What Do I Do After I Get a DUI?
How Did I Get Into This?
Using prescription, or other drugs, or drinking, and driving, requires two components – the consumption, and the act of driving. But being caught usually means that you had an accident, or a run in with the law for some traffic or other violation – no headlights, weaving, speeding, etc.
In the big picture, you and only you can analyze for yourself whether or not you need the assistance of others for any problems. The big issue for most people is whether or not there is an issue that repeatedly has caused you problems or taken priority over other areas of your life, including your career, your family, or your education. You can take the Alcohol Use Disorder Test (an online test to see if you may have a problem at this link or take the “Am I an Alcoholic Quiz” at this link.
How are you Feeling About Your DUI?
You are probably ashamed. Or mad at the situation, at the police, at others, or at yourself. You might be feeling hopeless. You likely are scared of punishment, or what might happen to you, your career, or your license.
All of these feelings are common and are normal. You’re also doing the right thing, by researching your situation, gathering information, and coming up with a plan to see what you can do and how to get through this. That’s how you found this page, and you are to be commended for that.
The Most Common Fears About DUI
- Am I going to end up with a criminal record from my DUI?
- Am I going to do jail time for my DUI?
- Am I going to lose my license, or my driving privileges, from my DUI?
- Are there going to be long-term effects from getting arrested for a DUI, that I will need to deal with, for years to come?
What do I do first after my DUI arrest?
I recommend that you do the following when you are released after being arrested for a DUI, in the following order:
- Gather all your paperwork;
- Find and take steps to obtain your vehicle;
- Write down everything you can remember about the 6 hours before your DUI, and what happened when you were stopped, and all facts, details, and timing, about what testing you were given, including field sobriety tests, breath, blood, or urine tests.
- Catch up on sleep if needed.
- Take a deep breath. The real work is about to begin, and you will want to be calm and collected and strategic about this.
- Contact our firm, or an attorney of your choice, to have the DMV hearing scheduled. We will do this for you free of charge and will do so via fax, and follow up with phone call so that it can be proven that the request was made within 10 days.
- If you choose not to have an attorney help you, that’s fine, but make sure you contact the DMV within 10 days of your arrest. The DMV is very strict on this time limit, so do not delay. You can call the DMV hearing office for Orange County by calling (714) 703-2511. Request a copy of all police reports and documents to be used at the hearing, and request a stay on suspension (this stops any driver’s license suspension and extends your temporary license).
- Conduct attorney interviews and have them review the police report with you once sent from the DMV to you.
- Begin to gather character reference letters for use in your case, and other mitigation evidence – charity work, a resume or school transcript, volunteer work, special certifications or skills, or proof of alcohol or rehab program work.
- Make sure your attorney, or you, attend your court dates, and your DMV hearing. Many people have found themselves in bigger trouble by missing an important date.
What Do I Need to Do With the DMV?
As mentioned above, the DMV requires that you request a hearing from the DMV within 10 days of your arrest to prevent your license from an automatic suspension.
If your DUI arrest occurred in any one of the cities that are in Orange County, your hearing will be in one place – The DMV Hearing Office in Orange. The phone number is (714) 703-2511.
In Riverside and San Bernardino, your DMV hearing will be requested from the San Bernardino DMV hearing office. San Diego has one office also, and Los Angeles is split up into several regions, depending on where your arrest was.
We recommend not delaying with this hearing request, as the DMV can be difficult to reach via phone, closes early, and they are very strict about the ten-day time limit.
Requesting a DMV hearing can only help you. Even if you are convinced that you will suffer a suspension and don’t want to fight it, the DMV hearing helps you by giving you a copy of your police report before your court date, and gives you the chance to cross-examine your police officer before a court or jury trial, and conduct investigation through a subpoena or other means for purpose of defending the action at the DMV. You can always cancel a DMV hearing once set, any time.
What Do I Need to Do With the Court?
Alleged offenders must attend a court hearing, or have an attorney appear for them, about 4-5 weeks after their arrest and release. If your paperwork has a court date on it, you must show up, or an attorney must appear for you, on your behalf.
Having a BAC above a .08% is against the law in all 50 states. In California, you can be charged with anything that puts you under the influence and unable to drive safely (CVC 23152(a)), or being above a .08%, even if you were not under the influence, CVC 23152(b).
Certain factors can allow the prosecutor to ask for additional penalties. Those include:
- Having an accident, with property damage or injury to another;
- Having a prior DUI;
- Being on probation for a DUI or any other offense;
- Having a child in the car with you (anyone under age 18 is a minor, under the law);
- Having a blood alcohol level at or above double the legal limit (0.16%);
- Allegations that you were speeding while DUI (at or above 30 mph above the speed limit while intoxicated);
- Refusing an evidentiary breath or blood test.
Court Fines and Fees
For a first time DUI, the minimum fees are $390 plus assessments, and other fees, and total anywhere from $1500 to $2100 minimum depending on the court. You are allowed to make payments or do community service to pay off this amount.
Will I Get Jail Time?
The maximum punishment for a first time DUI is over $3000 in fines, and fees, and six months in jail. First-time offenders usually don’t get any jail, however, in most cases.
Ignition Interlock Device.
In Los Angeles County and certain Northern California Counties, installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) is mandatory upon conviction. An IID requires the driver to blow into a machine to start any vehicle that they own or drive. If alcohol is detected, the car will not start, and if alcohol is detected while operating, the car will shut down. The cost is a $200 installation, and about $80 per month to continue to maintain the device.
Orange County does not currently require the Ignition Interlock Device. The DMV will shorten a suspension for a second time, non-refusal offense, if you install an IID.
Insurance and An SR-22.
An SR-22 form, which is used for proof of insurance, is used to reinstate driving privileges for persons with a DUI. See our page with instructions and recommended strategies for issuing an SR-22 in DUI cases: SR22 and a DUI.
How Can I Make Sure I am Never in This Situation Again?
No one wants you to be a repeat customer here – not the courts, not the prosecutor, not the alcohol schools, not the insurance companies, and certainly not our Orange County DUI lawyer. Follow this basic advice to make sure you never face this situation again, ever:
- Have someone else drive
- Drink water to full hydration any time you are drinking
- Eat before drinking any alcohol
- When driving, don’t violate any traffic law.
If you need the services of our Orange County DUI Attorney, contact us any time at (877) 568-2977. We can use our years of experience to help you.