Monday, November 25, 2013

I Was Arrested for DUI in Riverside, CA. What Can I Expect?

Riverside County has some of the strictest penalties for first-time DUI offenders in California.  If you're convicted of DUI anywhere in Riverside County, you're likely to receive costly fines, loss of your driving privileges, mandatory classes and at least 3 years of probation.  Unlike other jurisdictions in California, though, anyone convicted of DUI in Riverside is also likely to serve some time in custody, even for a first offense.  The time you spend in custody may vary depending on the circumstances of your case.  You might also qualify for some alternative to jail (home detention, weekends, labor, etc.), depending on a lot of factors.

Anyone convicted of DUI in California is required to attend a mandatory, 3-month alcohol education program, called "AB-541".  Riverside County has chosen to make this process more complicated than necessary.  Rather than simply allowing participants to enroll into the classes, Riverside requires all attendees to participate in a mandatory "orientation" session.  Of course, they charge a fee for this "orientation".  If you fail to schedule your orientation within 5 days of your court appearance, you'll be required to return to court for a new referral.  You could also be accused of violating your probation, which may result in more jail time.

The budget crunch in Riverside County means that more defendants are being crowded into fewer courtrooms, resulting in longer waits in less comfortable seating.  Make sure that you arrive on time to court, though.  Leave plenty of time for the security line.  If you check in late, you'll be turned away.  A warrant will be issued for your arrest and you'll have to request a new court date.

At your arraignment (your first court appearance), the judge will inform you of the charges against you.  You'll have an opportunity to either, 1) admit all the charges and resolve your case on the spot, 2) request the services of the Public Defender, or 3) request some time to speak with a private attorney.

As a private attorney, I'd recommend option #3.  An experienced, local DUI defense attorney can help you navigate the complicated process of fighting a DUI.  We provide peace of mind by helping you understand the legal procedures and your options going forward.  We can review the evidence to determine the strength of the case against you, as well as any possible defenses.  Even if you're guilty as charged, your counsel can often help negotiate a fair deal to resolve your case.  As mentioned above, there may be options available that would allow you to keep your job and take care of your family, even while serving "custody".

A private attorney can often make your court appearances for you, without you being personally present.  Save yourself the headache of appearing in court -- just send your lawyer.

If you or a loved one has been arrested for DUI in Riverside, California, call our office for a free attorney consultation.  951 683 4613.  Ask for John.  Thanks for reading.

Riverside DUI Lawyer