DUI in California: Frequently Asked Questions
Many people in California have their very first brush with law in the form of DUI arrests. Considering the involvement of both California DMV and criminal courts in the DUI process, an individual charged with DUI should have a reasonable understanding of the laws and procedure. Here are the most commonly asked questions by people when they are arrested for DUI.
Q: Can I get my impounded car out after a DUI arrest in California?
You should have no problem getting your car released if you were arrested for a standard DUI. All you would need to do is pay the associated release fee and show proof of ownership and insurance. You should know that an impounded vehicle can be kept on an “evidence hold” if the police continue to investigate crimes associated with the DUI arrest, such as Drug Possession with an Intent to Sell, Hit and Run, and Receiving/Possession of Stolen Property, among others.
Q: Will my driver's license be suspended?
Your driving privileges are not automatically suspended following a DUI arrest. Your license will remain valid for the next 30 days even if the police confiscated your physical license. You will be given a “pink paper” that is a temporary license which will serve as valid proof that your driving privileges are intact. It will also serve as notice that you that you have 10 from the date of your arrest to have your lawyer contact the DMV to request a DMV hearing that will determine whether your license will be suspended or not. If you fail to request the hearing within the 10 day period, your license will automatically be suspended for 30 days.
Q: Are the police required to provide a copy of the DUI arrest report before the court date?
The evidence against you will not be released by the police until your arraignment in court. This includes the DUI arrest report. However, an experienced DUI lawyer will obtain a copy of the police report from the DMV, usually well in advance of your court date, pursuant to the DMV hearing. Moreover, a knowledgable attorney will subpoena additional discovery materials, such as maintenance, usage, and calibration logs for any breath test that may have been administered, supporting documentation for the officer's trainning and qualifications to administer the test, and any audio and video that the arresting agency has possession of regarding your vehicle stop and your arrest. If a blood test was administered, a DUI defense practitioner will request a portion of untested blood to be tested by an independent lab to verify the accuracy of the a blood analysis performed by the arresting law enforcement agency's crime lab. If a discrepancy is detected, the results of the blood test can be challenged in court.
Q: What should I expect at my first court date?
The first court date or the arraignment appearance is usually an uneventful proceeding. In California, misdemeanor DUI arrests don't require bail. Your DUI arraignment hearing will only involve entering a “not guilty” plea. Your attorney would be provided with the available evidence or “discovery” from the prosecution. This will include a copy of the criminal complaint filed against you, police report and a copy of the chemical test results (breath or blood.)
Competent DUI attorneys will always plead “not guilty” for their clients on the first court date. Hence, you should expect a series of pretrial court appearances over the next few months prior to a resolution or a trial. In any misdemeanor case in California, your attorney can appear on your behalf, unless the court orders otherwise. You would be mandated to appear by the California law if you are not represented by a privately retained lawyer.
Speak with a Seasoned DUI Attorney in California Today
DUI law in California is complex and requires that DUI defense practitioners possess the expertise and experience to challenge the evidence. The legal team at the Kann California Law Group can help. To request your free, no-obligations consultation, call us at (888) 744-7730 or complete our confidential online contact form, and one of our attorneys will contact you.