Arrested for a DUI in Ventura County? What to Expect...
Being arrested for anything can be a terrifying experience… In my career as a former Ventura Police Officer, Ventura County Prosecutor and Private Criminal Defense Attorney, I have seen these cases from all sides. One thing that I have come to understand is how the lack of knowledge after the arrest can really increase the stress.
I could tell you that if you hire our office, we do everything for you but I find that it helps my clients to understand the process even when we step in and take it over and protect their rights. I hope this blog helps each of you find comfort that while this is stressful, it does not have be life-altering if handled correctly. Generally speaking, when it comes to dealing with the consequences associated with a DUI arrest- the more proactive you are, the more you can minimize the hardships that follow as I will explain below.
If you have been arrested in Ventura County for a DUI, there are several important things you should know. I want to take this opportunity to provide you the first-hand vital information you need to get through this and minimize the consequences you currently face. As you read this, I would ask you to retrieve the two key documents you have been provided during the course of this arrest: 1) the DMV sheet (pink in color), and 2) the Court Date sheet (often green in color). The two documents are to formally notify you that you have two cases pending against you.
THE DMV CIVIL CASE
First, if you have been arrested for an Alcohol-based DUI as is most often the case, the officers should have taken your California Driver's License and provided you with a temporary one. This is often a pink DS-367 DMV form that reads “Age 21 or Older” at the top. This is a very important document and contains key information for you. This form basically states that you have been arrested for a DUI and that you may continue to drive for 30 days following the arrest before a license suspension is imposed by DMV. The length of this suspension depends on a number of factors such as prior criminal history and conduct with the officers during the arrest.
The most important information on this form is in small print towards the bottom of the page where you are notified of your right to an Administrative Hearing to fight the suspension if you or your attorney notifies them within 10 days. By contacting DMV directly, a hearing may be requested and your rights may be protected. We routinely do this every day for our clients as it serves many valuable purposes including 1) Pushing out any license suspension several months, 2) Allow us the ability to get all the reports and chemical testing information as soon as possible, 3) Giving us the opportunity to send out legal demands for further information such as the audio or video (Dash Camera and Vest Camera Evidence) and finally 4) Granting you all this information early so that we can develop the best game plan for getting our clients through this.
At Wilfertlaw, PC, we utilize this information gained during the DMV case to develop strategies which can later be exploited to help minimize the pending criminal court case that comes later. Because this hearing is so important to your case, if you call our office at 805-901-9119, we will contact DMV directly on your behalf and send a letter to preserve your rights and secure a hearing whether or not we handle your case.
Eventually, an Administrative Hearing will be held and witnesses may be called. DMV considers the legality of the stop as well as the chemical test results and any other information it is provided in determining whether or not to impose a suspension. If a suspension is to be imposed, DMV will send out a letter providing notice of the suspension as well as how long it is to last. It is important to note, that even when a suspension is imposed- in most cases, there are steps that if immediately taken will allow you to change that suspension into a restricted license so that you can continue to drive. At Wilfertlaw, PC, whenever a DMV Hearing Officer does impose a suspension, we automatically begin the process to help our clients get their licenses back so that they can continue to go to work and take care of their families.
THE DUI CRIMINAL CASE
The Ventura County District Attorney has a reputation of being extremely hard on those arrested for Driving Under the Influence. Consequences are often most worse then in other nearby counties such as Santa Barbara and Los Angeles. While in other jurisdictions cases are pled down to different minor violations, that is not likely the case in Ventura.
It is important to understand that a DUI is by default a misdemeanor offense unless certain conditions are met which may trigger a felony filing. Often those conditions include that there was a traffic collision with injuries or that the individual arrested has three or more prior convictions within ten years, or finally that the individual has already had a felony DUI and was arrested on another DUI. In short, most DUI arrests are misdemeanor cases absent one of those three issues. If you have concerns as to how your particular case will be handled, please call me directly and I will discuss you specific situation and help you develop a plan to get through it. Every case is unique and I understand how stressful these situations can be. I do not charge to discuss your case with you and help provide strategies that may help in a consultation.
In Ventura County, the District Attorney usually reviews the police reports and files the case off of what they see written there. They know nothing about you or your unique situation and apply penalties aggressively. Fortunately, we have some amazing judges who do care and will take the time to listen. If your case has been developed carefully through the DMV hearing process, a good attorney will have the ability to speak to the judge about you personally during the litigation process. We do this daily as part of the process of helping our clients move forward in life with life-altering penalties. Even in some of the more difficult cases, we are able to secure resolutions that include a short probationary period, a fine and of course the state required DUI school. This is true even in those cases where the District Attorney is demanding further jail consequences.
You should also know that while these cases usually take approximately 4-6 months to reach a conclusion, often we can handle the cases with minimal interference to your life. In fact, in the vast majority of our DUI cases, once the clients turn their cases over to us- they do not have to deal directly with either DMV or the Criminal Courts as we can attend court without them under Penal Code section 977.
Most importantly, I want you to know that even if you have made a terrible mistake, the law provides each of us with the ability to clear our name once we have made it through the Criminal Justice System's probationary period. If you would like more information as to the Expungement process give us a call and we can explain the process.
It is my sincere hope that this information I have provided in this short blog article helps each of you. As I mentioned earlier, sometime the lack of information or understanding of the process is the hardest part of the experience to deal with. At Wilfertlaw, PC., I make it my goal to make sure each and everyone of our clients is handled as if they were part of my family. While we handle every aspect of the DUI case, I prefer my client to understand exactly what they are dealing with and what they can do to minimize the consequences.
As I mentioned above, we provide FREE consultations to discuss your situation and we are available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.
Please feel free to call us now at (805) 901-9119.