The only way to avoid an arrest for driving under the influence is to not drink and drive. However, if you have been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence there are a few steps you should consider taking in order to protect your rights.
- Within 10-days following your arrest for driving under the influence you should contact the Department of Motor Vehicles. If you were arrested in Fresno, Madera, or Merced County, contact the Department of Motor Vehicles Driver’s Safety Office at (559) 445-6399. The phone numbers and addresses for other Driver’s Safety Offices can be found at http://dmv.ca.gov/fo/dsolistings.htm.
- Contact an experienced Fresno Criminal Defense/DUI Attorney to assist you with scheduling the hearing, issuing the appropriate subpoenas, challenging the license suspension at the hearing, and, if necessary, appealing an adverse decision.
- Schedule an in-person administrative per se hearing. Request that the Department of Motor Vehicles provide you with the police reports relating to your arrest and the results of the chemical test. You should also request that the stay of your driving privilege remain in place pending the hearing.
- After you receive the police reports from the Department of Motor Vehicles, you should consider issuing a subpoena for the arresting officer and a subpoena duces tecum to the arresting agency for additional information that you may be able to introduce into evidence at the hearing. You should also consider issuing a subpoena duces tecum to the agency that performed the blood analysis or, in the event you elected to submit to a breath test, to the agency that maintains the breath testing device, to determine whether the test was conducted in compliance with Title 17 of the California Code of Regulations. You will be responsible for the costs associated with issuing the subpoenas.
- If you have not received the subpoenaed information prior to your scheduled hearing date, or learn that the arresting officer is unavailable, you may want to consider requesting a continuance of the hearing. Your right to continue the hearing is set forth in Government Code section 11524. However, you must establish “good cause” for your request.
- If your request to continue the hearing is denied, you can file an ex-parte application for Writ of Mandate with the court and request that the hearing be continued. Your right to seek relief in the Superior Court is also set forth in Government Code section 11524 subdivision (c). However, this is an involved process that may require the assistance of an experienced Fresno Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Attorney.
- Prior to the hearing determine what information that you have received in response to your subpoenas. Some of the information may assist you in persuading the Department of Motor Vehicles that there is insufficient evidence to suspend your driving privilege.
- At the hearing introduce all relevant evidence that may assist with your defense, and question the arresting officer with respect to the grounds for the initial detention, subsequent arrest, and his or her knowledge in performing an evidential breath test. In the event you elected to submit to a blood test, you have the right to subpoena the analyst who completed the test to determine if this individual is qualified.
- Once the hearing is complete you will receive notice from the Department of Motor Vehicles regarding whether the license suspension will be set-aside or if the suspension will remain in effect. In the event that the Department of Motor Vehicles upholds the suspension, your driving privilege will be suspended for 30-days. The 30-day suspension applies to individuals who have no prior administrative suspensions for driving under the influence, or prior convictions for driving under the influence. Furthermore, the 30-day suspension only applies if you were over the age of 21 at the time of the arrest. If this is your second offense, you were under the age of 21 at the time of the arrest, or you refused to submit to a chemical test, a longer period of suspension may apply.
- You have the right to challenge the administrative suspension through an administrative review. In order to have an administrative review of the suspension, you will need to submit the required fees to the Department of Motor Vehicles. You also have the right to appeal the decision to the Superior Court having jurisdiction over the matter. Depending on the facts and circumstances of your case, you can forego filing an appeal, or elect to request an administrative review (informal appeal), file an appeal with the Superior Court, or both. There are deadlines that must be followed in order to preserve your right to challenge the administrative suspension.
The most important step you should consider if arrested for driving under the influence is to hire an experienced Fresno Criminal Defense Attorney. We excel in assisting individuals who have been charged with driving under the influence (DUI). If you have been arrested for driving under the influence you should contact an experienced Fresno DUI Defense Attorney. Our office provides clients with an unparalleled defense and will take the necessary steps to defend your best interest.
If arrested in Madera County, you should contact an experienced Madera Criminal Defense Attorney.