(1) Fresno Police Traffic Stop and DUI Investigation
In most cases, the police officer will pull a car over after the officer has allegedly witnessed some form of a traffic violation. These traffic violations can include running a stop signal; the car having a broken tail light; speeding; or weaving in and out of lanes. After an officer has stopped the car, they will try and determine whether or not the driver has consumed alcohol. Many drivers may actually voluntarily tell the police officer that they have had a few drinks, or they were coming home from the bar. Based on this information, the police will often have the driver exit the vehicle to continue their investigation into a possible DUI. They generally ask a series of questions related to alcohol consumption, including: "How many drinks have you had?" or "Where are you driving to?"
The purpose of the officer asking these types of questions is an attempt to determine the level of the driver's intoxication. This information is considered "objective symptoms of intoxication," or OSI's. If the officer determines the driver has a sufficient level of OSI, they will ask for a breath sample, or preliminary alcohol screening (PAS). In fact, you are not required to take a PAS. This breath test is only for investigative purposes and is not the same as the breath sample you will be required to give after an arrest.
(2) The Fresno DUI Arrest
If the driver has submitted to the PAS and results show the driver to be above the legal limit, the officer may arrest the driver. Or, if the police officer thinks the driver has performed poorly on any number of the administered field sobriety tests (FST's), the officer can arrest the driver. A police officer can also arrest a driver if they think the driver cannot operate the vehicle safely. In California, the two most common DUI charges include:
Vehicle Code §23152(a), driving under the influence; and
Vehicle Code §23152(b), driving with a 0.08 percent or higher blood alcohol content (BAC)
(3) Administrative California DMV Hearing
After being arrested for a DUI, the police will confiscate your driver's license, and give you a copy of a pink paper. This paper acts as a temporary license, titled Suspension Order and Temporary License. The paper serves as a temporary driver's license for 30 days, and as a notice that the temporary license will be automatically suspended after 30 days, unless you request a DMV hearing.
It is important to understand that a driver only has 10 DAYS from the date of arrest in Fresno to request the DMV hearing. If the driver does not request the hearing, the suspension is automatic. If the driver does request a hearing within the 10 day deadline, suspension will be postponed until after the DMV hearing. The hearing can be done by telephone or in-person, but in-person hearings are generally recommended.
(4) The DUI Arraignment
You will also receive a citation to appear in court. On the bottom of the citation will be the date of appearance. This is known as an arraignment, and if you are charged with a misdemeanor DUI, your lawyer can appear on your behalf. In fact, your attorney can appear on your behalf for most of the future court dates.
During the arraignment, either you or your attorney will enter a plea to the court, such as “not guilty.” At this time, you or your attorney will receive initial police and scientific reports related to your arrest. Additionally, future pre-trial court dates will be set at this time.
(5) Pre-Trials and Motions
Pre-trials and motions are opportunities for your DUI defense attorney to:
- Argue DUI motions before the court on your behalf;
- Request additional information and DUI reports from prosecutors; and
- Negotiate on your behalf with both the prosecutor and the court.
Depending on the situation, your lawyer and the prosecution can reach a settlement, and your plea will be entered before the court. There may be a number of pre-trial dates, depending on the case.
(6) DUI Jury Trials in California
As the defendant, you are guaranteed the right to a trial by jury. A defendant can require the prosecution to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt in front of a jury of one's peers. Your DUI attorney will meet with you to discuss the specifics of your case, any possible defenses, and help determine whether or not your case should go to trial. The decision to go to trial is ultimately left up to the client.
Terry A. Wapner and David E. Jones have more than 65 years of combined experience defending people who have been arrested for a DUI. They can represent the entire Central Valley, with clients in Fresno, Kings, Tulare, Madera, Merced Counties, including the cities of Hanford, Lemoore, Visalia, Coalinga, Clovis, and more. If you are facing a DUI charge, you need a lawyer who specializes in DUI defense and will fight for your rights.
Don't hesitate, call us at (559) 257-4707 to schedule your initial consultation.