Getting pulled over after drinking is a scary event which occurs frequently n California. Depending on the nature of the case, there are many common facts you need to know. This guide focuses on exactly what happens before, during, and after a California DUI arrest.
Why the Officer Pulled You Over
Typically the arrest is made after either breaking a driving law or acting erratically. If you are speeding, run a red light, or never stop at a stop sign, you can be pulled over on a basic charge. In some cases, the officer may already have suspicion you’re drinking and driving. In other cases, the officer may be suspicious after pulling over and simply observing your speech and other actions.
What Tests Are Made
You will be given an on-site breathalyzer test by the officer. If you test over the legal limit for alcohol – the same in California as all states, 0.08 or higher – you will be arrested. However, if you pass the alcohol test but are clearly under the influence of drugs or alcohol of some kind, you can still be arrested. In either case, further testing will be done, namely blood tests. Blood tests take longer, but are the best test for alcohol and/or drugs.
You Are Arrested
The officer will read you your rights and arrest you for a DUI. The officer will tell you your license will be suspended in 30 days, and take your current license away. You will be taken to jail, where you typically wait a few hours, and then be allowed to post bail.
Tests for Alcohol and Drugs
If further tests prove you were under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, the proof will be clear. Charges will almost always be made. Your arresting officer will fill out some paperwork and then the prosecution will decide whether or not to charge you.
After reading the officer report, a California prosecuting attorney will decide whether or not to charge you. He or she can choose not to file charges, but in most cases for a positive test you will be.
Why You will Be Charged
Why did all this happen? Drinking and driving is a major problem in California and all states. Using drugs, legal ones which effect your ability to drive or legal ones, is also subject to charges. The problem is how many accidents, injuries, and deaths are related to driving under the influence. Just drinking increases your chances of being in an accident. It’s unfortunate, but those are the facts.
What You Do
It’s likely time to consider representation. Your options are to represent yourself, use a public defender, or hire a private California DUI lawyer. These are not equal options; you should almost always hire professional counsel instead of defending yourself or using a public defender. Why? A public defender has no time, and you likely lack the legal knowledge to defend yourself.