What should I do if I was arrested at a DUI checkpoint? 4 Answers as of July 14, 2010

I was stopped at a DUI checkpoint after having a few drinks. When the officer asked me to take the breathalyzer test, I was under the legal limit, but I was still arrested. What should I do? Do I need to hire an attorney?

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Law Offices of Ramona Hallam
Law Offices of Ramona Hallam | Ramona Hallam
As with most legal questions this issue depends on quite a few factors. If you were driving alright, the only probable cause for the test appears to be the smell of alcohol and the checkpoint. Not driving poorly is a plus. What you did and said, or how the officer perceived you, at the time of the stop may also have a bearing on your case.

Also, being under the limit may change in the hour or so it takes to get to the station as the alcohol may show up more depending on when you drank last. Even under the limit, you can (and likely will) be charged with wet-reckless. I would not go unrepresented as even that charge may result in 3 years probation, fines and DUI classes. If you would like a free consultation feel free to contact me.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/14/2010
Nelson & Lawless
Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
Upon release from jail or booking, a long series of appearances will be required by you if you wish to contest the DUI. If in California, contact the DMV in a timely manner if you wish to appeal the automatic one year suspension of your license that typically follows a DUI arrest.

You will then have to make a court appearance for the Arraignment where, if you choose, you can plead not guilty. You will be given a Pre-Trial hearing where negotiations with the DA are first conducted. If the case is not plea bargained, it will be set for trial and you’ll have to file many appropriate Motions.

Unless you are confident that you can do all of this on your own, you may want to contact an attorney. The conventional wisdom is that the attorney will be able to get you a better deal than you could on your own, or effectively try the case if forced to that. That is what you are paying for.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/14/2010
Law Office of Joe Dane
Law Office of Joe Dane | Joe Dane
You've got two things to deal with if your case is in California:
1. The DMV. They can suspend your license unless you request a hearing within 10 days of your arrest. The officers should have given you a pink piece of paper - that is your temporary license and explains how to handle requesting a hearing. Or - better yet, see my next point and let your attorney deal with this.

2. Criminal charges: there are 2 different DUI statutes: 23152(a) and 23152(b). The (a) section deals with anyone driving under the influence (at any blood alcohol level) and the (b) deals with driving at a 0.08% or above, no matter how well you were driving. Checkpoints have certain procedural issues behind them, not to mention they won't be able to point to any "bad" driving (unless you did something crazy like run over cones on the way in) and will have solely the blood alcohol results and any field sobriety tests to rely on.

Is it worth an attorney? Yes. You've got potential defenses and ways to fight this case that you won't know unless you have an attorney in your corner. Your attorney can give you a more detailed analysis after reviewing all the facts with you in an in-person consultation.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/14/2010
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