Have you been arrested for a DUI?
You had a few drinks and then drove away in your car. You were pulled over and arrested and now you’re facing a DUI charge. Now you’re asking yourself “what happens now?” You’ve got questions about the process of hiring a lawyer, whether you’ll need to go to court and if so, what do you wear? You also want to know how long will the legal process take. Luckily, we’ve got the answers to each one of those questions. Below we answer 4 frequently asked questions potential new clients ask us after being charged with a DUI.
While we aim to provide the most accurate answer to these questions, it’s important to note that every case is unique, as is every outcome. Please use the following as a general guide for what MAY happen as opposed to what WILL happen. For the most accurate answers to your particular questions, it’s best to consult with an experienced DUI attorney.
I. How does hiring a lawyer work?
Once you have selected the right lawyer to handle your DUI case, you will need to sign a legal services agreement commonly referred to as a retainer agreement. This document will set forth the parameters of the agreement, the costs, payment terms, and any exclusions or limitations. Retainer agreements can be completed in person, by email, mail, fax, or online.
Most of our clients now prefer to review and execute the retainer agreement using DocuSign which provides a digital signature that can be completed using a smartphone, tablet, or computer. Copies of the signed agreement are then automatically distributed by email to both the law firm and the client.
After signing the retainer agreement and paying the legal fees, our office will immediately begin the process of protecting your legal rights by setting up a hearing with the DMV and requesting copies of all the relevant evidence to prepare your defense.
II. Will I need to show up in court?
On a misdemeanor DUI case, your lawyer can appear for you at most or all of your court dates. Exceptions to this rule would be if the Judge specifically orders you to appear, if you need to testify, or if your lawyer believes there would be strategic advantage to having you physically present.
On a felony DUI case the opposite is true. For a felony you will generally need to be present at all court dates. CV19 has changed this somewhat as the court is now allowing for more remote appearances due to the pandemic, but these changes are expected to be temporary measures.
III. What should I bring/wear to my court date?
If you are appearing in court, you must follow a few simple rules. First, dress appropriately for court. This does not mean that you need to wear a suit and tie or that your case will be dismissed or receive favorable treatment if you dress better. It does mean that you will not be allowed in the courtroom if you are wearing a hat, shorts, sandals, tank top, or other inappropriate items.
How strict this rule is applied varies greatly from courthouse and even from court room to court room. Be sure to ask your lawyer about the rules for your court appearance prior to appearing in court in person. Second, be prepared to go through full security. Just like going to the airport, you will go through a metal detector and you and your belongings are subject to search. Do not bring anything illegal to the courthouse like weapons or drugs. This includes marijuana, tobacco/vaping products, and lighters.
You will also want to avoid bringing anything sharp like a nail file, pocket knife, etc. as you will either be forced to throw the item away upon entry, or you will have to walk it back to your car and wait in line to pass through security a second time. Do not show up for court under the influence of drugs or alcohol and do not drive to or from court if you do not have a valid license. Courts in California are notorious for having officers follow DUI offenders from the court room to the parking lot and make arrests for driving on a suspended license.
IV. What is the court process like? How long does it take?
Every case is different and it’s possible that your case could go much faster or slower than the average case. But the average misdemeanor DUI case will take about 90 days to make its way through the court system. The average felony DUI case will take 6 months or longer.
If you’ve been arrested for a DUI and you’d like an experienced DUI attorney to answer your specific questions, schedule your free consultation today by calling 800-797-8406 or visit https://www.socaldefenselawyers.com/ for more information. As we’ve previously stated, no two DUI cases are the same. There are many varying factors that can yield varying results. Your best shot at getting the best possible outcome for your case is by hiring an experienced attorney from the Law Offices of Mark A. Gallagher to handle your case. Give us a call today to see how we can help.