When arrested and charged with a DUI, the most common thing to think about is how to fight against a guilty verdict. However, you will have two types of hearings that you must plan on how to win them. Criminal penalties can be harsh as they range from jail sentences to hefty fines and suspension of your license. When your license is suspended, it is one of the worst outcomes because of the inconvenience caused on your daily life. The freedom to drive makes it easier for a person to continue with their lives conveniently.
The DMV and the court can both suspend your license, but with the help of your lawyer, you can prevail at both the DMV hearing and court hearing and stop the suspension. When in North Jamul, find the experienced San Diego DUI Attorney to be on your side and defend you against the allegations.
What is Expected of You When Arrested for a DUI?
Most people, when they face these charges or any other charges for the first time, they panic and get confused about what to do. Panicking will, however, not help you in this case. Instead, you must calm down and strategize on how to overcome the charges. For this to happen, there are things that you must do to help you. These are:
Hire a DUI Defense Attorney
It is important to note that you do not have to hire an attorney to represent you. However, if you aim to prevail during both the DUI criminal trial and the DMV hearing, a lawyer will increase your winning chances. Finding a North Jamul DUI attorney that understands DUI laws and the various strategies to help you win is critical. Some things that may seem insignificant to you may be the most important in ensuring your win.
Additionally, your lawyer knows the right questions to ask you, the arresting officer and any witnesses presented. This is crucial because some information passed can be essential to your winning the case.
Request a DMV Hearing
The DMV is the body in California mandated with the issuance of licenses to the residents of California. This body also has the mandate to impose administrative punishment on persons that violate the regulations set forth when you have a driver’s license.
As such, when you get arrested for a DUI, the arresting officer takes your license and offers you a temporary one. The law requires officers to report any DUI arrest to the DMV for them to decide whether to suspend or not to suspend the perpetrator’s license. The officer will forward your license to the DMV alongside a report of your arrest and chemical test results. The DMV will then notify you that they have your license, and based on the report, they will suspend it.
However, you also have a right to persuade them out of that decision. This means the DMV gives you a ten-day window where you can request a hearing to challenge their possible decision. Your lawyer will advise you to ask for this hearing to fight for your license. The law also gives you the right to have your North Jamul DUI attorney represent you during this hearing. Later in this article, we will discuss the various strategies your lawyer will use to persuade the DMV against suspending your license.
Explore Various Defense Strategies With Your Attorney
As earlier stated, every defendant aims to avoid a guilty verdict as much as possible. For a defendant to achieve this, he or she must discuss various strategies for their defense. Most of these strategies are, however, based on the happenings from the moment they got stopped by the officer to the time they got charged with the offense.
For this reason, your lawyer will ask you many questions and repeat the items as many times as possible. This may seem tiring, but it is aimed at ensuring you give all the details necessary without leaving anything that may help your case. Your lawyer may start by asking you if you were impaired and by what means alcohol or drugs. Be as truthful as possible because your lawyer is on your side and will not betray your confidence but will use the information to get you the best outcome possible.
Your attorney will also want to know if you have any underlying medical conditions that may have triggered impairment symptoms. Again being truthful is critical without getting embarrassed. Some medical conditions like GERD or Diabetes can result in falsely alleviated BAC results, making them a vital defense strategy.
The next question may be about your arrest. Your lawyer may want to know if you were driving when you got arrested. This is also another critical aspect of your defense. A prosecutor in California must show that the defendant was driving when they got arrested on the offense. If you were not operating, it would be challenging for the prosecutor to get a guilty verdict against you. Give your lawyer a detailed account of your arrest that will include where you were at the time and what the officer said.
Additionally, your lawyer will want to know what transpired between you and the officer. This means, were you subjected to any field sobriety tests and which ones, if you faced any challenges performing them and if you communicated the problems to the officer. Your attorney will also go through the results of the sobriety tests with you. This is to establish your version of the events.
If you were involved in an accident, it is quick for someone, including an officer or yourself, to assume you were the cause due to your intoxication. Fortunately, an experienced attorney understands that your impairment is not always the cause of an accident. Your lawyer will ask whether you took pictures of the scene, and if not, he or she will have carried their investigations on the same. Your lawyer will advise you never to admit fault until the cause of the crash is established. If you acknowledge, you will be charged with a DUI causing injuries, which can sometimes be a felony. A conviction will mean steeper penalties that include extended jail time and restitution payment to the victims.
You must give as many details as possible and answer all the questions without getting frustrated. Always remember, it is possible to be charged wrongfully and face a wrongful conviction because you failed to give accurate and detailed information to your attorney.
Talk About Plea Bargain Strategies
A plea bargain is a strategy advised by lawyers, especially when the evidence against you is overwhelming. This is an alternative to having a jury try your case. A plea deal usually involves:
- Getting your sentence reduced or
- Getting the charges against you reduced
After your local North Jamul DUI attorney reviews the evidence the prosecutor has, he or she will discuss with you the possible outcomes. Your lawyer, based on their assessment, may persuade you to take a plea bargain that will guarantee less harsh penalties than when you go through a trial.
Your lawyer will discuss the penalties you will receive if you pleaded guilty to the offense with the prosecutor and present them to you. If this is agreeable, then you have your sentence reduced.
On the other hand, you may opt to plead guilty to a lesser charge. This means you will get sentenced to lesser penalties because the offense you now get charged with is smaller than the DUI offense. A plea deal comes with various advantages depending on whether you opt for sentence reduction or charge reduction. These include:
- Getting lighter penalties or sentence
- Advance knowledge of your sentence
- Avoiding mandatory suspension of your license
- Sometimes, the lesser charges may not be priorable in a DUI case. This means, if you repeat the offense, your penalties will not be harsher based on a prior conviction on the same.
Understanding the DMV Hearing
As earlier stated, it is essential to schedule a DMV hearing to avoid a suspension of your license. After the notification you receive from the DMV, you are given ten days to request for this hearing. Once the date is given, you will have some time to prepare your defense. One of your rights during this hearing is having a lawyer represent you. In this case, your local North Jamul DUI attorney will assist with your defense and go with you to the hearing.
It is important to note that if you fail to request for the hearing within the given time frame, you will lose your right to defend the suspension. Consequently, your license will be suspended. However, you can still enjoy driving as long as you apply to get an IID restricted license. This means you must install an ignition interlock device (IID) in your car to qualify. This is a breathalyzer device fitted in your vehicle and prevents the vehicle from starting when it detects alcohol in your breath. Before you start the car, you must provide a breath sample into it to unlock the engine.
It is equally important to understand that how you behave can deny you a right to a DMV hearing and a restricted license. The state of California adheres to the rule of implied consent. This means that when you get arrested on a DUI charge, you must submit to a chemical DUI test. This is a test that confirms your intoxication and the degree to which you are intoxicated. When you exceed the recommended BAC levels, your license will be suspended.
Unfortunately, when you refuse to take the chemical test, you lose your right to a DMV hearing. As a result, your license will automatically be suspended; neither will you qualify for a restricted license. This means for the entire time your license is on suspension, you may not have the privilege of driving. However, after the suspension period, you can reinstate your license. For you to be eligible, however, you must:
- Enroll in an approved DUI school in California
- Provide to the DMV an SR-22 insurance form
- Pay reinstatement fee of $125
- Sometimes, you will be asked to fit an IID in your vehicle.
When you are a commercial vehicle driver, you will, however, not get an IID restricted license. When your license is suspended following your first offense, you will be unable to drive for the period of suspension. A repeat of the crime will earn you an automatic suspension, meaning you will have to find work elsewhere and not as a commercial driver.
A DMV hearing takes place at their offices, and it is less formal compared to a court hearing. During the trial, your lawyer will cross-examine the arresting officer’s testimony and argue against it. Additionally, you will be allowed to testify on your behalf and call any witness, even the arresting officer. If you win your DMV hearing, your license will be given back to you. If you lose, you will continue driving as earlier mentioned with an IID restricted license.
Understanding the Court Process
After getting arrested and charged with a DUI offense, you will receive a date on when the court process starts. If you did not have a lawyer by then, you need to find a local North Jamul DUI attorney to defend you. There are various things the lawyer will discuss with you as earlier outlined. Having a private lawyer has multiple advantages as opposed to representing yourself. These include:
- Your lawyer understands the law and keeps updated on any development in DUI laws.
- Possession of excellent skills in negotiation
- Always up to date with winning strategies in DUI cases
The court process typically comprises you, your attorney, prosecutor, jury, and judge. The process begins with your arraignment and ends with an acquittal or sentencing. After a conviction, however, the case remains open until all the court obligations and penalties are successfully met.
The arraignment is the initial stage of your court proceedings. At this point, the prosecutor will offer you a deal where you can plead guilty to the charge and receive lesser penalties. This, however, you will have discussed with your attorney and decided on how you will plead to the charges.
If you take a not guilty plea, your attorney and yourself will have a chance to review the evidence the prosecutor has against you. The discussions, as earlier stated, will take place. During the trial, the prosecutor will attempt to prove the two significant elements for this offense. These are:
- You were under the influence as you got arrested and
- Were operating a vehicle in the intoxicated state as you got arrested.
In establishing this, the prosecutor will present witnesses with the major one being the arresting officer who will narrate the reasons you were stopped and the process towards your arrest. Additionally, if there were other witnesses and evidence crucial to the case, the prosecutor will present it.
Your lawyer will cross-examine each witness by the prosecutor to create doubt in their evidence. Your lawyer will also produce expert witnesses that will testify in your favor, and the prosecutor will cross-examine them as well. Through the whole process, the jury follows the proceedings, and after the closing arguments, they will proceed to deliberate on the verdict.
If a not guilty verdict is reached, the judge will declare you free to go, and if you had paid bail, you would have it refunded back. If the jury finds you guilty of the offense you are charged with, they will present the verdict before the court. The judge will then thank them for their service and release them. The judge can decide to issue a sentence immediately after or give another date for sentencing.
After the sentencing, your case stays open until you serve your sentence and meet all the conditions set forth by the court. After the successful completion of your sentence, you can ask your lawyer to petition for the expungement of your record. This is important to delete your criminal record and provide you with equal opportunities as those that have no criminal record.
Beating Your DUI Charges
As earlier discussed, the primary goal of any person charged with a criminal offense is to prevail over the allegations. After reviewing your case and analyzing the evidence, your lawyer will come up with various defense strategies. Some of these include:
- Using police misconduct as a defense – When the lawyer is questioning the process of your arrest, he or she is trying to establish if the officer followed the law. If the officer violated the law in any way during the process, their violation could be used as a defense.
- Violating Title 17 regulations – These are applicable when taking the chemical tests. The law under Title 17 provides for the rules to follow when carrying out chemical tests. When your lawyer finds the regulations were violated, it becomes an excellent defense strategy.
- Challenging the FSTs – The accuracy level of field sobriety tests is low. If your arrest were due to your failure of the tests, your lawyer would challenge their accuracy.
- Challenge the BAC results – When you have an underlying medical condition that can alleviate your BAC results falsely, your lawyer will present these facts in your defense. This will mean you were not driving intoxicated that can lead to dismissal of the charges.
These are some of the defenses your lawyer may use. Depending on the circumstances of your arrest, and the evidence, your attorney can come up with other strategies in your defense.
Find a North Jamul DUI Lawyer Near Me
Having a criminal record is the last thing anyone would want. This makes it a primary goal to avoid a conviction by having a skilled attorney represent you. When in North Jamul, contact the San Diego DUI Attorney to take your case. Contact us at 619-535-7150, and we will quickly schedule an appointment to deliberate on your defense case.