Sacramento DUI Process

Facing a DUI charge can be a confusing and frightening experience. The endless paperwork, court appearances and knowing what steps to take next can drive anyone insane. Familiarity with the courts and legal system are essential if you want to have any chance of winning your case. That is why you need the help of an experienced legal professional who understands the California DUI process and can assist you with your specific needs.

 

The Law Office of Joshua Kaizuka specializes in handling California DUI offenses and knows what it takes to help clients in their time of need. With over 15 years of experience in handling DUI cases, our attorneys are your local experts in California DUI law and litigation.

If you or someone you know is facing a DUI arrest, contact us today at 916-706-0678 to discuss your case with one of our knowledgeable DUI attorneys. The consultation is free of charge, and there is no obligation required to talk to us.

 

DUI INVESTIGATION

Although the specifics of each case are different, a DUI investigation can begin in several ways.

Traffic Stops

Traffic stops can be initiated by law enforcement for a variety of reasons, but usually stem from some sort of moving violation. Some of the most common include things like running a red light or stop sign, weaving in and out of traffic lanes, speeding, or other suspicious driving behavior.

Vehicle Defects

In other cases, drivers may be stopped not because of their actions on the road, but instead due to the condition of their vehicle. Defects such as broken headlights, inoperable brake or turn signals, or damaged windshields or mirrors can quickly draw law enforcement’s attention.

Accidents

Sometimes police are completely unaware of a driver's actions until arriving at the scene of an accident or responding to a distress call from other drivers or bystanders.

DUI Checkpoints

Although the rules and regulations governing their usage are complicated, law enforcement agencies are increasingly turning to DUI checkpoints as a means to catch intoxicated motorists.

 

Once officers make contact with the suspected DUI driver, they will look for what is known as “objective signs of intoxication.” These would be the characteristics most often associated with impaired driving.

 
  • Red eyes or a flush face
  • Slurred speech
  • Trouble maintaining balance
  • Smell of alcohol on one’s breath

If police find probable cause to believe a driver may be intoxicated, a DUI investigation will begin. Most people will be asked to take a PAS (Preliminary Alcohol Screening Device) or breathalyzer test to confirm that intoxication is present. If you do not pass this or other field sobriety tests, you will likely be arrested and booked for DUI.

 

At this point, depending on the officer’s findings, you may find yourself in violation of California Vehicle Code 23152(a) - or its more commonly known name - Driving Under the Influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol.

DUI ARREST

One of the first things law enforcement is required to do after DUI arrest is to have the driver take another, more comprehensive blood or breath chemical test. These secondary procedures are typically done at a hospital, jail or police station to more accurately measure a person's blood alcohol level.

Depending on the results of the chemical test, if a driver's BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) is at .08% or higher they will also be in violation of California Vehicle Code 23152(b) - Driving with an Excessive BAC.

You always have the option to refuse a DUI test, but keep in mind that you can still be booked for drunk driving (and will face much stiffer penalties later if found guilty) as well as a DMV administrative suspension of 1 year where you will not be eligible for a restricted license.

 

If you are charged with a DUI for a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher, you will be required to surrender your driver's license immediately to the arresting officer. The California DMV will be notified of the arrest and begin the process to suspend your driving privileges within 30 days of the incident. That is unless you ask for what is known as a DMV Hearing.

The hearing must be requested within ten days following your arrest. It is advantageous to file because this keeps your driving privileges intact until the outcome of the investigation is decided.

For the inexperienced, DMV hearings can be a stressful event. This is a good time to consider enlisting the help of a qualified DUI attorney to help you understand the DUI process. Hiring the right DUI lawyer can make all the difference between successfully negotiating a settlement and suffering the consequences of possible fines, jail time and losing the privilege to drive.

 

If you need help managing a DMV hearing, or have questions about any other aspect of DUI law, contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your case.

DUI CRIMINAL ARRAIGNMENT

Your first formal court appearance will happen during the arraignment phase of your case. If you are charged with a misdemeanor, your Sacramento DUI attorney can appear on your behalf if it is a misdemeanor. However, if facing felony charges, you will be required to appear as well.

During your arraignment, the formal charges or “complaint” will be read to you. This is also the time when you will enter a plea for the case whether it be “guilty”, “not guilty” or “no contest” in many counties. In some, no plea is entered and the case is continued. If you choose to plead "guilty" or "no contest", you will be sentenced, and the case will be closed. Otherwise, the DUI process continues moving forward.

The arraignment is the start of the criminal case and your DUI lawyer will formally ask the prosecution for any evidence required to mount your defense. Your attorney will also be prepared to address any last minute issues that may come up including bail motions or the like.

 

DUI PRE-TRIAL CONFERENCE

By the start of the pre-trial Phase of the case, your DUI attorney will have received and reviewed all of the evidence related to your case. Once again, for misdemeanors, your lawyer can appear on your behalf in court. Otherwise, you will need to be present.

The pre-trial phase of the case is when negotiations begin to ramp up on both sides of the aisle. Your lawyer will know the strong points of your defense while the prosecution should understand the weaknesses of their case. This inevitably leads to a lot of back and forth negotiations.

This is also the time when any relevant Pre-Trial Motions might be filed. Some of the most common include:

Motion to Suppress Evidence: Used to counteract any evidence that may have been obtained through unlawful search and seizure methods. Negating such evidence serves to strengthen your case.

Pitchess Motion: Useful when the arresting officer might have a history of complaints or bad behavior. If there is something in the officer's personnel file that relates to falsifying reports, illegal arrests, or something that relates the credibility of the officer, it can be useful in your case.

These and other similar motions may apply based on the specific circumstances of your situation. An experienced DUI Law Firm can help you determine what type of motions and DUI defense will work best for your case.

If you or someone you know has recently been arrested for a DUI, contact our offices today at 916-706-0678 to receive your complimentary consultation. Our entire team is dedicated to serving our clients and can answer any DUI related legal questions you may have.

DUI TRIAL

Cases that cannot be settled beforehand proceed on to the trial phase of the process. For misdemeanor violations, you have the right to request a trial by jury or to stand before a judge. In most circumstances, trials by jury are the preferable option.

Instead of having a single person decide your fate (the judge), instead, 12 separate people (jurors) must UNANIMOUSLY decide whether you are guilty or innocent. This greatly improves your odds of success, because if all 12 jurors cannot agree on a verdict the result will be a “hung jury” and the case may be dismissed.

There are - of course - pros and cons involved with whether or not you choose to take a case to trial. Seeking the help of a knowledgeable and experienced DUI lawyer can help you decide which path is right for you.

CHOOSING YOUR SACRAMENTO DUI ATTORNEY

You have many choices when it comes to deciding who will represent you and your DUI case. Some will choose to accept the public defender that is assigned to them. Public defenders cannot represent you in DMV administrative hearings, subpoena records for the DMV hearing, and in most cases, due to their caseloads, be able to answer your questions and advise you of the timing and steps necessary to get you back on the road with your privilege to drive.

Others make the decision to decline legal counsel altogether or simply go it alone and represent themselves. Needless to say, this rarely works out well for anyone involved.

If you are serious about fighting your DUI arrest and possibly reducing or eliminating your sentence, seek the help of a professional DUI attorney. Someone with the training and experience required to negotiate on your behalf and win in this complex area of law.

Contact the Law Office of Joshua Kaizuka at 916-706-0678 to discuss the details of your arrest and explore the strategies that can be used in defense of your charges. Joshua Kaizuka has over 15 years of experience with the DUI process and can assist in resolving your case.

Remember, time is of the essence. The sooner you contact us, the more time we have to build your defense and increase your chances of success. Call now!