What Should I Do After Getting a California DUI?
A San Jose Drunk Driving Lawyer Has the Answers
1. Write down all the circumstances around how you were pulled over, who was in the car with you, if anyone, what speed you think you were going, what you told the police officer, and what anyone in the car told the police officers.
2. Contact the DVM to request a hearing within 10 days of receiving your ticket. The correct telephone number and address to request the hearing will be on the back of your ticket. For a first offense, your license will typically be suspended for six months. The first 30 days are what’s known as a “hard” suspension, meaning that you cannot drive at all. After the first 30 days, you can apply for a restricted license that allows you to drive to and from work and to and from your DUI classes. You will have to show proof that you are enrolled in a DUI class. If you refuse to take a chemical test, you will get a one-year hard suspension with no restricted license available.
Most importantly, request the police reports from the DMV for the hearing, because often times you will receive the reports well before your first court date, and therefore you can give the police reports to your attorney well before the first court date. If it has been more than ten days since you received your ticket, and you did not ask the DMV for an administrative hearing, then your first opportunity to get the police reports is usually at the first hearing, called the Arraignment, because police departments usually will not release them to you once the District Attorney has decided to press charges, and will refer you to the Office of the District Attorney for a copy, who will likely tell you that they will give you a copy at the first hearing. Do bring a check book, not cash or credit card, to the first hearing because some, not all, District Attorney’s Offices will charge you a copy fee, requiring you to pay the copy fee before giving you the police report(s). Not having a check with you may require a second trip to the Office of the District Attorney, as they do not send out police reports by mail.
3. Write down all the reasons that receiving a DUI would impact your current job, especially if you are in the military, or medical profession. We want to know the details because it may help in the early negotiation process with the District Attorney’s office.
4. Enroll in a Court-certified DUI school early, even before your first appearance. The reason is that it helps you and your attorney to negotiate with the District Attorney. Few people actually bother to enroll in the DUI program until they are ordered to. While this makes sense in that no one is guilty of a charge until found guilty by a court of law, or unless one enters into a plea, it does not make sense in terms of settling your case through negotiating with the District Attorney’s office. There are some exceptions to this general rule, such as if you have a real defense to the charge such as, for example, that you were not the person driving the car. You should consult with your attorney about the specific facts in your case.