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The Stages in a Misdemeanor DUI Case
Driving under the influence is a serious offense under California law. A conviction though is not as simple as taking the breathalyzer test by the roadside. There is still a process an individual undergoes in order to prove the violation of the law. These are the stages in a DUI case.
- Arrest. An arrest occurs when a police officer sees that you have violated the law and places you under their custody. This taking of custody is based on probable cause due to your behavior while operating the motor vehicle. Once you are examined, if the police officer reaches a conclusion of the violation of the DUI law, such as taking the breathalyzer test, then the police officer places the individual under arrest.
- Booking. Once placed in police custody, the individual accused of violating DUI statutes is brought to the police station. Booking is the term used where all the pertinent information regarding the individual is recorded. These include name, address, age, sex and other physical characteristics. Photographs, called mug shots, are taken and the individual’s fingerprints are recorded. After this process, the individual is brought to a detention cell until the commencement of the next phase of the process.
- Bail. After the arrest and booking, an individual is allowed to post bail to obtain temporary liberty. This is not payment of a fine, but is in essence a security an individual surrenders to the court on the promise that the individual appears for all the proceedings about the DUI case. For some first time offenders, depending on the circumstance, the individual is released without posting bail but failure to comply with the requisites of such release would allow the court to issue an arrest warrant for the individual. If the individual cannot afford bail, as guaranteed by the Constitution, bail can be arranged through a proper bail bond agency.
- Arraignment. This is the process where the charge of violating the DUI laws is read in open court. Here, the individual appears in court and is asked as a defendant to submit a plea as to the charges leveled against his conduct and person.
- Plea Bargain. This is the process wherein the defendant, through counsel meets with the public prosecutor in the hope of reaching an agreement as to the case at bar. This is in essence an agreement to the guilt of committing the violation in exchange for a reduced sentence. Once agreed on, the plea bargain would be submitted to the court for approval and then implementation.
As can be seen, misdemeanor DUI offenses undergo a tedious process. This is only the process wherein an individual agrees to enter a plea of guilty or no contest to the charges. If the defendant chooses to enter a plea of not guilty, then a whole host of other steps come into play.
Driving under the influence or driving while impaired is a serious offense and as such, it is important to be properly advised and guided on the steps towards facing this kind of legal problem.