’s. You may need to walk heel-toe for a set number of steps. If the officer determines you are may be under the influence, you may also undergo a Preliminary Alcohol Screen (“PAS”).
Regardless of the specifics of your arrest for DUI/DWI, the experience can be frightening and intimidating. You must remain calm and take immediate steps to protect your interests. Following the arrest, you will either be taken in to custody or released on your own recognizance (“ROR”). If you are taken in to custody, you will be booked and fingerprinted. You may need to post bail to be released. If neither, you, your friends, or your family can post your bail, you will need to locate a bail bond provider. This is the first step in securing your release from custody if you are suspected of DUI/DWI. Bail bond firms generally require an up-front down payment of 10 percent of the arrestee’s bail amount to secure his or her release.
If you are a friend or a family member of someone arrested for DUI/DWI and you need to assist in posting bail, you may have some difficulty even locating the arrested driver. Be sure that you have as much information about the driver possible, such as the individual’s full name and date of birth. If you’ve had a chance to talk to the driver, you may also get a booking number.
After you are released from custody, the most urgent concern should be finding an experienced California DUI/DWI attorney to assist you with your defense. An experienced California DUI/DWI attorney will assist you with the myriad of legal issues you will be facing resulting from your drunk driving arrest.
The second case that results from a DUI arrest is the criminal court case in the jurisdiction of your arrest. The first phase of your criminal court case is called the arraignment. At the arraignment, the driver is asked to enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest. If you plead guilty, you will be sentenced on the spot. If you plead not guilty, the matter will be set for further hearings and trial. A no contest plea is legally the equivalent of a guilty plea, except that a no contest plea can not be used against you in a civil lawsuit, in the event you were involved in an automobile accident involving another party.
If you do not take immediate steps to protect your interests, the consequences can be great. Both the DMV hearing to determine driver’s license status and the criminal court case that stems from a drunk driving arrest can be successfully challenged, but these procedures can be complex. Contacting an experienced DUI/DWI attorney may prevent the automatic suspension of a driver’s license. An experienced California DUI/DWI criminal defense attorney can develop an aggressive plan of attack to provide you with the best defense possible.