DUI Arrest Process
If you’ve never been pulled over for drinking and driving, you may unaware of what happens during the DUI arrest process. You may have heard of field sobriety tests or blood alcohol content (BAC) tests, but the details may seem confusing. It’s important to remember that throughout the criminal justice process, you have rights. Police officers must go through a process to comply with the law.
If you feel your rights were violated during a DUI arrest, call a Chicago DUI lawyer from O’Meara Law to evaluate your case. Attorney Michael O’Meara knows that police officers do not always respect your rights during the DUI arrest process. He will investigate the situation and develop the best defense strategy for your case. Call us today at 312-909-0706.
Getting Pulled Over for a DUI
If a police officer has reason to believe that you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you may be stopped while driving. A police officer can only pull you over if they have reasonable suspicion. This means that the police officer has reason to believe that you are under the influence based on your actions (speeding, swerving, etc.). Reasonable suspicion is a guess based on the police officer’s training and experience. There must be a clear reason for the traffic stop. You cannot be pulled over and submitted to interrogation simply because of your race, gender, age, etc.
At the traffic stop, you will likely be asked questions about what you’ve been doing, if you’ve been drinking, and where you are headed. This is a good time to decline answering any questions until you’ve spoken to your attorney. Only answer necessary questions, such as providing your name, and remain calm.
If the officer believes you’ve been drinking – based on your actions or appearance – you may be asked to perform field sobriety tests. You may also be asked to consent to a chemical test – blood, breath, or urine.
Getting Arrested for a DUI
If you failed your field sobriety tests and the police officer has reason to believe you are intoxicated, you may then be arrested. Do not try to resist arrest, as this will only make matters worse. Instead, politely cooperate and refuse to answer any questions until you have spoken to your attorney. You should not be treated cruelly during this time. If the police officer uses excessive force for no reason, document the situation and let your lawyer know.
At the time you are arrested, the police officer will likely read you the Miranda Rights. These rights are based on the Fifth Amendment and consist of a statement similar to the following:
You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.
If the Miranda Rights are not read to you before interrogation, the prosecutor may not be able to use certain evidence against you in court.
After you’re arrested, you’ll be taken to the police station for booking. There, the officer will gather your personal information, enter information about the crime, and search your criminal background. You will then be photographed, fingerprinted, and searched. Once your personal property is confiscated, you’ll be placed in a jail cell.
Bail Process After DUI Arrest
After you are booked, you may be able to get released on bail. Bail allows you to be released from jail on the condition that you return to court for hearings and trials. You will be required to pay an amount based on a bail schedule, although other factors – such as your criminal history – may affect the bail amount.
If you, your friends, or family members cannot afford to post bail, you can post a bond. A bond is a guarantee that you will show up in court as promised. Bonds come from bail bond agencies and usually cost 10 percent of the actual bail amount.
DUI Arrest Hearing, Trial, and Conviction
The next step is a preliminary hearing, which your lawyer should attend. A judge will look at the evidence and see if it is enough to charge you with a DUI. If so, a trial will be scheduled. At the trial, your lawyer and the prosecution will present evidence to the judge and jury, and they will rule on your case.
If you are convicted of a DUI charge, you will receive your sentencing. This involves any punishments, such as jail time, fines, probation, and community service. If you don’t agree with the sentencing, you might be able to file an appeal.
Getting Legal Help During the DUI Arrest Process
While police officers make numerous DUI arrests, sometimes there are errors in the process. In an effort to rush through the process, it’s possible to overlook some important steps or violate your rights. In those cases, your attorney may be able to have evidence excluded from the trial or obtain a dismissal of your charges altogether.
If you’re facing drunk driving charges, contact a Chicago DUI lawyer from O’Meara Law. We’ll make sure the DUI arrest process was followed correctly. If we find the officer didn’t follow a specific procedure, we can help get the charges dropped or significantly reduced.
A DUI conviction can negatively affect your life for many years to come. Don’t let this happen to you. To understand your legal rights during the DUI arrest process, give us a call today at 312-909-0706.