New Haven DUI Arrest Process
Being arrested for a DUI is a traumatic experience. We understand that being placed in handcuffs and losing your freedom, even if only for a few hours, can leave you with lots of questions, confused and even a little dazed. The police have completed their investigation and the court process has already started. You need to protect your rights, prepare your defense and have your legal team in place from the very beginning. You have too much at stake – your job, your license, your family and your freedom – to not to do everything you possibly can to fight the charges. Our New Haven DUI lawyers will answer your questions, explain the process and begin fighting for you from the very first phone call.
The Initial Arrest
In most DUI cases the arrest occurs “on-site.” This simply means that a police officer arrives on the scene and takes you into custody based on the immediate investigation. In this situation the police officer will pull a vehicle over, approach the driver, and ultimately conduct various field sobriety tests (see DUI Basics for more information). The purpose of the officer’s questions and the field sobriety tests is to establish the needed probable cause to make an arrest. In some situations, however, the arrest will occur by warrant. In DUI cases, this will typically occur when an accident occurred and the driver was taken to the hospital. An arrest by warrant requires the police officer to complete an affidavit and submit that affidavit to the state’s attorney and a judge to review it for probable cause. If the state’s attorney and judge conclude that there is probable cause an arrest warrant will be issued. Regardless of the method of arrest, the process going forward is the same.
DUI Arrest Processing
Assuming you are taken into custody, your car will be seized and towed. Following your arrest, you will be processed at the police department. This is when the officer will request that you submit to a chemical test (link this to the Chemical Tests page in the DUI Basics Bucket). Your fingerprints and photos may be taken and the required administrative paperwork will be completed. This is when the officer will complete the A-44, which is required in every DUI arrest. This document is attached to the police report and submitted to the DMV. (For more information on the DMV aspect of a DUI arrest and the per se license suspension, please see our page dedicated to the DMV Case).
After you have been arrested and processed, the police officer will set “bail”. The purpose of bail is assuring your appearance in court. In most DUI cases bail will range from $500 to $2,500.00. However, bail depends on a number of factors that are unique to every situation and individual. There are several ways to post a bond, the most common of which is either with a bail bonds man (they will charge a percentage of the bond as their fee) or you post the entire amount with the court.
When Will You Be Released Following An Arrest?
Once you post bond you will be released from custody. At that time you will be given a summons to appear in court. This is very important because it provides you with your first court date and the location of the court. This information is very important because if you miss that court date you can be charged with a separate crime, Failure to Appear.
The police department will hold your license and immediately suspend your driving privileges for 24-hours. This means that you will not be able drive from the police department and will need to get a ride. If you drive during this time period and are caught by the police, you will be charged with operating under suspension pursuant to 14-215(a), which carries mandatory jail time. After this initial license suspension expires you will be able to drive. However, it is extremely important that you check you mail for a notice from the DMV about your per se hearing because this hearing can result in the suspension of your license and you have a limited window to schedule a hearing to challenge the suspension. It is extremely important that you know if you license is suspended because if it is suspended and you are found to be driving you will be charged with Operating Under Suspension under section 14-215(c), which carries a mandatory 30 day jail sentence. For more information about this, please see our page that is dedicated to OUS.
Fighting a DUI Charge
The first step in fighting any DUI arrest is understanding the fact that there are actually two distinct cases: The Court Case and The DMV Case. Each case is completely independent from the other. The penalties are separate and the process for each is completely different. In fact, the prosecutor in the Court Case has no idea what is happening at the DMV and the DMV commissioner has no idea what is happening at the Court Case. Due to this, we have organized our DUI materials largely in terms of these two cases.
It is also important to know that you can fight this case. There are ways you can fight these charges and challenge the evidence the state claims to have against you. Many attorneys will recommend accepting the “standard offer” because you don’t have a defense. But, that’s not the case. You have options and our New Haven DUI attorneys will fight for you.