There are two completely separate proceedings resulting from a DUI arrest. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) automatically starts administrative proceedings about whether a driver should lose his or her driver's license and for what length of time. The prosecutor decides what criminal charges will be filed. In a criminal case, the attorneys will negotiate an offer or the court will determine whether the driver committed a crime, as well as what penalties should be imposed. If a driver ends up in this situation, he or she needs to know what to expect from each of these two proceedings.
DMV Administrative Proceedings
After a DUI arrest, DMV administrative proceedings move very quickly. The arresting officer will keep the driver's California license and give the driver a temporary driver's license that is only valid for 30 days. In this situation, the driver has ten calendar days to contact the DMV and schedule an administrative DMV hearing. If the driver fails to contact the DMV to schedule a DMV hearing, then the DMV will suspend or revoke his or her driver's license 30 days following the DUI arrest. For a first DUI offense, the driver can lose his or her license for a period of four months or up to one year for a refusal allegation. For a second or subsequent DUI offense, the driver can lose his or her license for an even longer period of time, depending on many variables.
Criminal DUI Proceedings
After the a police officer arrests a driver on suspicion of DUI, the paperwork is provided to the prosecutor who must decide what charges will be formally made. The driver or person who is accused of a DUI is normally referred to as the defendant. A defendant can be guilty of DUI if he or she was driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher, or if he or she was driving unsafely after consuming an amount of alcohol and/or drugs which impairs that person's ability to operate a motor vehicle without the same care and caution of a sober individual.
The first court proceeding is called an arraignment. At the arraignment, the judge will read the charges against the defendant, go over the defendant's constitutional rights, and advise of the right to have a lawyer. The judge will ask the defendant to plead to the charges, which means that he or she will tell the judge that they are either guilty, or not guilty, or in certain instances which may also have civil consequences, nolo contendere, which means that the individual is not contesting the charges.
If the defendant pleads guilty or no contest to the criminal charges, the judge will sentence the defendant, determining what penalties the defendant should receive for the crime. If a person pleads not guilty, they can request pretrial conferences, schedule motions to suppress evidence, request additional discovery which the government will not readily turn over, subpoena documents and decide to have a trial to determine their guilt or innocence. The DUI case will either end up in a plea agreement, which is an agreement between the defendant and the state that resolves the case, or the case will proceed to trial. Penalties for a DUI conviction can include the following:
- Fines and court fees
- Driver's license suspension
- Required alcohol education programs
- Mandatory ignition interlock installation
Call DUI Lawyer Virginia L. Landry Today
If you or a loved one is arrested for DUI, there are often defenses available to help you have the charges reduced or to avoid a conviction. Our experienced California criminal defense lawyers will work quickly after an arrest to protect your rights in both the DMV administrative proceedings and the criminal court proceedings. We know how to raise the defenses needed to fight the DUI charges and clear your name. Call us today at 1-877-384-7833 (1-877-DUI-Queen) or visit us online at www.DUIQueen.com.