A lot of confusion comes with every DUI arrest, whether it is your first or subsequent arrest. First-time offenders are likely to be more confused because they do not know what happens after the arrest and what they should do. Understanding the DUI process is paramount in planning your next course of action. It could help to ensure that you are not spending more time than necessary behind bars.
At the Orange County DUI Defense Lawyer, we are here to make the process smooth for you. We have excellent skills and experience in handling DUI cases in Orange County, CA. It is what makes us your best bet if you want to navigate the system quickly. We will not only take you through the process but also defend you every step of the way to prevent violation of your rights.
California DUI Arrests
Most DUI arrests in the state of California happen when law enforcement officers suspect a particular motorist for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It could be in the way the motorist is operating his/her vehicle or in the number and type of traffic violations he/she has committed. If the police have probable cause for believing that you are driving under the influence, they will pull you over and conduct an investigation. Once you stop your vehicle, the officers will proceed to ask you a few questions. If they still believe that you are operating under the influence, they will ask you to step out of the vehicle for a preliminary DUI test.
Motorists are free to either agree to refuse to take the preliminary test. If you take the test and fail, you will face arrest, and another check will be conducted to determine the level of alcohol in your blood system. If you refuse to take the preliminary examination and the police have a strong reason to believe that you were operating under the influence, you will be arrested and required to submit to another DUI test to determine your BAC level.
DUI arrests in California also happen after a motorist's vehicle is pulled over because it has a physical problem. If the police, for instance, realize that your taillight is not working, they might pull you over. The officers will ask you a few questions. If they suspect that you are operating under the influence, you will be under arrest for DUI testing.
Other DUI arrests in the state happen in accident scenes. If a driver has been involved in an accident, the police are likely to be called at the scene. While there, they will be asking random questions, especially to those people who were involved in the accident. If the police suspect that you were operating your vehicle under the influence, you will be arrested for DUI.
In any of the instances above, police officers will be keen to spot any signs of intoxication. Sometimes the smell of alcohol coming from the driver’s breath is enough to have you arrested for DUI. Any suspicion will result in the officers initiating the preliminary DUI tests, which are conducted at the scene. If the results are positive, they will be used alongside other police reports to have you arrested for DUI.
Once the motorist has been arrested for driving under the influence, they will be taken to the police station or hospital, where they will be required to submit to either a breath or blood DUI test. Note that this test is mandatory, and failing to submit to the test will attract additional penalties such as driver's license suspension. The test will determine the driver's BAC level. If the level is over .08%, the motorist will face additional charges under Section 23152 (b) of California Vehicle Code.
Drivers who refuse to take the blood or breath test after a DUI arrest are still detained and charged for DUI. On top of their original DUI charges, they will face charges for failing to submit to DUI testing. A conviction will see them losing their driving privileges for a year. Once you have been arrested for California DUI, police officers will inform you that your license suspicion will automatically happen in thirty days. They will also issue you with a pink document, a temporary driver’s license, which you will be using in those thirty days. The officers will then confiscate your driver’s license.
California DUI Booking Process
Once a DUI suspect is taken to the police station, they are processed or booked into the system. The booking procedure is crucial as it registers the person into the criminal database as an offender. During this process, the police will do the following:
- Take and record important personal information about the DUI offender. This includes the offender's name, physical characteristics, and date of birth
- Record the information about the alleged crime the offender has committed
- Conduct a record search on any criminal background the suspect might have
- Take the defendant’s photographs, fingerprints and compare them with the information that is already in the criminal database
- Confiscate all the personal items the defendant had, including their purse or keys. these will be returned to them at a future date and after their release from custody
- Place the defendant in a local jail or police holding cell
The booking procedure serves many purposes for law enforcement agencies. First, they need to know if this is your first or subsequent DUI offense. This will determine the kinds of charges you will face once you are accused of the crime in the criminal court and the likely penalties. The booking procedure will also add you to the criminal database if this is the first time you are getting arrested. Once your information has been fed into the system, state licensing agencies will be notified of your DUI arrest. The agencies will, most likely, take action against a licensee who is facing charges for DUI.
There are instances when a booking isn’t possible immediately after arrest. In that case, the arrested driver will be expected to abide by it at a future date or as a condition for release or a term for probation. Most DUI suspects placed under arrest focus on getting out as their priority. With the help of an experienced DUI defense attorney, you can get released before your arraignment in court through Own Recognizance or Bail.
DUI Booking at a Future Date
There are many reasons why the police may be unable to apprehend a DUI offender and book him/her. If, for instance, the DUI suspect got involved in a car accident and had to be taken to a hospital urgently, the booking procedure may have to be postponed to a later date. Once the suspect is treated and discharged from the healthcare facility, they may be given a letter to show the time of their arraignment. The same could apply to DUI suspects who are under suspicion for DUI Hit and Run.
In such cases, the prosecutor will require the DUI suspect to be booked as a release condition on Own Recognizance. He/she will be given some documents to take to the local police station, from where the police will take his/her personal information, photographs and fingerprints, then he/she will be released. Note that if the court decides to release you on Own Recognizance, you will not be kept in detention when you present yourself for booking at the police station.
It is advisable to comply with the booking requirement as soon as possible because the documents given by the court to the defendant are usually valid for a week. If the booking procedure is not done within that one week, the court will consider it as a violation for Own Recognizance and could cause the defendant to be taken into jail for the booking. It is so mainly if the jury has reason to believe that the defendant willfully failed to comply with the court's directive. Again, proper identification is required during the booking procedure. The name of the defendant on their identification must be the same as those appearing on the booking forms.
There are other instances when DUI suspects are required to go through the booking procedure once they are convicted of the DUI offense. The court could give the booking as a condition for probation, failing to submit to the booking requirements, in this case, will be considered as a probation violation and could cause the driver to be rearrested and jailed for DUI.
As mentioned above, the booking procedure will send alerts to all State Licensing Agencies of the DUI suspect’s arrest. Some of these agencies are likely to take action against the suspect, including the Medical Board, Nursing Board as well as the State Bar. These agencies will conduct an independent investigation into their client's conduct and take action without necessarily waiting to hear of the court's verdict.
California DUI Bail
Bail is the process in which a person that is under arrest for DUI in California is allowed to pay some money in exchange for their release from police custody. The bail process mainly starts after the booking procedure, whereby the court decides whether to release the DUI suspect or keep him/her in custody to await their trial. In addition to the payment of bail bond, the court also sets some conditions for the suspect's release, which will ensure that he/she will show up in court for their arraignment, preliminary hearings, pre-trial motion and the trial itself.
Note that not all DUI suspects are allowed to post bail immediately after the booking procedure and at the police station. There are instances when this will decide later by the judge, during a separate arraignment or hearing. What this means is that bail is not always an automatic process. The process could be automatic or not, depending on the facts of your case. Sometimes the bail amount is usually predetermined through the bail schedule, and what the DUI suspect is required to do after the booking is to pay the bail amount and get released.
In other cases, the DUI suspect will have to attend a bail hearing for the judge to decide whether or not to have them released on bail and to set the bail amount. All this is determined by:
- The DUI offender’s criminal record and history
- The seriousness of the current DUI offense and whether or not someone else was injured
- The kinds of family and community ties the suspect has and the nature of their employment
Once the bail amount is determined, the defendant or a third person will be required to pay the amount of money that will ensure that he/she will appear in court as required by the judge. The payments can be made in cash or in the form of a bond, which has been secured by a bail bondsman.
How Bail is Set
Every county in the state of California has its bail schedule for various types of crimes. Once the defendant is arrested, their family or attorney can go through the court’s bail schedule to determine whether or not it is an amount that is payable by the family. If not, the family or their attorney will get in touch with a bail bondsman. In cases involving relatively minor offenses, for instance, a DUI without any aggravating factors, most DUI suspects are released from jail after the booking procedure, with no requirement to post bail.
If, on the other hand, your DUI crime is on the court’s bail schedule, the court will expect you to pay the bail amount or to have a bail bondsman post bail on your behalf. Note that, based on the circumstances of your arrest, the arresting officer could request the bond to be set higher or lower than the amount of bail scheduled for your particular offense. You will be arraigned as your first appearance in court for that specific offense. In the court, the judge may continue with the bail as it appears on the schedule or modifies it accordingly.
It is advisable to get in touch with a DUI defense attorney as soon as you are arrested for DUI. This way, your attorney will request a bail hearing fast enough to avoid spending more time behind bars. If you are not in agreement with the judge's decision on the bail amount, your attorney could request a bail hearing within two days of your first arraignment to contest it. After the hearing, the judge may decide to leave the bail as it is on the schedule, decrease or increase it, or have you released on personal recognizance.
Several factors will be used by the judge to determine the exact amount of bail you should be released on. Some of them are:
- The seriousness of the DUI offense
- If any person was injured. If that is the case, how serious were their injuries
- If there were threats made by the offender to their victim
- If there were drugs involved in the commission of the offense
- If the court believes that the offender is a threat to the safety of the public
- If the defendant is employed or has any connections in their community, such as a business interest or a property
- Whether or not the defendant has a criminal history
- The offender’s likelihood of appearing in all set court appearances
The court will also impose some conditions once you are released on bail. Some of the common conditions that are usually imposed on DUI suspects include:
- That you wear a SCRAM bracelet for continuous monitoring of alcohol in your blood system
- That you should not leave the state until the case is concluded and determined
- That you should not drink or drive with any amount of alcohol in your system
The most important of these conditions is to appear in court on all the dates scheduled for your hearing. Failing to appear is a severe offense in itself. If, for instance, the underlying DUI offense was a misdemeanor, failing to appear will be another misdemeanor offense. If the underlying offense was a felony, you risk facing another felony conviction if you fail to appear in court. In any case, the court will issue a warrant for your arrest. If you had paid bail or posited a bail bond, you will forfeit the bail. The police will keep you in custody until your case is determined.
How to Post Bail
An easy and the most recommended way to post a bond in California is to have the full bail amount paid in cash. It will, however, work if the bail amount is a small figure that the defendant or his/her family can manage to pay. After all, the full amount will be given back to the offender once all the court processes are completed, and the case is determined. However, in case a more substantial amount of money is needed, and the defendant or his/her family is unable to raise the money, a bail bond agent will be the best choice.
If paying by cash, the defendant or his/her attorney will be required to produce a money order or check to the arresting agency or the court clerk. In some instances, a personal check may be acceptable.
Bonds are, however, the most popular way in which most DUI offenders post their bail in California. In this case, a licensed bail bonds agency is contacted by the defendant or his/her attorney. The bail bondsman will only require a 10% payment of the total bail amount to secure the defendant's release. The 10% payment is a premium, which is the bail bondsman's fee. It is, therefore, nonrefundable. The bail bondsman will also require you to provide collateral, equal to the total amount of the bail. If you fail to appear in court and forfeit the bail amount, the bail bondsman will sell the collateral to recover his/her money.
Release by Own Recognizance
As mentioned above, there are instances when a DUI suspect will be arrested, taken through the booking procedure, and released from police custody by their recognizance. When this happens, the suspect will not be required to pay any bail amount or to have their bond posted by any bail bondsman. Release by own recognizance simply means that the court releases the DUI suspect after a mere promise to the court that he/she will appear in court for all the future proceedings. This promise is usually made in writing.
Some criminal courts in the state will set conditions for anyone the court is releasing by their own recognizance. Some of the terms may, for instance, be a requirement by the suspect to keep in touch with the court from time to time while the case proceeds or prohibition from leaving the state before the case is determined.
Just as it happens when it comes to the setting of the bail, the judge is the one who decides whether or not to release the suspect on their recognizance. Some of the factors he/she might consider are:
- The defendant’s criminal history
- The seriousness of the DUI charges they are facing and whether or not another person was injured
- The nature of the ties the defendant has with his/her family or community
- Whether or not the defendant has a job and the kind of job it is
Once the court releases the suspect on their own recognizance, they must appear in court on all the scheduled dates. If not, they will be rearrested and will lose any chance to be released from custody, even on bail.
Find an Orange County DUI Defense Lawyer Near Me
The California DUI process is quite complicated, and hence could be challenging to navigate by a first-time offender. Working closely with an experienced DUI defense attorney could make the entire process smooth. At the Orange County DUI Lawyer, we have a team of experienced DUI defense attorneys who are familiar with DUI arrests, booking, and bail processes. They will take you through each process and protect your rights against violation. Call us at 714-820-9592 and let us keep you informed about your legal options.