Getting arrested for a DUI in California is a highly stressful situation to find yourself in. The penalties for a conviction can alter the course of your life for years to come. That’s why it’s important that you don’t do anything that will hurt your case as it progresses.
While these tips can help you if you’re arrested for DUI, every case rests on its unique facts. If you’ve been arrested for a DUI, sitting down with an experienced DUI lawyer can be your best chance to get the resolution you deserve. Call one of our representatives at (310) 971-9045 to schedule a consultation with a leading DUI attorney in the Los Angeles area. Your initial meeting is completely free and could be the most important call you make after your arrest.
Do Not Talk Excessively
If you’ve seen a cop show from the past 40 years, you’re probably aware of the Miranda warning. After you’ve been arrested, the police must inform you of your rights, including the right to remain silent. Even before your arrest, you have a right to remain silent when questioned by the police.
While this does not mean that you can ignore the arresting officer when he or she is asking for information necessary to process the arrest, it does mean that you do not have to explain yourself. The officer may ask you a battery of questions about your behavior leading up to the arrest.
You can politely refuse to answer the questions without a lawyer present. You will help your case significantly if you can remain calm and firm about your refusal to answer any probing questions without consulting your attorney. While some people may think refusing to talk makes them “look guilty,” you are more likely to incriminate yourself unintentionally than help your case.
Do Not Refuse a Breathalyzer
Before you’ve been arrested, you have the right to refuse a breathalyzer. However, that right to refusal disappears once the officer has placed you under arrest.
California Vehicle Code Section 13353 details the specific requirements of how an officer must handle a chemical test for alcohol following an arrest. The statute requires that you submit to a chemical test, usually a breathalyzer, following an arrest for a drunk driving offense. The officer must inform you that there are penalties associated with refusing a breathalyzer or chemical test.
While a skilled DUI attorney may be able to use the lack of a breathalyzer test at court or challenge the additional charge, you risk facing additional penalties on top of any you would receive from the DUI conviction. You can spend additional time in jail and face a longer suspension of your license for refusing. The exact length of the additional time will depend on your DUI history and how many times you’ve refused a chemical test.
Do Not Plead Guilty at Arraignment
After your arrest, you will be brought before a judge to enter an initial plea regarding the DUI charges. You will have the choice to either plead guilty or not guilty at this point. Pleading guilty will lead you to sentencing while pleading not guilty will result in the judge scheduling a trial date.
The prosecutor may try to convince you that you’re better off pleading guilty to get the affair over with sooner. While pleading guilty will skip ahead to your penalties, you’re not likely to be better off pleading guilty at your arraignment. You forgo any chance to challenge the prosecutor’s evidence. Even if you feel bad about the circumstances leading up to your DUI arrest, you may be submitting to a harsher punishment than necessary for what actually happened.
Do Not Face Your DUI Charges on Your Own
The rules surrounding a DUI arrest in California are a complex web that requires dedication to truly understand how they work. While you may feel confident that you could represent the facts of your case alone, you’re likely to run into problems that an experienced DUI lawyer would know how to avoid. You may not properly challenge evidence or be able to negotiate for a lesser charge.
Therefore, it’s a great idea to hire a lawyer who specializes in handling DUI cases in California. By calling (310) 971-9045, or by using any of the contact forms found on this site, you can arrange a meeting with a leading DUI attorney who has years of experience dealing with DUI arrests just like yours. The initial consultation will come at no upfront cost for you and could be essential to receiving fair treatment.
Don’t hesitate – act today!