If you have been stopped for a DUI, it is a very scary experience. It is also likely that you were taken into custody for at least a few hours. It is not a pleasant experience, and one that you would likely want to avoid in the future.
Many of our clients come into our office with no idea as to how the criminal courts process works. They do not know what the charges mean, or what their court date will entail. If you have been arrested for a DUI, this does not mean that you have been found guilty of a DUI. There will not be anything on your record, other than the arrest, which will only appear on your arrest record.
Before a court can find you guilty of a DUI, they must prove two elements beyond a reasonable doubt: 1) that you were driving and 2) you were intoxicated. Both elements must be present, it cannot be one over the other. If both elements are not proven beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law, then you cannot be found guilty of a DUI.
You can also be found guilty of a DUI if you enter a plea of no contest or guilty. Many client choose this option because it allows them to accept a good deal as far as sentencing is concerned and saves them the hassle and expense of trial. However, this is only a good option in certain cases, not every case. To determine whether this is a good option for you, with the facts of your case, it is important to speak to an experienced Los Angeles DUI lawyer. An attorney who has been doing this for thirty plus years has seen different fact patterns, has dealt with different judges and has practiced the same area of law time and time again. They know the Criminal Procedures, and the California Penal Code. This adds a huge advantage to determining whether a case is worth pursuing in trial, or if it is best to accept an offer.
On the same note is it important to know when an offer is a good one, and when it is better to pursue trail. This comes with knowledge of the actual Judges, and prosecutors that are on the case.
When you are arrested you are also issued what is called a citation. If you take a look at the citation it shows which statue or code section you have been charged with. If it is a DUI, it will likely be California Vehicle Code §23152 and 23153. If there is a different code section started on the citation, then it is possible you have been charged with something other than a DUI.
The citation will also indicate as to when you must appear in court, and a court location. This is not an optional appearance. You MUST appear. Not appearing can lead to additional charges and offenses, such as a bench warrant.
If you have been arrested for a DUI, or any criminal offense, it is a good idea to contact a criminal lawyer as soon as possible. It can make the difference between a dismissal, reduced charge, or a full blown trial.