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Arrested for DUI but Not Charged

You were arrested for DUI but not charged. What does this really mean? Being arrested for a DUI can be a terrifying thing. After the field sobriety tests, breathalyzers, and paperwork, you’re probably facing at least a night in jail. If you’ve never been arrested before, you’re looking at several hours in a compact space, filled with strangers.

When morning comes, you might be released without being charged. But, what does this really mean?

California DUIs: Arrest & Release

It’s important to be aware that you could still be facing charges, even if you were released from jail. It’s possible that your arresting officer referred your case to the district attorney. If this is your situation, it can take the prosecutor a long time – even up to a year – to analyze the evidence and compile a case against you.

One of two things will happen in arrest-and-release situations:

  1. You’re released on your own recognizance (O.R.). This often happens after you’ve been arrested and processed into the jail system. You may be required to submit to a BAC test at the jail. After paperwork, you promise to adhere to follow-up court appearances. You may have to spend the night in jail, particularly if your arrest happened late at night or in the early morning. However, you’ll be released within 24 hours of your arrest, if you’re released O.R.
  2. You’ll have to post bail. Bail isn’t a fine. It’s simply a monetary promise to the courts that you’ll show up for your hearings. The decision to set bail is often based on prior offenses. Meaning, if you have priors, you likely won’t be released on your own recognizance. Instead, will need to post bail to get out of jail. By doing this, the courts have somewhat of a guarantee that you’ll show up for your court dates.

Related: How Much is Bail for a DUI in California?

What if your DUI case isn’t filed within one year of your arrest?

If your case isn’t filed within one year of your arrest, your matter will be dismissed unless it is a felony (3 priors or injury). The waiting game can be unnerving, however. It’s best to have an experienced DUI attorney monitoring the status of filing. This will ensure you don’t miss something important. You will be able to file a petition for factual innocence if the prosecutor does not file a complaint timely with the court.

What to Do About Your License

You have ten days from the date on which you were arrested to request a hearing from the DMV if you want to fight the suspension of your license. Requesting a DMV hearing can give you a big advantage; even though you only have ten days to file your request, the DMV may not actually be able to get to your case for months. During this time, the DMV cannot suspend your license or take other actions against your driving privileges. If your DUI case is resolved by the time your DMV hearing rolls around it may benefit you to getting the license back.

From the moment you’ve been arrested, you should be seeking legal counsel from an experienced DUI attorney. Someone who understands the laws and will work with the prosecutor on your behalf. Just because you weren’t charged with a DUI at the time of arrest, it doesn’t mean charges aren’t pending. If the arresting officer refers your case to the prosecutor, you could still officially be charged with a DUI several months down the line. Stay on top of your arrest by hiring an experienced DUI attorney who can help you navigate the legal system.

If you have been arrested for DUI in the Los Angeles area, contact us today by filling out the form below or calling (310) 820-1315.

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