How The California Drunk Driving Legal Process Works
In the State of California, there are a few steps involved in the process of a drunk driving arrest and consequent conviction. Typically, these are the steps:
You get pulled over
For law enforcement to pull you over, they must have grounds to do so. For example, you may be pulled over for driving too slowly, running a stop sign, weaving, having a broken tail light, and so on.
In many cases, a police officer automatically suspects that when they pull someone over for a driving infraction, that the driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, at which point they will require that you submit to a breath or blood test to determine your BAC level. While it is not advised that you refuse to take the test, you can request that the test be performed in a controlled environment by an individual who has been trained to accurately and professionally administer these types of tests.
You may choose whether you would rather have your BAC measured by a blood test or a breath test. In the case of a blood test, the blood sample can be saved and used at a later date for further evaluation and as evidence; while a breath test does not result in any evidence which can be independently tested at a later date.
Although you should remain polite, you should not engage in a conversation with the officer, or answer any questions regarding what you had been drinking or where you had been previous to being pulled over. The only information that you are required to provide is your name, address, and any necessary documents (such as license and registration).
Also, you may refuse to consent to a field sobriety test, such as walking a straight line, the hand pat test, or the finger to nose test, as these tests are not mandatory. These voluntary tests are not based on any type of scientific fact, in reality, these tests are interpreted by the law enforcement officer giving the test and influenced by the fact that the officer who pulled you over is looking for ways to prove that you are intoxicated. With the representation of an experienced Los Angeles DUI attorney it can be shown how useless this “evidence” is, in a court of law.
You are taken to the police station
Once at the police station, you will be required to take a breath or blood test to determine if you had been under the influence of alcohol at the time that you were pulled over. If you are charged for driving with a BAC which was over the legal limit, you have the right to contact a Los Angeles DUI defense attorney. It is important that you follow the instructions provided by your drunk driving defense lawyer, as well as not giving any information to law enforcement.
You have 10 days in which you must schedule a DMV hearing
When you are arrested for drunk driving, you will be given a notice of suspension of your driving privilege. It is the DMV’s duty to prove that there is sufficient reason for revoking your driver’s license. If you do not request a California DMV hearing, the suspension will take effect for the legislated length of time and you will not be able to defend yourself against the DMV regarding the matter.
*Please note that the DMV hearing is separate from your court proceeding, therefore there are two different sentences which may be imposed.
Your California drunk driving defense lawyer prepares your DUI defense
If you have been arrested in Southern California for driving under the influence, put yourself at ease by hiring Los Angeles DUI defense attorney Lawrence Wolf. Mr. Wolf has extensive knowledge in the area of California DUI law, and years of experience successfully defending clients facing serious DUI charges.
As a defendant in a drunk driving case, your rights are protected under the U.S. Constitution and the burden of proof is on the prosecutor. As an experienced DUI defense lawyer, Mr. Wolf is familiar with many common drunk driving defenses, and will create a specific defense for your case, based on the facts.
Get your questions answered - call me for your free, 20 min phone consultation (310) 277-1707.