Offenses involving DUI charges are nothing new in Orange County. We may often suffer a moment of weakness, where we make a wrong decision to drive just after taking a drink or two. Despite the stereotypes surrounding drivers arrested with DUI charges, you deserve a chance to undergo the due process of law that is fair towards you as an offender and works to help you reform. At the Orange County DUI Defense Attorney Law Firm, we are ready to offer all the help we can, should you be arrested and face DUI charges. We understand that it may be stressful and quite expensive to undergo the various procedural processes, including booking and bail. Thus, we are here to help you throughout the entire process.
What Are DUI Charges?
A DUI charge is made against you if you are found guilty of driving under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or both. The most common intoxicating element is alcohol, which makes law enforcement bodies take stringent measures to curb rampant cases.
For you to be charged with a DUI, a Basic Alcohol Content of 0.08% or more should be found in your body. The determination is made by taking a breath test that can record the alcohol content in your body system. If an officer in charge of your arrest suspects that you could be intoxicated from other drugs like marijuana, heroin, or cocaine, he or she is permitted to order for blood tests on you to establish the validity of the suspicion. The results are a determinant of the claim made against you, the defendant. If you fail to cooperate in the processes involved in taking the tests, it will often be to your detriment during bail hearings, as the judge considers certain factors before he or she makes a verdict as to whether to discharge you. Therefore, a high level of compliance is required of you, which will be helpful in the coming events of booking and bail.
Types of DUIs
Various types of DUIs attract different kinds of penalties and fines. They are all dependent on the circumstances surrounding your arrest, which will separate different groups of persons into various types. They are further discussed below.
- DUIs for People Under 21
California law operates on a policy of zero tolerance towards underage drinking. The law prohibits people under 21 from consumption of any alcoholic drinks or mind-altering drugs, which are often termed narcotics. An important point to note is that narcotics are banned for any age groups, and are illegal in the United States. Alcohol is, therefore, more available for abuse by underage people.
The law of zero tolerance prohibits drivers under 21 from operating or driving a car with a BAC of as low as 0.01% in their system. The laws are strict to reduce cases of drunk driving amongst the youth, who, unfortunately, are more prone to road accidents than other age groups. Despite the rigid and strict nature of the policy of zero tolerance, the law protects you if you have consumed an alcoholic drink like church wine that is meant for religious ceremonies. The law also protects you should you have consumed curative drugs intended to combat illnesses such as the flu. However, should the BAC be found to be over 0.01%, you may suffer some legal consequences.
The penalties to be given heavily rely on the results of your DUI drug tests. If you are found with a BAC of 0.01% or slightly higher, the officer in charge of your arrest is allowed by law to take your license away for a period of time. However, you are entitled to a collection of documents that you need to fill in. They give provisions that allow you to drive for up to 30 days in the state, a period where they act as a temporary license. After that, you are required to apply for an administrative suspension hearing, where you plead your case as to why you should not lose your driver’s license. A violation of this process results in an infraction and will attract further penalties for the defendant.
If you are found with a BAC of over 0.05% and are a repeat DUI offender under 21, you may face a fine of $100 and are required to attend a mandatory DUI class program, where you will be taught on the dangers of driving under the influence.
- Misdemeanor DUIs
Orange County recorded an average of 12,682 cases of misdemeanor DUIs in earlier studies applied to the subject. The magnitude of the numbers shows just how common these types of DUIs are, despite explicit law provisions prohibiting driving under the influence. Section 23152 of the California Vehicle Code makes it a crime to drive under the influence of alcohol or any other mind-altering substance. This is under subsection (a). Further, subsection (b) creates provisions for the strict Administrative Per Se laws, which are mandatory in their application. They are responsible for the rules requiring a minimum BAC of 0.08% for a DUI arrest to ensue.
Upon the arrest, you are required to schedule a hearing with the Department of Motor Vehicles in California within ten days from the arrest, where your liability will be determined. The consequences of misdemeanor DUIs attract penalties amounting up to $1,000. Your driving privileges that entail holding a proper driver’s license may also be suspended for up to a year. For repeat offenders, more severe sentences are placed, where an offender can be sentenced to jail time and harsher monetary penalties. Your license is also suspended in this case, for a more extended period than that of a first time offender. It may be highly likely that your driver's license is revoked, warranting re-application once you finish serving your sentence. Despite a charge of a misdemeanor for this type of DUI, it can still reflect on your criminal record and tarnish your criminal history record.
- Bicycle DUIs
The California Vehicle Code has provisions that expressly prohibit riding a bicycle on public roads or paths that are designated for vehicle users while under the influence of any drugs or alcohol. The requirement is made under section 20200.5 of the code. Thus, a cyclist found guilty of the offense stated above is charged with a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine. The price of fines payable may vary and are at the judge’s or hearing officer’s discretion based on the circumstances surrounding the arrest. If you are a rider under 21 years, your misdemeanor conviction often leads to a license suspension as well, due to the consumption of alcohol, which is prohibited to people under 21 years.
- Felony DUIs
This type of DUI is often relevant to repeat offenders who have been involved with any kind of DUI arrest in the past. The standard measure of time used in determining if a person is a repeat offender is ten years. If within this time, you may have obtained three or more charges, convicted of a DUI felony, or been involved with a DUI offense that leads to injury or death of another person, you are automatically liable for felony DUI charges. They attract a more substantial penalty, which includes serving time in jail for up to three years and suspension of your license. After serving your time, the court may also order you to take mandatory DUI classes, which you must complete if you are to be considered for a new license application.
- Drug-related DUI
If you are found to be intoxicated by other drugs that are not alcoholic but are mind-altering, you will be charged with a Drug DUI. Typically, there is no minimum requirement for the percentage of drugs that are to be found in your bloodstream for the charge to be entered. However, the blood tests may be ordered by the relevant authorities to affirm suspicions of your intoxication.
On top of the reliance on drug test results, your behavior during the time of arrest may be beneficial for the officers to establish that you are under the influence of drugs. You may show strange behavior such as loud admissions that you are “high,” for example. You may also exhibit telltale signs of an intoxicated person that is mostly based on physical appearance. You may be shaking, staggering, have bloodshot eyes, or incomprehensible speech. All these factors are corroborative evidence against you in the oncoming trials and hearings, and unfortunately, you may be unable to control yourself at the crucial time of the arrest. The courts also rely on reports made by a drug recognition expert, who can tell the effect of the drugs consumed on you.
Booking Process Upon Arrest
If any of the charges of the different DUI types fit your circumstances, you will be arrested for the offense of driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. The process of arrest is often traumatizing and challenging, especially if it is your first time in such a situation. Police officers follow specific procedures to book you into their detention facility. The booking process allows the officers to identify you and check your criminal record for any possible past arrests and charges. Moreover, from the booking process, the officers can determine if you are eligible for bail.
The booking process involves a series of events. Upon arrival at the station after an arrest, a thorough body search is done on you. This is a preventive measure that ensures you are not armed with any dangerous weapon that you can easily use to cause trouble, given that you are most likely still intoxicated upon arrival at the station. The body search also ensures that you do not have any hidden drugs which you are likely to sneak into your cell if undetected.
Afterward, the officers will take mugshot photos of you that are generally helpful in an identification process, if a case of identity crisis arises.
Your fingerprints will be taken in the booking process too, which enables the keeping of evidential records of your identity. Prints are a unique body feature, which is why they are highly required in any records that need verification of your identity.
The officers then record your personal information, details about your full name, address, contact information, and License or ID card numbers. This information is also valuable for you especially, as it proves your validity as an American citizen and therefore allows you fair trial under California law jurisdiction.
Detention After Booking
When officers finish the booking process and enter your name into the system, you will be detained in the station cells as you wait for further action. This requires you to play a part in securing your release. Following the requirements of law under the rights of an arrested person, you are allowed one phone call while in detention. It is noteworthy that the phone call can not be returned, and it is, therefore, up to you to provide relevant and essential information that will be helpful to secure your release. You may choose to call a loved one, who will then connect your case with your lawyers and other professionals who can help you.
You are therefore tasked with providing vital information like the location of the jail where you are, your full official names, and date of birth just to be sure of clarity-regardless of contact to a close family member. You should also give an estimate of the amount you will be required to pay as bail to get you out of the station. All this information may be difficult to recover from memory because of the stressful environment you are in, and even the most basic of information may become hard to remember, which is detrimental to your experience. You are therefore advised to remain calm throughout the call for maximum efficiency in giving of information.
If you decide to call your attorney, be sure to include all the crucial information mentioned above, especially on your current location and full names as they appear on official identification documents. This is the only way by which help will reach you on time, and the bailing process can begin.
The Bailing Process
A bail is an assurance or a promise based on monetary value, stating that you will show up for all your future hearings upon release. You are also required to write down the promise placed on the bail for record-keeping purposes. The monetary price must be paid to secure your release from jail, or else you remain detained.
For bail to be granted, several factors need to be established. Firstly, the likelihood of you becoming a repeat offender upon release must be disproved, because an unruly person cannot be allowed back into society without reformative action. Your previous track record will save you a great deal of trouble in bargaining for your freedom if it is clean. This is why it is always essential to avoid trouble that may attract a criminal record.
Secondly, you need to prove that you are not a risk factor to yourself or others around you. The requirement is there to ensure that you are in a sober state of mind, and can handle yourself reasonably upon release. The relevance of satisfying the condition is that many psychedelic drugs cause hallucinations and feelings of extra stimulation that may last as long as 72 hours. The defendant has to, therefore, show a completely sober state of mind to secure release.
In addition, it should be established whether you have a recurring drug problem such as addiction, especially if you are caught in a repeat offense. This is important in determining whether professional help will be issued to you, which may involve rehabilitation and therapy. If you accept these conditions, you may be released on bail.
After all these factors are well established in your favor, the bail application process continues. The next step is to involve your lawyer, who may require additional hiring fees. If the person responsible for paying your bail is unable to raise the full amount required, you may seek the help of a local bail bond agent to assist in acquiring the funds. However, it should be noted that the agents charge a 10% non-refundable fee on the total cost of bail, which should be promptly notified to you before agreeing to their services. On the other hand, if the person bailing you out can afford to make a full cash payment of the bail fee, the 10% cut does not apply because there is a direct flow of money.
Bail Costs of Varying DUI Charges
If you are charged with a misdemeanor DUI, you are likely to be released upon sobering up, or what is termed your own recognizance. You will be required to fill in some paperwork whereby you agree to the DU charges and vow to follow the instructions and requirements given by courts or hearing officers.
If your driving under the influence did not cause injury to a person, property damage, or any other form of destruction, your bail would amount anywhere from $1,000 to $15,000. However, it depends on how drunk you as the DUI offender was at the time of arrest, and whether you resisted arrest or failed to cooperate in undertaking breath tests or blood work tests.
If your DUI caused grievous bodily harm or death to victims of drunk driving, you might be facing a substantial penalty amounting anywhere from $100,000 payment of bail bond release. Payment of bond differs in that of bail, a bond payment requires full amounts to be settled before court hearings begin, to secure your attendance in court trials. If you faithfully attend all required hearings, your money will be exonerated and handed back to you or the person responsible for the bond payment. However, you need to follow the rules given by the letter, because a slight case of defiance may mean you will not be able to recover your bond money, which is quite a hefty sum.
All these determinations are made in court, in special hearings called bail and bond hearings where the judge makes an analysis of your case and checks whether you have been compliant with the laid out rules. If he or she finds your actions satisfactory, you will be released on bail or bond.
What Next After My Bail Release?
Upon release from detention, you can now begin the process of prosecution. Most DUI charges are straightforward. In the plea taking hearing, you may choose to plead guilty or not guilty to the charges presented against you.
If you plead guilty, the judge issues your sentence, which often includes fines and reformative action, such as attending the mandatory DUI classes. You may also be required to pay damages for any injury or property caused by your DUI. Depending on what type of offense you may have committed, your license may be suspended for a while. DUI arrestees also have legislation that supports positive reform, which restores hope in them. The California Senate Bill 1046 allows the DUI arrestees to drive without limitations, provided they fit their vehicle with an ignition lock that enables law enforcers to inhibit driving if certain conditions agreed upon by the arrested person are not being followed.
If you plead not guilty, a trial begins, and evidence is introduced in court, most of which may be against you. It is not always advisable to take this route unless you are entirely confident of your innocence, because there is overwhelming evidence against you, especially the breath or drug test results that prove your intoxication on the day of arrest. The court also has access to drug and medical experts who can easily disprove your defenses. Nevertheless, if you strongly feel that your case was wrongly placed, you can argue your case with the help of a professional and experienced DUI attorney.
Find a DUI Attorney Near Me
A DUI booking and bond application is not a fun process to undergo, especially when everything happens so fast around you. Despite a regrettable choice you made by operating a vehicle under the influence, we are here to help. At the Orange County DUI Defense Attorney Law Firm, we are glad to take on your case and offer you the help and legal expertise you require at this challenging time. Contact us at 714-740-7866 today.