If you were arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in Costa Mesa, you’re likely worried about what happens next. A DUI is indeed a serious offense in the state of California, so it’s important to understand your options. However, there’s no reason to assume the worst.
While the road ahead won’t exactly be smooth sailing, you can take certain crucial steps to improve your outcome. And that starts with hiring a legal professional who can examine your situation and help you take informed action as soon as possible. This means it’s time to speak to a DUI attorney in Costa Mesa.
What to Expect When Facing a DUI in Costa Mesa
When you hire legal help, you’re getting an attorney who has experience helping individuals with DUI charges take you through each step of the process, and give you advice on how to proceed. After a DUI arrest, this is what you can expect to happen:
Starting from the day you’re arrested, you have just 10 days to save your license. This means the local DMV will put a suspension on your license for 30 days unless you take action to stop it. You or your attorney will have to request a DMV hearing within 10 days.
Doing this does not guarantee you’ll avoid the 30-day suspension, but it’s your only chance to try. Other advantages of requesting the hearing include:
- You’re granted more time. The DMV may delay your license suspension until the date of your hearing, and scheduling the hearing can take time, sometimes months.
- You will get a testimony before your trial. During a DMV hearing, your lawyer can use a subpoena to get evidence from the officer who arrested you. This is a good chance for your lawyer to look for any weak spots or inconsistencies in the officer’s story so they can be more prepared for your trial.
- There’s an increased chance of keeping your license. If the DMV hearing goes well, you could avoid losing your license at all, which is one less thing to worry about during the case.
Your Criminal Proceeding
After the arrest, you’ll face criminal proceedings. The first step is an arraignment hearing where you’ll enter your plea: Guilty, Not Guilty, or No Contest. You’ll likely never plead guilty unless your attorney specifically advises it. Your attorney can ensure each step of this process is carefully planned and considered with your well-being in mind.
During the arraignment, your Costa Mesa DUI attorney will work to negotiate a better outcome for you. Ideally, you won’t have to go to trial and charges will be reduced or dropped. However, if you do continue to trial, a jury will then decide your outcome.
California DUI Penalties
If you are convicted of DUI, the penalties in California are steep, even though a DUI is treated as a misdemeanor. Penalties you may face include:
- Large fines and court costs
- Jail time
- License suspension and/or limited driving privileges
- Treatment/education programs
Penalties become more severe if you have previous DUI offenses, your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level was particularly high, you refused to take a breath or blood test after you were arrested, or if anyone was injured or killed while you were driving under the influence. Sometimes, simply having a strict judge can increase your penalties.
You could also face additional charges beyond the DUI, such as traffic violations.
Your Costa Mesa DUI Lawyer Will Look for Weak Spots
A good lawyer will do everything in their power to reduce the severity of your penalties if you are convicted. From pretrial to the day in court, they’ll be looking for holes in the prosecution’s evidence. This could include looking for ways your rights were violated during the arrest or questioning the validity of the arresting officer.
Will You Be Put on Probation After Your Arrest?
In many cases, California DUI probation lets you avoid going to jail by agreeing to specific terms. Usually, this includes:
- Paying fines: Depending on the county, this can include a base fine between $390-$1,000 for a first offense
- Completing a DUI class program
- Agreeing to never drive with any measurable percentage of BAC in your system during your probation
- Agreeing to submit to a DUI blood or breath test if you’re arrested on suspicion of DUI
- No commission of any other criminal offenses during the probation period
Probation lasts three years minimum for a first DUI offense, and it can easily last more. If you fail to comply with the terms and conditions of your DUI probation, such as driving and driving, it can result in a probation violation (PV). If you violate probation, the judge can revoke your probation, give additional penalties without trial, and sentence you to jail.
It’s crucial to know that probation is not a privilege, but a right. Adhering to the terms of your probation means being granted an alternative to jail or prison, and it should not be taken lightly.
DUI Court Proceedings in Costa Mesa
A majority of the individuals arrested for a DUI with a BAC exceeding .08%, are charged with two misdemeanor crimes: DUI under Vehicle Code 23152(a) and Driving with Excessive BAC under Vehicle Code 23152(b). With the help of an attorney, you can try to avoid a conviction for either of these offenses.
Most California DUI cases involve several court dates, and can span over several months. During this time, your attorney will collect evidence, run motions, and negotiate with the judge and prosecutor to seek a dismissal or a reduction in the charges.
If a settlement is reached involving you pleading to a DUI or a lesser charge, you can either come to court and plead in person before the judge, or your DUI lawyer in Costa Mesa can have you sign notarized documents outside of court. If no settlement is reached, the case will be set for a jury trial.
Your DMV APS Hearing
Once you’re released from custody after a DUI arrest, you are required to surrender your driver‘s license pending the DMV’s independent administrative suspension action. Because of this California requirement, you will be given a temporary driver’s license, referred to as the “pink paper”or DS367 form.
This paper serves as a notice to notify the DMV within 10 days from the date of your arrest to request a DMV admin per se (APS) suspension hearing. Costa Mesa DUI attorneys can make defense arguments during an APS hearing to attack evidentiary and procedural issues such as whether:
- The police officer had reasonable suspicion to stop you
- There was probable cause
- The results of the blood or breath test were collected properly
- The officer, or a witness who testified, actually observed your behavior behind the wheel of the vehicle
- The officer properly completed the DS367 form, or “pink paper,” properly
If your APS hearing has a positive outcome, the DMV would set aside its suspension, similar to an acquittal in criminal court.
Speak With a Costa Mesa DUI Lawyer Today
Facing a DUI is hard, but don’t worry alone. An experienced DUI defense attorney will know exactly how to proceed after looking at your case. They can fight for your best outcome and ensure you’re treated fairly during the process.
Our website is dedicated to helping those facing a DUI connect with the best possible DUI defense attorney for their case. We can get you in touch with an experienced DUI lawyer who will offer a FREE, no-strings-attached consultation to get started.
Don’t wait – the moments following a DUI arrest are the most important in ensuring your best outcome. Call or complete the form to the right to get in touch with the best Costa Mesa DUI attorney today.