Arrested For a First Time DUI?
Being arrested for a first time DUI in Orange County, California can be completely humiliating. After you actually process the fact that you were arrested and are now facing criminal charges, you need to focus on what to do in order to protect your rights. Generally after a DUI arrest, a person is charged with a violation of Vehicle Code sections 23152(a) and (b). These code sections apply to individuals who are at least 21 years of age at the time of their arrest. Different laws and harsher penalties apply to individuals who are under 21. The best thing you can do now is take the following basic steps after you are arrested for a DUI:
1. For a First Time DUI – Hire an attorney immediately.
You only have 10 days from the date you were arrested to schedule your DMV hearing (as stated on the pink form the officer gave you). If you immediately hire an attorney for your first time DUI, she can schedule your DMV hearing within the 10 day time period, and fight or delay your license suspension. If you do not hire an attorney, you can still schedule your DMV hearing by contacting your local DMV Driver Safety Office.
2. Start preparing your defense.
If you plan on fighting your first time DUI, you will want to assist your attorney in preparing your defense. If your defense is a “no drive” (you weren’t driving), you will want to put together a list of witnesses and contact information for those individuals so your attorney’s investigator can contact them and get there statements as soon as possible. The more time that elapses, the more a person’s memory will fade.
If you were driving but your blood alcohol level was of below .08 at the point in time you were actually driving, you will need to discuss with your attorney the benefits of hiring a DUI toxicology expert. A DUI toxicology expert will be able to figure out what your blood alcohol level was at the time you were driving prior to your first time DUI arrest. This type of expert opinion would only apply to the 23152(b) code section, not the 23152(a) code section. If you are being charged with violating both code sections, you can still be prosecuted for the 23152(a) count if you had alcohol in your system (below .08) that was affecting your ability to drive safely (swerving, etc.).
3. After a First Time DUI – obtain a restricted license.
If you decided to have your DMV hearing, and the DMV ruled against you, the 30 day driver’s license suspension goes into effect after the decision is rendered. If this is your first DUI, and after your mandatory suspension period ends for your driver’s license, you should make an appointment with your local DMV office to obtain a restricted license pursuant to Vehicle Code section 13352.4. In order to obtain a restricted license, the DMV will require you to enroll in a DMV approved DUI program, submit proof of financial responsibility (SR-22 that can be obtained from an insurance company) and pay the reinstatement fee. No matter what the circumstances are surrounding your first time DUI, an experienced Orange County Criminal Defense Lawyer can help. Criminal Attorney Karren Kenney is available to assist in your criminal defense case and DMV hearing. To obtain more information about hiring Attorney Kenney to assist you, call (855) 505-5588 or visit the firm website.