From 2017 to 2018, Californians enjoyed a whopping 903 million gallons of alcohol. That's a 5% increase from how much they consumed a decade before.
California, after all, is the leading producer of alcohol in the nation. In fact, an estimated 85% of the total alcohol produced in the country in 2017 came from the Golden State.
As impressive as these statistics are, they also help explain the high rate of DUI charges in the state. While getting a DUI charge for the first time is only a misdemeanor, the penalties are still hefty.
That's why you should do everything you can to beat that charge. It's possible that your arrest wasn't even lawful.
Ready to learn what to do after a DUI arrest in Vista, California? Then let's get right into it!
1. Know Your Rights
For a DUI arrest to be lawful, the officer should have probable cause to stop the driver in the first place. This is a reasonable ground or suspicion that the driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
For example, a police officer sees a car that just pulled out of a street lined with plenty of bars. The officer then notices that car swerving or running a red light.
This combination (the location and swerving or running a stop sign) can be probable causes. In this case, the police officer can pull over the driver of that motor vehicle. The officer will then require the driver to undergo a blood, breath, or in some cases, a urine test.
However, the officer should also inform the driver of the consequences of saying no to the test. These include fines and penalties, license suspension, and possible jail time.
The officer should also tell the driver that they don't have the right to an attorney before the test. Lastly, they should let the driver know that the police can use a test refusal against the driver in court.
You have the legal right to know all these. As such, if the police officer fails to tell you any or all of these, then your DUI arrest may be unlawful.
2. Don't Take the Breathalyzer Test
Getting stopped under the suspicion of DUI doesn't automatically mean you're under arrest.
In California, the police may ask a suspected DUI offender to take a Breathalyzer test. This is a voluntary “preliminary alcohol screening” (PAS) test. The only time it becomes required is if the driver is younger than 21 years old or is under a current DUI probation.
Unless you meet either rule, you aren't required nor should you take this test.
3. Journalize Everything About Your Arrest
Getting arrested under the suspicion of DUI could be frightening, even traumatic. The fear and worry can be too much for your brain that it may “lock away” important details about your arrest. This loss of memory is actually a phenomenon that happens to a traumatized brain.
That said, make sure that you write down whatever you can remember about your arrest as soon as you can. Jot down the exact time and location of the arrest. Also, try to remember every bit of conversation that you had with the police officers.
The last part is very important, as the officers may have failed to tell you something that they should have. For example, they may have failed to tell you all the consequences of refusing a pre-arrest test. If you can prove this in court, then you may have a chance to get your charges dismissed or at least reduced.
4. Call a DUI Lawyer Right After Getting a DUI Charge
You definitely need a DUI lawyer in Vista, CA to help you contest your DUI charge. Even if you plead guilty after getting arrested for DUI, a lawyer is still invaluable to your case.
Here are a few reasons you'd want to get in touch with an experienced DUI attorney right away.
Your DUI Lawyer Can Help You Request a DMV Hearing
It's best to hire a lawyer no later than 10 days from the time you got charged or arrested for DUI. This way, your attorney can request a DMV hearing so you can still fight your license suspension. In California, you only have 10 days from the day of the charge or arrest to file this request.
Protection from the Severe Consequences of a DUI Conviction
A seasoned DUI lawyer will also help protect you from all the consequences of a DUI conviction.
Even if this is your first DUI, your license can already get suspended for at least six months. You may also face jail time of up to six months and even up to $3,700 in penalties. What's more, getting convicted will land you in mandatory DUI school.
Things will only get worse if you get arrested for a second DUI within 10 years from your first arrest. You'll have your license suspended for up to one year and have to submit to a lengthy conviction program.
Aside from the penalties, you'd also have to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in your car. You'd have to keep this device for up to 48 months. All at your own expense.
As you can see, even a first DUI arrest could have long-term effects on your life as a driver. That's why you shouldn't think twice about hiring a highly-experienced DUI attorney.
5. Share All the Details of Your Arrest with Your Lawyer
Once you've hired a DUI attorney, don't hold back in sharing any pertinent details about your arrest. Be honest about what transpired before, during, and after you got pulled over. The smallest details may seem irrelevant to you, but they can actually help you build your case.
Remember, your DUI lawyer is there to help you fight your charges. Even if you really were driving under the influence, there are still ways to beat the arrest. However, your lawyer still needs all the necessary details to build your defense.
Don't Let a DUI Charge Affect You in the Long Term
There you have it, your ultimate guide on what to do after getting a DUI charge. The two most important things are to not submit to the pre-arrest test and to call a DUI lawyer ASAP.
If you're facing a DUI charge, get in touch with Bailey Criminal Defense, Inc now. You deserve the best protection from a DUI arrest, but you need to take action ASAP. Especially if you plan to contest that charge, as you should, as that DUI will stay on your record for 10 years.