Arrested for DUI? Here are 3 things you must do now!
- If arrested for alcohol related DUI, you have 10 days from the date of arrest to preserve your hearing rights with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
When you were arrested the officer took your driver license and should have given you a pink document, which is an order of suspension and temporary license. This temporary license is good for 30 days from the date it is given to you. After the 30 days, a suspension of your driver license will go into effect automatically unless you preserve your hearing rights within 10 days from arrest. The length of the suspension will depend on if you have prior DUI convictions in the past 10 years.
If you preserve your hearing rights with the DMV within 10 days of receiving the pink document, all suspension action against your driver license will be stopped and no suspension will go into effect until the DMV hearing process is completed. The purpose of the DMV hearing is to contest the arrest and suspension to save your driver license so that no suspension occurs.
Be advised that special rules apply to the DMV hearing process that are different than the court case. In addition, the issues at a DMV license suspension hearing are:
- Did the officer have probable cause to believe that you were driving under the influence of alcohol?
- Were you lawfully arrested?
- And, at the time of driving was your blood alcohol concentration at least .08%?
The goal in defending a DMV hearing and saving your driver license is to show that one or more of the above issues are not supported by the evidence.
- Preserve your memory of everything that happened leading up to your arrest.
Using your computer, write down all of the things that you can remember from the time the police officer stopped you, all the way through the DUI investigation, and the arrest and booking into jail. It is important to use your computer if you can so that you can save the draft of your written statement and review it later. Because of the traumatic experience of being arrested, you may not remember all of the details at first, so in a few days you should review your written statement and then add anything you might have forgotten. By documenting all of your memories in this way, you will have all of the details ready to provide to your lawyer. If you donÕt have a computer, use paper and pen to write down everything that you remember.
Remember to be as detailed as you can. Start from the moment you saw the red lights behind your car as you were driving.
Reason for stop and initial contact: Why did the police officer stop you? Write down everything that you remember and what the officer told you when he walked up to your window. Did the officer ask you if you had been drinking alcohol? What was your answer? What happened next?
Field Sobriety Tests:
Did the officer have you perform field sobriety tests? Did the officer tell you that field sobriety tests are voluntary tests? Did you perform them? Which tests did you perform?
Preliminary Screen Breath Test:
Did the officer ask you to blow into a breath testing device? Did the officer tell you that this breath test was voluntary and that you have a right not to take the test? Did you blow into the device? How many times did you blow? Do you know what the result was?
After you were arrested, did the officer tell you of your choice to blow into a breath device or give a blood sample? What did the officer say? Which test did you choose? If you gave a blood test, where were you when they drew your blood sample? Which arm did they draw the blood from? Were there any issues regarding the blood draw? Was there any bruising of your arm afterwards? If there was bruising on your arm after the blood draw, did you take a photo of the bruised arm? Did you observe anything else about the blood draw? If you chose a breath test, where were you when you blew into the breath test machine? How many times did you blow into the machine? Do you know what the result was? Did you observe anything else about the breath test?
Where did the officer take you after you were arrested? Did anything unusual happen during the arrest or booking process? What court do you have to appear in and on what date (look at bottom of the Notice to Appear that you received).
The above are just general questions regarding a typical DUI investigation and arrest. Be sure to add anything else that relates to your specific case.
- If arrested for a drug / prescription medication DUI (NO ALCOHOL), the 10-day requirement to preserve your DMV hearing rights DOES NOT apply to you.
If you were arrested for a drug/medication DUI (this includes marijuana), the officer should not take away your driver license as the DMV will not try to suspend your driver license solely on the fact that you were arrested. Therefore, there is no need to preserve your DMV hearing rights within 10 days of arrest, as this only happens when you are arrested for an alcohol DUI arrest.
However, keep in mind that if you are convicted in court for driving under the influence of a drug or medication, including marijuana, the DMV will then suspend your driver license based on the court conviction. The length of the suspension will depend on if you have prior DUI convictions in the past 10 years.
If you are arrested for drug/medication DUI, write down all of the things that you can remember from the time the police officer stopped you, all the way through the DUI investigation, as discussed above in section 2. In addition, and if applicable, be sure to gather all of the prescriptions for medications that you had taken. This is very important.