Is a Lawyer Necessary For a DUI Arraignment?

A DUI arraignment typically occurs a few days following a DUI arrest. This is the first actual courtroom appearance where the defendant is formally charged with a DUI. During an arraignment, the defendant is called into court by a judge who inquires the following:

· Whether the charged suspect has an attorney or needs one appointed

· Lists the charges against the defendant

· Ask how the defendant would like to plea

· Determines bail amount (if applicable)

· Schedules future court dates for upcoming proceedings

· Hands over evidence including copies of police reports and results of chemical/blood tests to the defendant or their lawyer

The arraignment is the first step in your case to determine your guilt or innocence. The plea you enter and the judgement following your arraignment will have considerable consequences on your freedom. You do not want to face such potentially life changing decisions on your own without the assistance of a lawyer. Even if the suspect cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint an attorney at no cost.

The arraignment for DUI is a critical step in the DUI process. It is important to note that hiring a DUI attorney, or at least contacting one for a consultation and obtaining a free case evaluation, can positively affect your case outcome and is highly recommended to avoid costly, common mistakes. A DUI lawyer will be able to make the right strategic decisions regarding time waivers, whether to accept a plea bargain, or a number of other considerations.

Here at the Law Offices of Taylor and Taylor, our DUI attorneys specialize in helping you deal with your criminal charges in a way that would be most beneficial for you.

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Benefits of Hiring a DUI Lawyer

If you’ve been charged with a DUI in California, the first thing a prosecutor will do in most cases is offer you a “deal” if you agree to plead guilty. Ideally, a plea bargain is supposed to give a defendant a favorable punishment for opting to forgo a trial.

Prosecutors are not on your side when offering you a plea bargain. Having a private DUI lawyer by your side early in the process can reduce the likelihood of facing the maximum possible penalties.

Hiring a private DUI lawyer comes with several advantages—these include:

· The ability to represent you at the DMV suspension hearing

· The freedom to represent you in court without your presence for misdemeanor charges

· Extra time outside of court to evaluate the facts of your case and prepare your defense

· A lesser charge

· A more lenient penalty

If you consult with a DUI defense lawyer, you may find out your case is not as bad as it looks and is beatable. The more time spent building a solid defense for your DUI case, they may be able to discredit or suppress key evidence the prosecution is relying on and ultimately negotiate for better treatment. When this happens, the prosecution is likely to offer you a much more generous deal. In some cases they will even reduce the charge to a lesser offense, so that you can keep your license and have no DUI on your record.

If you have been charged with a DUI in California and want an expert to evaluate your case, the Law Offices of Taylor and Taylor provide defense attorneys that are well-versed in various types of DUI cases and can ensure the best possible outcome for their clients.

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DUI Preliminary Hearing

A preliminary hearing, sometimes referred to as a probable cause hearing, is a hearing in which a judge determines whether probable cause exists for the crime or crimes that a defendant has been charged with. This only occurs in felony cases after the defendant pleads not guilty at their arraignment hearing.

Preliminary hearings are like mini trials. At the hearing, the court examines the prosecution’s evidence to determine whether it is substantial enough to convince a jury that the defendant committed the crime or crimes which they are being charged with.

In DUI cases, the court will review whether or not the law enforcement officer had probable cause to make the stop (except if the defendant was arrested at a DUI checkpoint). Next, the court will examine whether there was sufficient evidence to believe the defendant was driving under the influence. This evidence may include:

  • the smell of alcohol
  • bloodshot eyes
  • slurred speech
  • performance on field sobriety tests
  • results from an alcohol breath or blood test

If the judge finds that probable cause in fact exists, the defendant will be held to answer for the charges and the case will proceed to trial, unless a deal is worked out between the prosecution and the defense before the trial date.

The defendant must attend a preliminary hearing. It is possible to waive this hearing and proceed straight to trial, but that is not advisable. The defendant can benefit from a preliminary hearing because it provides the defense a preview of the prosecution’s case and gives the defense an opportunity to see how strong the case is against them.

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DUI Offender Arrested after Striking and Killing Pedestrian on 101 Freeway

On Monday, Jul 5, 2021, authorities detained 22-year-old Los Angeles resident Adrian Castroramos following a fatal DUI crash that occurred on the 101 Freeway in the Cahuenga Pass. A 45-year-old woman, whose identity remains undisclosed, was struck and killed by Castroramos after she exited her vehicle following a separate crash on the 101.

According to the California Highway Patrol, the initial collision occurred before dawn at approximately 4:40 a.m.. Three cars traveling southbound collided north of Pilgrimage Bridge. After the crash, the woman exited her vehicle to check for damage which remained in the third lane. Unfortunately, minutes later, Castroramos approached the area driving a 2003 Chevrolet Tahoe and struck her.

Emergency personnel responded and upon arrival found the woman suffering with major injuries in the roadway north of the bridge. Sadly, her sustained injuries were extremely severe and she was pronounced dead at the scene. Authorities then arrested Adrian Castroramos on suspicion of DUI.

Officers shut down a part of the southbound 101 freeway through the Cahuenga Pass for more than two hours following the crash. There are no further details regarding the fatal DUI incident, the investigation is ongoing.

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Evidence That Can be Used Against You in a DUI Case

Driving while drunk is a criminal offense in every state. Although each state differs slightly when defining what drunk driving and its consequences are, there are many overlapping qualities. This is especially true when it comes to the kind of evidence police can gather and what of that evidence can be used by a prosecutor during trial. The prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were either over the legal limit of intoxication, were impaired by those intoxications, or both based on the evidence presented at trial.

Types of Evidence Considered in DUI Cases

People charged with a DUI are entitled to a trial by a judge or jury. Evidence that may used at trial may include physical evidence such as an open or empty container of alcohol found in defendant’s vehicle, the arresting officer’s observations regarding the defendant’s objective symptoms of intoxication (slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, etc.), and/or the defendant’s performance on the field sobriety tests as well as chemical tests– whether breath, urine, or blood tests.

When it comes to the legal level of intoxication, most people think of the general .08 blood alcohol content (BAC) percentage in California. However, those under 21 or someone on probation for a DUI cannot drive with even .01 blood alcohol content. There is also the enhanced penalties if your BAC level is .15 or greater.

Possible Evidentiary Issues that Can Surface During a DUI Trial

There must be reasonable suspicion for why the officer pulls you over, which they will then document in a police report. When administering field sobriety tests or chemical tests, the officer must adhere to certain procedures. If there is no reasonable suspicion for the vehicle stop, probable cause for the arrest, and/or the officer did not follow proper procedures when gathering evidence, your attorney can make a motion to exclude illegally obtained evidence at trial.

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