The DUI Stop
In order to pull over a driver, police or highway patrol officers must have “reasonable suspicion” that a crime or violation is occurring. For example, a burnt-out taillight or swerving into another lane are violations that could constitute a good reason to pull a driver over. There is not requirement for cause for DUI checkpoints, however. Should you be arrested for driving under the influence in California, you need an exceptional Ventura DUI lawyer on your side.
After stopping the driver, officers then need to have reasonable suspicion in order to begin a DUI investigation. Evidence that may be used as sufficient reasonable suspicion includes:
- Observing an open container in the vehicle
- The smell of alcohol coming from the car or driver
- Slurred speech, reddened eyes or face, or other physical traits of drunkenness
If the officer didn’t have reasonable suspicion to enter into an investigation regarding the sobriety of the driver, this may be used for defense. DUI cases can get complicated. Contact a Ventura DUI attorney to learn what your legal options are.
Field Sobriety Tests & Chemical Tests
Fields Sobriety Tests, or FSTs, are exercises conducted by law officers when there is a suspicion that the driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. These exercises test the driver’s physical capabilities including balance, coordination, and divided attention to determine if these skills are impaired. There are several exercises officers may request the driver to partake in, but only three have convincingly been shown to accurately examine whether an individual is impaired.
California has ignored these findings and continues to administer FSTs that are not backed by data. Unlike chemical tests, these exercises are not required by law and drivers may decline to participate with no legal repercussions.
There is something called the “Implicit Consent” law, which legally obligates any driver to submit to a chemical sobriety test when asked. California law generally allows drivers to choose between a breath and a blood test. If neither are available, drivers must submit to a urine test. The law also requires arresting officers to explain that the driver does not have the right to contact a lawyer before the test and that the consequences of refusing the test include fines, license revocation, and jail time if convicted of a DUI in Court.
As you can see, even before you’re arrested, there are intricate complexities in the legal system as it pertains to driving under the influence. If you have been arrested for drinking and driving, contact a Ventura DUI lawyer.
The DUI/DWI Arrest
Based on the results of a chemical or field sobriety test, the officer may determine there is enough evidence to place a driver under arrest. If you are not already there, you will be taken to a police or sheriff’s station for processing.
Once at the police station, a chemical test will be requested if you haven’t already taken one. Refusing to take this test is illegal, as previously mentioned. You will then be advised of your rights and questioned. Your driver’s license will be revoked and you will be given a pink slip that serves as a temporary license for 30 days, unless your license is suspended.
Most DUI cases do not require the bail and it’s possible to get released relatively quickly depending on how smoothly processing goes. This is more likely during the daytime, when more staff are on duty. More often, police are in no rush to help you and the driver may spend several hours or a night in jail.
If you have been charged with a DUI in Ventura County, contact Ventura DUI defense attorney at Rose Law APC for free consultation about your case.
After DUI/DWI Arrest
After being released from jail, the process is not nearly over. The defendant, or his or her Ventura DUI lawyer, must request a DMV hearing within 10 days of the DUI arrest. Typically, the driver will still be permitted to drive with the temporary pink slip provided by the arresting party, though this expires after 30 days.
DMV Hearing After DUI Arrest
DMV hearings are a right, not a punishment. It’s a chance for the arrested individual to try to get their license back during the duration of the legal proceedings. In order to get a hearing, you must contact the DMV driver safety branch office within ten calendar days of the arrest or you lose your right to the DMV hearing and the chance to get your license back until the court case. The DMV driver safety offices are different from the police station or even the regular DMV where you go to get your license renewed, etc.
DMV hearings are much more relaxed than court trials. The DMV hearing officer typically doesn’t have any formal legal training and is in charge of the proceedings in place of a judge. The rules regarding burden of proof and proving one’s innocence aren’t as stringent as in a Court case. They are so relaxed that they can even take place over the phone or at least in an office as opposed to a courtroom.
The following are your rights at a DMV hearing:
- You have the right to be represented by a private attorney – this means that you can hire your own Ventura DUI attorney at your own expense, but public lawyers will not represent you at this hearing.
- You have the right to review and challenge any evidence that is brought forth against you
- You have the right to subpoena and interview witnesses, such as the arresting officer – this is a very important thing to note as finding weaknesses in the officer’s story can lead to winning the DMV hearing and DUI Court case.
- You have the right to testify on your own behalf – you can defend yourself against the charges brought against you and make a case that your license should not be suspended.
DUI Court Proceedings
After gathering all possible evidence, conducting whatever pre-trial motions your lawyer deems are appropriate, and consulting with defense expert witnesses, your Ventura DUI lawyer may negotiate with the state to decrease your sentencing in exchange for certain concessions, such as a guilty plea. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your specific case, the State may or may not be willing to decrease their charges against you.
If you were to plead guilty, you must serve the suggested sentence and the case is closed, except in regards to your probation after your sentence. If you plead not guilty, the case continues through court proceedings and you and your lawyer are able to review and challenge all evidence brought against you.
Call a Ventura DUI Lawyer If You’ve Been Arrested & Charged With a DUI
With over 10 years of experience handling a variety of DUI cases, you can trust our experienced legal team to fight for your rights. We understand how difficult this situation could be on you and your loved ones which is why we do everything we can to get you the best results. Contact us to speak with a Ventura DUI defense lawyer.