For many people charged with a DUI in Huntington Beach, California, it will be their first time inside of a courtroom. Without the guidance of a seasoned DUI attorney, the experience can be overwhelming.
After you are stopped, you will be tested, arrested, and subjected to various intimidating actions as you are processed by California’s criminal justice system.
The penalties for a conviction can be severe and you may have to live with the resulting criminal record for life. Your best chance of avoiding these consequences is to seek the assistance of an attorney who is experienced in defending against DUIs in Huntington Beach.
At The Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian, we will start with a thorough analysis of the DUI case against you to aggressively defend against the long-term impact on your future.
As experienced Huntington Beach DUI attorneys, we are ready to defend you or a loved one against a DUI charge even if it means taking your case to trial.
What happens after a DUI arrest in Huntington Beach?
From the moment of your arrest by the Huntington Beach Police Department, you will be treated like a criminal.
It is important to be respectful to the arresting officers while also not making any incriminating statements that will help their investigation. Remaining silent whenever possible is the best course of action.
After questioning, you will be asked to perform a series of field sobriety tests (FSTs) and to perform a preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) test. Both tests are voluntary and are used by the police officer to further gain evidence against you. As these tests are voluntary, it is recommended that you respectfully decline both. However, while a preliminary alcohol screening test is prior to arrest and voluntary, a chemical test (breath or blood) after arrest is not voluntary and you must comply. Failure to comply will result in additional punishments as discussed below.
Chemical tests after your arrest
Subsequent to being arrested, you are required to take a chemical test (breath or blood) to determine your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level. This test will be performed at the Huntington Beach Police Department, a local hospital, or local jail. The police will escort you to the appropriate location.
If you are over the age of 21 and register a BAC of 0.08% or higher, you will be subject to an automatic charge under California’s Vehicle Code 23152(b). Commercial drivers and drivers under the age of 21 are subject to lower BAC thresholds.
Submitting to a breath test may lead to a mandatory blood test if the officer has reasonable cause to believe that you were driving under the influence of a drug (or the combined influence of alcohol and drugs) and believes that a blood test will confirm that drugs are in your system.
The blood sample will be sent to a lab for analysis and may take up to, or in excess of, 10 days for the results to be confirmed.
Failure to submit to a breath or blood test after an arrest on suspicion of a DUI will lead to a “refusal” allegation against you. This will result in an automatic license suspension by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for one year for a first DUI or two years for a second DUI.
Your release and the arrest report
Subsequent to being detained for a few hours after your DUI arrest and chemical test, you may be released with a written promise to appear in court on a certain date and time, depending on your criminal record and the circumstances of your arrest.
During your arrest, the Huntington Beach Police Department will complete the necessary criminal and DMV forms. They will then send these reports to the District Attorney or prosecutor’s office and to the DMV.
From there, they will decide whether to file an official complaint against you in the criminal courts at the West Justice Center.
Driver’s license confiscation
The Huntington Beach Police Department will confiscate your driver’s license after your DUI arrest. You will, however, receive a DS 367 form that will act as a temporary driver’s license for 30 days from the date of issue.
After the thirtieth day, the DMV will suspend your license for four months unless you successfully contest the suspension. To contest the suspension, you will need to call the DMV within 10 days of your arrest to schedule a DMV Administrative Per Se hearing, after which your temporary license will be valid until the outcome of the DMV hearing.
Arraignment at the West Justice Center
The arraignment hearing is where the court advises you of your Constitutional Rights and the charges filed against you. You will be required to enter a plea of guilty, not guilty or no contest. No contest means that you do not contest the charges against you but has the exact same effect as an admission of guilt for the purposes of a criminal case.
Entering a plea of not guilty will result in a pre-trial date being set. If you enter a guilty plea, the judge will set a sentencing hearing date.