Do you want to ensure your DUI case proceeds smoothly? Preparation is the
key to not only a high-quality defense, but a successful outcome. One
of the most important parts of preparation is to know what lies ahead
in the complex California DUI process. Let’s take a look at a typical
case timeline to help you better understand your responsibilities.
Your case will begin with your formal arrest, which may only occur once
police establish probable cause. This can be done in several ways, but
usually results from a traffic stop or DUI checkpoint stop and a failed
field sobriety test. When you are arrested, you will be required to take
a blood or breath test to determine your blood alcohol content level,
which will then be entered as evidence against you. You may be held in
jail for several hours depending on the circumstances of your case.
You should also promptly retain an attorney after your arrest for legal
counsel and representation throughout the rest of the process.
Request a DUI Hearing
This is crucial: you will only have 10 days to request a DMV hearing after
your arrest. If you fail to request this hearing, you will forfeit your
right to fight back against any administrative penalties against your
license that the DMV may issue, including suspensions and points on your
driving record. Your hearing may not happen within this 10 day span, but
you should absolutely request one to have an opportunity to plead your
case and possibly avoid some of the harsh DMV-levied penalties, including
an automatic 30-day license suspension.
Your DMV Hearing
At your DMV hearing, the hearing officer will ask three questions: Did
the officer reasonably believe that you were driving under the influence,
was your arrest lawful, and was your blood alcohol above 0.08%? If the
answer to all three of these questions is proven to be “yes,”
then you will lose your hearing. You may be represented by an attorney
at this hearing, but public defenders will not represent you here, only
at your court trial.
Your Court Trial Process
Unlike a traffic ticket which is resolved same-day, a DUI trial usually
requires several different court appointments and appearances, starting
with your arraignment date. At your arraignment, you will be asked to
enter a plea with the court, which your attorney will likely encourage
to enter “not guilty.” You may also be given a plea deal at
this appearance, which essentially allows you to accept less severe penalties
and charges in exchange for a guilty plea. Speak with your attorney before
doing this, as it may not be the most ideal bargain you can receive or
the best outcome to your case.
If you plead not guilty, your attorney will be given the ability to review
all evidence and documentation the prosecution has gathered against you,
as well as the maintenance records of chemical testing instruments used
and the police report of the arrest.
From there, your case will proceed to the pre-trial process which can take
weeks or even months if the courts are busy or closed (i.e. during the
holidays). During this pre-trial process, your attorney will research
your case meticulously to find any weaknesses in the prosecution’s
arguments and evidence they can then use to your advantage. This includes
finding any evidence that may have been obtained illegally (without probable
cause, with malfunctioning or broken chemical test, etc.) and working
to suppress it. They will also review your arresting officer’s complaint
history to attempt to discredit their testimony. Most plea bargaining
happens during this process as well, since your attorney is in the best
possible stop to negotiate.
If your case proceeds beyond pre-trial without settling, then you may need
to appear before a jury, which means that your case will go through the
trial process in full:
- Jury selection
- Opening statements
- Prosecution’s case
- Defendant’s case
- Closing statements
- Verdict & sentencing
In order for you to be convicted of your charges, the prosecution must
convince all 12 jurors of your guilt beyond all reasonable doubt. If your
attorney believes this is the best route to go, then they will likely
attempt to bring your case this far, and fight for you during this process.
It is highly advised you seek representation from a Bakersfield DUI attorney
for assistance with your case. At
Campbell Whitten, we proudly fight back against any DUI charges you may be facing. We understand
the gravity your accusations can place on your life, and how difficult
it can be dealing with the penalties of a full conviction. We firmly believe
that all cases deserve high-quality representation from an experienced
lawyer, and our knowledge of the ins and outs of DUI law and procedures
make us a powerful and valuable ally to have on your side throughout your case.
Call Campbell Whitten today at 661.735.1038 and obtain high-quality representation for your