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What Are Some Common Mistakes People Make After A DUI Arrest?

One common mistake is failing to sign up for a DMV hearing. In California, you only have 10 days after your arrest to sign up for a DMV hearing. At that hearing, you have the ability to contest whether or not your license should be suspended by the DMV. Many people think that if they are guilty, then there is no point in signing up for a DMV hearing. However, even if we lose that hearing, we may gain useful information. Some people don’t realize that there are things we can do from the beginning that will help their case down the line. Putting off this hearing only limits what an attorney can do to help a case.

How Do You Advise Clients Who Want To Plead Guilty To A DUI Charge?

Depending on the circumstances, I may agree with a client who wants to plead guilty to a DUI charge. Oftentimes, a court date will be set to take place a few months after the initial arrest, which means that we won’t have the police report until then. Once we get to court, we review the police report and determine whether or not we should file a motion, fight the case, or negotiate. That’s going to take a significant amount of time. Sometimes that’s great, because the longer a case takes, the less the DA’s office tends to care about it. In addition, it gives us time to show that the client has been doing what they should be doing, or to file motions that could help the case.

However, it is also true that if a case is not resolved somewhat quickly, the driver’s license suspension may last longer. The length of time for a suspension or restriction can almost double. We want to get those police reports and determine how to resolve the case quickly in order to reduce that suspension or restriction. There are also some prosecutors who will actually give people a better deal if the case is resolved quickly because they won’t have to prepare for trial. If they find that the client is taking responsibility early on, then they’re going to give them some leeway. I’ve had clients who have gotten lower sentences or reduced charges simply because they were willing to take care of their case quickly. However, if they just go to court without an attorney, then they may miss certain issues of which they are unaware.

If we don’t have the chance to actually look at the case and figure out what we’re dealing with before pleading guilty, we may never be able to figure out whether or not we could have had the results of the blood test thrown out. When the results of blood tests are thrown out, the cases are usually thrown out as well. It’s important to realize that there has to be proof that the person was driving. Sometimes people get contacted because they’re sitting in their car and it’s clear that they’ve been drinking, but it is possible that we can show that they did not actually drive.

Pleading guilty right away doesn’t allow for the case to be negotiated. Depending on some of the facts of the case, the DA’s office may be willing to offer a lower charge or a lower sentence. If there is someone there to actually speak for them and discuss the facts and circumstances of the case, that can be helpful. Without some sort of help, people often become stressed and find that they do not know how to deal with the overlap between the DMV and the court system. They’re not going to know how to get their license back or how to obtain a restricted license.

If someone in California were to plead guilty to a third DUI, they would have to serve a minimum of 120 days in custody. In Contra Costa, which is where I work, it’s normally a minimum of 180 days in custody. However, if you know what to do, then you can often get accepted into a residential rehabilitation program instead. As a result, you would be able to avoid jail time and work to address any issues with alcohol. The point is that if you just run to court and plead guilty, you’re essentially submitting to whatever they’re going to give you without any sort of ability to fashion it in a way that’s more beneficial to you.

For more information on Mistakes After A DUI Arrest, a free initial consultation is your best next step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (925) 308-6444 today.

Derek R. Ewin - Criminal Lawyer, Walnut Creek City

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