If a police officer in California believes someone is driving erratically, receives a report that someone is driving poorly, or has any other reason so suspect a driver might be impaired while on the road, they have the right to pull the driver over and ask them to take a breathalyzer or a blood test. This is how it’s determined whether someone is driving under the influence. The driver has the right to refuse the tests, but it’s not going to look good in a court of law if they do refuse to do this. It’s referred to as refusal, and it’s considered an aggravated issue in court when you don’t do what is asked of you by a police officer.
If you are a driver who has been pulled over and given a DUI charge in California, you might wonder how you go about getting this case handled. Guilty or not, you still want to fight your case. To do this effectively, you need to hire an attorney to help you with the court case that comes with a DUI charge. Your attorney can benefit you in more ways than one, such as making sure you don’t have to appear in person during your arraignment.
One of the biggest issues people face when they have a hearing is getting there. They have kids who need care, jobs, and other obligations that might make it difficult for someone to appear in court. The goods new is once you hire a DUI attorney to represent you, you no longer must appear in person when your hearing is scheduled. Your attorney does this for you, and there is no legal penalty for not appearing in person. However, there is a small stipulation in effect here.
Misdemeanor vs. Felony DUI
Before you make the decision to stay home from your hearing, you must understand the difference between a felony and misdemeanor DUI.
– Misdemeanor DUI – You are a first-time DUI offender, you have no prior criminal record, and you did not hurt anyone, cause an accident, or damage any property while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. You were pulled over, arrested, and your blood alcohol test proves you were drunk while you were driving. Since you have no criminal background, DUI in the past, or any other issues occurred, you are charged with a misdemeanor DUI.
– Felony DUI – This occurs when you are pulled over and arrested for a DUI and it’s not the first time. A Felony DUI also occurs if you are pulled over because you hit another car, person, or property and caused any damage or injury in the process.
If you are charged with a misdemeanor DUI, you don’t have to appear in court. Your attorney can appear on your behalf and handle the situation for you. If you want to appear and speak to the judge, you may absolutely do so. However, it’s not required and there is no penalty for failing to show up provided your attorney is present.
If you are charged with a felony DUI and fail to appear in court, you are violating the law. You cannot have your attorney appear on your behalf if you are charged with a felony. State law mandates you appear in person, and your attorney cannot be there to represent you in your absence.
If you choose not to hire a DUI attorney following your arrest, you must appear on your own behalf no matter which type of DUI you are charged with. If you haven’t an attorney, there is no one to appear on your behalf. Failure to appear in court when scheduled is enough to issue a warrant for your arrest, which means you can be arrested immediately when found.
It’s always wise to hire a DUI attorney to work with you on a case like this. An attorney can not only make the entire experience easier on you, an attorney can also help you reduce the charges you face or have them dropped in their entirety. Having an attorney familiar with the law on your team is the best way to go when you’re charged with any type of DUI.