If you’ve been pulled over and arrested for DUI in North Tustin, it’s the beginning of a long legal process. You might be wondering what to expect and whether or not you have other options. The State of California treats DUIs very seriously. Even a first time conviction can come with hefty fees and fines, a suspended driver’s license, jail time, and more. Plus, a DUI can follow you around for years afterwards. But it doesn’t have to. With an experienced North Tustin DUI lawyer, you may be able to turn things around.
We don’t think one bad mistake should define you for the rest of your life. And for your best chance at getting the DUI dropped—or at least reduced—you need a legal professional who understands DUI law. We can match and connect you with a DUI attorney in the North Tustin area who will offer a FREE consultation to talk about your case. The sooner you can take action, the better. Call us today at 310-896-2724, or complete the form on this page.
What to Expect After a DUI Arrest in North Tustin
The officers who pulled you over for DUI were likely from the Tustin police department, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, or the California Highway Patrol. In most cases, after the arrest you’ll be held in jail and released within 24 hours. Your release will either happen after you promise to come back for your court date or if you pay bail.
After your release, the legal process for DUI can move quickly—and there are a few important deadlines to keep in mind. It’s in your best interest to contact a local DUI attorney as soon as you can. They can guide you through each step and ensure your actions give you the best chance at winning your case.
Here are some key deadlines to remember and how to prepare for them.
1. Your License Suspension and the DMV Hearing
Before police release you, they’ll take your driver’s license and give you a temporary license. You’ll also likely get an Order of Suspension that states you have ten days from your arrest to request an administrative hearing from the DMV.
The administrative hearing, or DMV hearing, is a chance for you to demonstrate the license suspension isn’t justified. When you contact the DMV, you can let them know you are retaining an attorney and are requesting a hearing on your license suspension. If you don’t request this hearing within 10 days, you’ll automatically lose your license 30 days after your arrest.
An officer will conduct the DMV hearing and make the final decision, based on the evidence you present, whether or not you can keep your license. The only issues you can cover in the DMV hearing are:
- If the arresting officer had reasonable cause to believe you were driving under the influence
- Whether you were arrested lawfully
- If you were driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or more
Your lawyer can represent you at this hearing, and it’s a good chance for them to gather important information for your case. They can subpoena the arresting officer and look for inconsistencies in their testimony, for example.
2. The Arraignment
Your arraignment takes place soon after your arrest. It’s a hearing where you will enter a plea for your case. There are three options for a plea:
- Guilty: You do not intend to fight the DUI charge.
- Not Guilty: You plan to fight the charge.
- No Contest: You are not admitting guilt, but you aren’t planning to fight the charge and will be convicted and sentenced as if you are guilty.
If you can, definitely consult with a DUI lawyer before your arraignment date. They can then be present at the hearing and analyze the prosecution’s evidence against you.
In almost all cases, your lawyer will advise you to plead Not Guilty and seek a better offer from the prosecution.
3. Pre-Trial Preparation
After you’ve officially entered your plea, the next big date is your trial. Depending on your case, the trial can be weeks or months away. In the time before the trial, your lawyer will be researching your case and working to challenge the evidence against you. This can include:
- Re-testing the blood test sample
- Reviewing the police report and other arrest documents
- Filing motions to challenge evidence against you
- Looking for evidence of police misconduct
- Negotiating with the prosecutor for a fair plea bargain
- Moving to dismiss your case if the prosecution’s evidence against you is weak
- And more
A lot can happen during this period. In fact, most DUI cases don’t actually go to trial because they are resolved in the time leading up to it. If your lawyer can get enough of the prosecution’s evidence against you thrown out, they may be able to get your case dismissed completely.
4. The Trial
Although it’s rare, sometimes a trial will be necessary for a DUI case. If this happens, your lawyer will employ tactics to give you the best chance at winning. This may include:
- Overseeing the jury selection process
- Cross examining witnesses and demonstrating inconsistencies or weaknesses in their claims
- Questioning the validity of chemical test results
- Exploring alternative explanations for a high BAC
- Trying to get flawed or irrelevant evidence suppressed
- Demonstrating violation of your rights during the arrest, which can block key evidence
DUI lawyers will do everything they can to keep a client from having to go to trial. But if it turns out to be the best choice for your case, you’ll want a strong attorney will a proven track record of DUI success on your side from the beginning.
The Cost of a DUI Conviction
If you are convicted of a DUI, the penalties are steep even for a first offense. The City of Tustin benefits greatly from DUIs because of their expensive fines.
At a minimum, you can face:
- A suspended driver’s license
- Huge fines and court fees, ranging from $1,800 to tens of thousands of dollars
- Jail or prison time
- DUI school, which comes with additional costs
- Potentially having to install an ignition interlock device (IID) on your vehicle
- Unofficial penalties like higher insurance rates
These are scary consequences, but you can fight them. Having a DUI lawyer gives you a chance to get these penalties reduced or even dropped completely. Their goal is getting you a better outcome at every stage of the process.
Speak with a North Tustin DUI Lawyer for Free Today
Don’t wait to get a DUI professional on your side. We can connect you with a leading North Tustin-area DUI attorney and get you a FREE consultation. Call us today at 310-896-2724 or fill out the form on this page to get started.