If you were arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in Costa Mesa, you’re likely worried about what happens next. A DUI is a serious offense in 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 to 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 and build a Costa Mesa DUI defense as soon as possible.
What to Expect When Facing a DUI in Costa Mesa
When you hire legal help, you’re getting an attorney with experience helping individuals with DUI charges, taking you through each step of the process and advising you on how to proceed. After a DUI arrest, this is what you can expect to happen:
You have just 10 days to save your license when you’re arrested. This means the local DMV will suspend your license for 30 days unless you take action to stop it. You or your attorney must 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 the following:
- 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, 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 continue to trial, a jury will decide your outcome. Talk to a Costa Mesa DUI lawyer today about your case.
Do not accept help from the public defender as they will likely try to convince you to take a plea deal.
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:
- Prison time
- License suspension
- Treatment programs
Penalties become more severe if you have previous DUI offenses, your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level was high, you refused to take a breath or blood test, or if anyone was injured or killed in the crash. Sometimes, the judge you have can increase your penalties.
You could also face additional charges beyond the DUI, such as traffic violations. Let an experienced DUI attorney in Costa Mesa, CA, review your case and help you fight the charges levied against you. Do not accept what you believe is your fate. A strong DUI defense lawyer can help fight to get the charges reduced or dropped based on various factors.
Your Costa Mesa DUI Lawyer Will Look for Weak Spots
A good lawyer will do everything possible 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. An experienced Costa Mesa DUI lawyer will also check to ensure that the breathalyzer was properly calibrated, that the officer who administered the test was trained properly, and that all evidence was properly logged. The chain of command is also an important aspect to look at in a DUI case.
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 can easily last longer. Failure to comply with the terms and conditions of your DUI probation, such as driving and driving, 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. Talk to our DUI lawyers in Costa Mesa, CA, today about the charges filed against you by the prosecutor.
Do not talk to anyone without first speaking to a member of our team. You can put your case at risk if you do so.
DUI Court Proceedings in Costa Mesa
Most individuals arrested for a DUI with a BAC over .08% are charged with misdemeanors: DUI under VC 23152(a) and/or Driving with Excessive BAC under VC 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 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 charge reduction.
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. The case will be set for a jury trial if no settlement is reached.
Your DMV APS Hearing
Once you’re released from custody after a DUI arrest, you must 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 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 will set aside its suspension, similar to an acquittal in criminal court. Our Costa Mesa DUI attorneys will represent you at every hearing so you do not have to face the music alone.
Speak with a Costa Mesa DUI Lawyer Today
Facing a DUI is hard, but don’t worry alone. After looking at your case, an experienced DUI defense attorney will know exactly how to proceed. They can fight for your best outcome and ensure you’re treated fairly.
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.