Many people are under the impression that law enforcement officials must have an arrest warrant to place you under arrest for a DUI (driving under the influence) offense. However, according to California Vehicle Code 40300.5, law enforcement has the right to arrest individuals without a warrant in DUI cases under limited circumstances.
If you have found yourself placed under arrest, and the police did not have an arrest warrant, you may be wondering whether your arrest was lawful and what your legal options are going forward. With help from a knowledgeable Los Angeles DUI attorney, you can protect your future and hold law enforcement officers accountable for their potential misconduct and unlawful actions. Contact us today to learn more about how you can defend yourself if you have been unlawfully arrested without a warrant.
When Police Can Arrest You without a Warrant Under CA Vehicle Code 40300.5
According to California Vehicle Code 40300.5, law enforcement officials do not always need to have an arrest warrant in order to arrest you. However, there are specific requirements that need to be met for police to be able to move forward with an arrest.
First, police need to have a reasonable belief that you were driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Additionally, they will need to be able to show that they had reasonable belief that:
- You would not be apprehended unless you were arrested at that time.
- You caused or were involved in a traffic accident.
- Police suspected you would damage property or cause injury to yourself unless you were apprehended immediately.
- You were in or around a vehicle that was obstructing the roads.
- Police suspected you would conceal or destroy evidence of the offense unless you were apprehended immediately.
Being Arrested without a Warrant for a DUI
Generally, law enforcement officials are only legally allowed to arrest someone without a warrant if they witness a misdemeanor or felony offense. For this reason, DUIs need to be seen by police for the arrest to be valid.
However, with the implementation of CVC 40300.5, police have the authority to arrest someone without a warrant, even if they did not witness the offense in question. This means under California law, law enforcement officials do have the right to arrest you for a DUI even if they do not have an active arrest warrant as long as they meet the requirements as described in CA VC 40300.5
Other Ways to Challenge the DUI Charges Against You
Due to the fact that police may have the right to arrest you without a warrant in certain DUI cases, it is essential to consider how you will approach your defense strategy. In some instances, your DUI attorney in Los Angeles may find it appropriate to work with the prosecutor to secure a plea agreement or get you entered into a pretrial diversion program.
Pretrial Diversion Programs
Pretrial diversion programs could be a good opportunity to obtain the rehabilitative help you need instead of dealing with the punitive sentences associated with DUI convictions. Upon entering a pretrial diversion program, you will need to meet specific requirements. For instance, you may be required to complete a drug or alcohol treatment program, a certain number of community service hours, and pass random drug tests for a specified period of time.
Once you have met the terms of your program, the prosecutor may be willing to reduce the DUI charges against you to a lesser offense or dismiss your case altogether. However, you may not qualify if anyone was injured or killed as a result of your alleged drunk driving or if this is not your first offense.
Going to Trial
If your DUI case needs to go to trial, your Los Angeles DUI lawyer will go over all of the circumstances of your arrest and the evidence obtained against you. This allows our team to figure out how we should approach your defense strategy. Examples of defenses used in DUI cases include:
- Unlawful stop
- Illegal search
- Police misconduct
- Mistake of fact
- Mistaken identity
- Lack of intent
- Not being in control of a vehicle
- Medical conditions
- Lab mistakes
The Penalties of a DUI Conviction
If you are found guilty of a DUI, it will likely have a devastating impact on your life. DUIs can be prosecuted as misdemeanors or felonies depending on the specific circumstances of your case. You can expect your charges to be increased to the felony level if there are aggravating factors present.
This might include having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of .15% or more, causing severe bodily injury or death, or if a firearm or other weapon was involved. You can expect to spend time in a county jail or state prison, pay a considerable fine, and have your driver’s license suspended or revoked for a specific period of time. You may also be required to participate in a HAM program or MADD program, DUI school, or mental health counseling.
Finally, you may be ordered to meet other requirements before you have completed the terms of your sentence. Your best option to avoid these debilitating criminal penalties and collateral consequences is to work with a leading Los Angeles DUI attorney who can help you prepare a powerful defense. You can rely on our team to determine whether police were lawfully allowed to arrest you without a warrant.
We will review the evidence to determine which defense is best suited for your case and fight for your liberties at trial.
Call a DUI Lawyer in Los Angeles for Help Today
If you have been placed under arrest without a warrant, it is possible that law enforcement officials did not have the right to do so. Unless the strict criteria under California vehicle code 40300.5 have been met, police do not have the authority to arrest you unless they have a warrant.
Start working on your defense strategy with help from an experienced Los Angeles DUI attorney as soon as today when you fill out our secure contact form or call our office to schedule your confidential case assessment.