Many people who are arrested for DUI are often confused, overwhelmed, and, sometimes, scared. "What happens next?" and "What should I do now?" are two questions that we are frequently asked to Berglund Law Office, P.C. when a potential client calls. To make matters worse, there is frequently a substantial amount of time that may pass from the date of the arrest until the first court date. The Los Angeles City Attorney, Los Angeles County District Attorney, and other prosecutors' offices vary on how quickly they file criminal DUI complaints. Sometimes the case is filed by the date that is given on the DUI citation or the bail bonds receipt. In other situations, it could be weeks or months later before the case is filed. The delay could be the result of the prosecutor awaiting blood test results or supplemental information from the law enforcement officers or it could be simply that the prosecutor is busy and has a backlog of DUI arrest reports awaiting review and filing.
To answer the questions posed above ("What happens next?" and "What should I do now?") we need to take a look at the facts of an individual's situation. Was the person required to post bail? If yes, this is likely because the case was a felony or they have prior DUI convictions. A person in this situation may want to consider wearing an alcohol monitoring bracelet (this means that you cannot consume alcoholic beverages). There are a couple of reasons. First, there is nothing to prevent the prosecutor from seeking a bail increase at the arraignment (the first court date). One of the reasons that prosecutor's provide the court in DUI cases is that the defendant poses a threat to public safety because of their drinking and driving. If the person has already voluntarily placed the alcohol monitoring bracelet on their body then this argument is moot. If you are not consuming alcohol then you cannot drink and drive. Therefore, it cannot be argued that you are a threat to the community. The second benefit to installing an alcohol monitoring device is that it may be helpful in plea negotiations with the prosecutor. Assuming no legal defenses exist to the charges, and it is in the best interests of the client to enter into a plea bargain, a good DUI attorney may be able to convince the prosecutor to agree to a sentence with no jail time in exchange for the person keeping the alcohol monitoring device on for an agreed upon period of time.
For those individuals who were released on their own recognizance (e.g., not required to post bail) following their DUI arrest, which usually includes first time DUI offenses not involving an accident or injury, or a 2nd DUI arrest without a probation violation or accident/injury, it is usually not necessary to put an alcohol monitoring device on (understanding that every case is unique so there may be situations where it would be appropriate). However, it is always a good idea for a person who has been arrested for DUI to voluntarily begin attending Alcoholics Anonymous classes. Proof of attendance in AA classes can also assist your DUI lawyer in plea bargain negotiations (not to mention it may also serve the individual well). In some situations, it may even be helpful to enroll early in an alcohol program.
Being arrested for DUI can be overwhelming. Do not feel like you must deal with this alone. CONTACT our office today for a free and confidential consultation. Berglund Law Office, P.C. specializes in representing individuals in this situation. Mr. Berglund is dedicated to representing persons arrested on suspicion of DUI, many of whom have never had any contact with the criminal justice system. He will provide you with an honest evaluation of your case, based on the information that is available, following your DUI arrest and provide you with your best options for how to manage the situation before DUI criminal charges are filed.