What Happens after I Get Arrested for DUI in Fresno?
After a Fresno DUI arrest, you will undoubtedly have a lot of questions. In general, the main question will be: What happens now? Let's say that you submitted to a breath or blood test and the police officer has the sample. In addition, the officer took your driver's license and provided you with a temporary license to use for the time being. Then, you were given a notice to appear in court in the next few weeks. This can be a difficult situation. Terry A. Wapner can help.
While each case is unique, there are similar events that will occur after each Fresno DUI arrest. Keep in mind that different facts can lead to different defenses. This is something that your DUI attorney should discuss with you.
The majority of DUI cases will follow this timeline:
(1) A Fresno Traffic Stop and DUI Investigation
In most cases, an officer will pull over a driver after the officer has allegedly observed a traffic violation. Typical violations include speeding, weaving in and out of lanes, running a stop sign, or cases where the vehicle has a defect (i.e., broken tail light). Once stopped, the officer will approach and will make general conversation to determine whether the driver has consumed any alcohol. Believe it or not, drivers will often tell the officer that they have had a few drinks or are on their way home from a bar. At this point, the officer will most likely have the driver step out of the vehicle in order to begin a DUI investigation. The officer will now ask the driver a series of questions. These questions include “How much have you had to drink tonight?” and “Where are you going?”
The officer is asking these questions to determine a level of intoxication. Information gathered at this point is referred to as objective symptoms of intoxication (OSI's). A significant amount of OSI's will lead to the officer asking you to provide a breath sample. This is known as a PAS (preliminary alcohol-screening) test and you are not required to submit to it. Please note that this type of breath sample is different than the one you will be required to provide after an arrest or evidential test.
(2) A Fresno DUI Arrest
An officer can arrest a driver if he or she thinks that the driver “performed poorly” on any number of field sobriety tests (FST's) or if the driver submitted to a preliminary alcohol screen (PAS) and that result shows the driver to be above the legal limit. An officer can arrest a driver for DUI if he or she thinks that the driver cannot operate a motor vehicle in a safe manner. The two most common DUI charges include:
VC §23152(a), Driving Under the Influence; and
VC §23152(b), Driving with a .08% or higher BAC
(3) A California DMV Hearing
Once a driver has been arrested for DUI, the officer will confiscate the driver's license and provide the driver with a pink colored form. This document is referred to as a “Suspension Order and Temporary License” and serves two distinct purposes. First, it serves as a temporary license for the driver. Second, it serves as notice that the temporary license will automatically go into suspension in 30 days unless a hearing is requested.
Keep in mind that the driver has only 10 DAYS to request an administrative hearing following a DUI arrest in Fresno or the surrounding areas. If the driver properly requests a hearing, the license suspension is automatically postponed or “stayed,” pending the decision made at the hearing. While both telephone and in-person hearings are available to the driver, in-person hearings are generally recommended.
(4) The Arraignment
Towards the bottom of your citation will be the date that you are to appear in court. This is known as the arraignment and if the charge is misdemeanor DUI, your attorney can appear on your behalf. This is true for the majority of future court dates, too.
At the arraignment, you or your attorney will enter a plea of “not guilty.” In addition, you or your attorney will obtain the initial set of police and scientific reports related to the charge and will set any future pre-trial court dates.
(5) Pre-Trials and Motions
Pre-trials are court dates where defense attorneys:
- Collect additional DUI reports and information from the prosecution;
- Argue proper DUI motions to the court; and
- Negotiate the case with both the prosecution and the judge.
In certain situations, a settlement can be reached and a plea will be entered to the court. In some cases, there are several pre-trial dates.
(6) Jury Trials in California
A defendant is guaranteed the right to a jury trial. This means that a defendant can require the prosecution to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt in front of a jury of his or her peers. When a defense attorney meets with his or her client to discuss the case and potential defenses, the client may decide to go to trial. This is a decision that is left up to the client. A good attorney will advise a client on his or her options, but will leave the ultimate decision up to the client. This is their right. A skilled attorney will inform a client of both advantages and disadvantages associated with going to trial.
Terry A. Wapner has devoted his practice and more than two decades to defending those who have been arrested and charged with DUI and other alcohol-related crimes. He works with clients in Fresno, Clovis, Hanford, Lemoore, Madera, Visalia, Merced, and Coalinga. If you have been charged and are seeking legal representation, take a moment to call Mr. Wapner and schedule an initial consultation.
After having worked in this area for a significant amount of time, Mr. Wapner understands that not all those who are arrested are guilty! All too often, police officers engage in unlawful practices or simply use bad judgment. Do not think that you have no other choice but to plead guilty to the crime of which you were arrested! You have the right to speak with counsel to ensure your rights are protected!
Being arrested for DUI or other alcohol-related crimes can lead to devastating consequences. It is in your best interest to work with a local and experienced DUI defense attorney who will explain your rights and responsibilities after an arrest and will be a strong advocate who fights for you!