If you have been arrested for a California DWI (DUI) case, there are several mistakes you should avoid making. The Law Offices of David S. Chesley, INC would like to discuss the best way to protect yourself. A DUI is nothing to take lightly. With the proper legal representation, you can beat your case, avoid jail or prison, and keep your driver's license.
Take it Seriously
The first and perhaps the most important mistake to avoid when being arrested for a DUI is not taking the charge seriously. Don't treat a DUI case like another traffic citation. In California, many traffic offenses are typically infractions. That means that they are punishable by fine only. There is no probation or jail time. However, at best, a DUI conviction is a misdemeanor. It results in a criminal record and the suspension of your driver'0s license which may impact your life severely. You might be ordered to take alcohol classes, pay heavy fines, and spend up to one year in the county jail (more severe penalties for repeat offenders).
Make All of Your Court Hearings
Another big mistake to avoid is failing to appear in court. If you decide not to hire a DUI attorney, be sure you get to your court date on time! This is your arraignment, and the date is noted either on your citation or on your bail paperwork. Judges hate it when people don't take their responsibility to appear in court seriously. Failing to appear in court will result in a warrant being issued for your arrest, another charge of failure to appear in court, and a revoked bond if you are on bail.
Challenge Your Driver's License Suspension
One of the most important things to act on is preserving your right to challenge the suspension of your driver's license. This is called the DMV's 10-Day Rule. From the date of your DUI arrest, you have ten days, including holidays and weekends, to contact your local DMV and request an administrative hearing to challenge the suspension of your driver's license. Failure to act within that 10-day window will result in your license being suspended automatically for 30 days from the day of your arrest.
It's your right to challenge the suspension. By not even challenging it, you give the impression to the prosecutor that you have a week case. Don't just lay down and take it. Have your lawyer contact the DMV and schedule a hearing for you to challenge the suspension. After all, your ability to drive is on the line.
Don't make the mistake of representing yourself in court or at your DMV hearing. This will result in a guaranteed suspension of driver's license. In all of the years of defending clients at DMV hearings, we've never heard of someone winning their hearing on their own. The odds are definitely against you here, and your best bet for fighting your suspension is with an experienced DUI attorney from the Law Offices of David S. Chesley, INC. California DWI cases can sever ramifications, so get the representation you need.