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Steps to Take If You Were Arrested for a DUI

Posted by Ronald D. Hedding | Oct 26, 2023

Thousands of people are arrested every month for DUIs in Los Angeles County.  There are so many people on the road.  It's such a congested area.  Most arrests are made on the weekends because the police are out in force.  A lot of times, they will set up checkpoints. 

Other times, they will just wait outside of bars, and then, of course, there are those people who are unfortunate enough to get involved in an accident; the police come along, they smell alcohol, and they ultimately end up arresting the person.

So, you must know what steps to take once you're arrested.  The reason I say that is because it is a pretty lousy feeling being born in a police car at the police station, and you lose control of your life, your freedom, and potentially, your ability to drive in California, which is very important. 

Hire a Lawyer

I would say step number one is you want to hire an attorney so the attorney can call the DMV for you within ten days and set up a hearing on your behalf.  A lot of people tend to do that themselves and end up messing it up.

Perhaps the DMV is not cooperative with them and claims they made the call, but then the ten days are up, and the DMV pretends that nobody made a call and has no record of it.  So, that's number one.  Get the attorney to call in.  We faxed a letter to the DMV, so there's no way they can claim that the ten days weren't meant because we've got proof that the letter was faxed to them.  Plus, we've got an attorney hotline that we're able to call to be able to set that hearing.  So, that's step number one.

Ultimately, your attorney is going to do the hearing.  The DMV will have to show that you were driving a vehicle with a .08 or more significant and were lawfully arrested.  Those are some things that the attorney can look at attacking at the DMV hearing. 

What Are the Common Mistakes?

DUIs are probably one of the most commonly charged crimes in Los Angeles County and across California, for that matter.  So, you don't want to make any further mistakes with your DUI if you could avoid it.  

The first mistake would be not contacting the DMV within the 10-day timeframe because your license will automatically be suspended, and you will have no control over anything related to your license.  The DMV will take control of that once you blow that 10-day deadline. 

You want to hire an attorney right away.  Don't make the mistake of waiting hoping for the best.  You want your private criminal defense attorney to call the DMV and tell them you want a hearing relating to the suspension and a Stay on any suspension until you actually get that hearing.

We call the DMV.  We tell them exactly that, and then we send them a letter via fax to prove that we did it within ten days because, as you probably have guessed, the DMV is a gigantic bureaucratic mess.  If you don't have proof that you did the right thing, they will assume the worst, take your license away, and you won't be able to do anything about it.

Probably the next most common mistake is to not get with your attorney right away, hire them, and talk to them about what you want – talk to them about your case and get a game plan together.  Why would you sit and do nothing, hoping for the best, instead of taking control of the situation and letting an expert handle everything?

A lot of times at a DUI arraignment, you'll be ordered to do AA meetings depending on how high your blood alcohol level is, and you may be requested to do other things, depending on if you got in an accident or if somebody was injured if it's your second, third or fourth DUI.  There's a whole host in addition to raising the bail, so you get taken into custody.  The judge can put other restrictions on you to protect the public from people who drink and drive.

Court Appearance

The next step you will want to take is to ensure that the attorney has all of the information related to your court date.  When you were arrested, you should have been given a ticket with a notice to appear unless you had to post bail.

Then, the bail bond company would give you a half-slip that will show the court you have to appear in and which date you have to appear.  Give that to your attorney.  We typically will:

  • make the first appearance for our clients,
  • get all of the paperwork on the case,
  • get the blood or breath results,
  • speak to the prosecutor, and
  • then continue it for three to four weeks so we can get everything to the client.

The client will review it, and then we'll sit down and talk. We'll figure out our best strategy for your particular case.

Experienced DUI Defense

People making many generalized comments on the internet is not helpful to you because they don't know your case.  They don't know your situation, and they don't know what your blood alcohol level was, how you were arrested, and why you were arrested, frankly.

Experienced DUI Defense Attorney in Los Angeles
Call our law firm for a free case evaluation.

So, you want to make sure you get an attorney on things right away.  Let them deal with the DMV.  Let them deal with the court.

I've been doing this for over 30 years.  I've handled thousands of DUIs in that timeframe.  I started out working for the district attorney's office, then as a superior court judge, and since the early 1990s, I've handled many DUIs and have seen all sorts of different scenarios. 

Once you put the DUI in your attorney's hands, you can at least rest easy that it's going to be taken care of the right way.  You're going to do everything needed to get out of the criminal justice system as fast as possible and end up with the best result.

If it's a first-time DUI, you're going to want to do it once, do it right, and never do it again. If you need the best, and I think you do, you've come to the right place.  Pick up the phone now.  Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding.  We'll go over your case.  A lot of times, we can give you a quote over the phone.  Once you retain us, we'll get on the issue immediately.

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About the Author

Ronald D. Hedding

What Makes Ronald Hedding Uniquely Qualified To Represent You? I've been practicing criminal defense for almost 30 years and have handled thousands of cases, including all types of state and federal sex crime cases. All consultations are discreet and confidential.