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How Long Do I Have to Stay in Jail After a DUI Arrest

If you're pulled over for a DUI, you may find yourself in jail two separate times, depending on the case. In California, almost every DUI arrest results in the driver being sent to jail following the initial arrest.For many people, every aspect of a DUI is scary. From the moment a person sees the red and blue flashing lights, to the day they’re standing before a judge, the process is often quite frightening. While that initial moment tends to leave a lasting impression on people who are pulled over, the next step is often the scariest.

In fact, if you’re pulled over for a DUI, you may find yourself in jail two separate times, depending on the circumstances of your case. In California, almost every DUI arrest results in the driver being sent to jail following the initial arrest. The only time you won’t be sent directly to jail is if you were involved in an accident because of your DUI; in this case, you would be sent to the hospital first and jail thereafter, assuming the doctors determine you’re medically fit to do so. In either case, this is different from a jail sentence, which could also be part of your case if a judge finds jail time a fitting punishment.

The initial jail time, commonly referred to as “getting booked”, occurs after you’ve been arrested, but before you’ve had your trial. The time you must spend in jail is contingent upon any number of factors, meaning it can vary from person to person, case to case.

Arriving at the Sheriff’s Station

The amount of time you’ll have to spend behind bars is contingent upon several factors, some of which will be determined shortly after you arrive at the sheriff’s station. Your DUI history, along with factors such as blood alcohol content (BAC) level, will contribute to your initial jail sentence.

Once you’re at the sheriff’s station, you’ll likely be asked to submit to a breath or blood test. In some instances, you may be asked to submit a urine sample. You’ll be read your rights, questioned, and advised that your license will be suspended. At any point during this process, you could be in and out of a jail cell.

Getting Released from Jail

Many DUI cases won’t require you to post bail. In basic DUI cases, you’ll simply be released from jail once the police are finished processing you. If the police can get through this process quickly, you’ll be released the same day. Bear in mind that the police are in no hurry to adhere to your own personal schedule, and there are fewer officers on staff in the early morning hours than during the daytime; minimal staff could further prolong the process. Even the quickest, most efficient processing can take four hours.

It’s most common for people to be held overnight and released the next day, particularly when the arrest happens at night or in the early morning hours. If bail isn’t required, you can be released on your own recognizance within 24 hours of the initial arrest. If bail is required, the timeline is more contingent upon your abilities to find and pay set bail.

Making Bail

If jail staffers determine that you can’t be released without bail, it means you’re not subject to the standard 24-hour holding time. Rather, you must pay a minimum amount of money to guarantee the court that you will return for sentencing if you’re released. Bail is typically determined because of a prior history of DUIs or felony DUI.

Bail isn’t a fine. It’s more like rent; you’re renting your freedom from jail in exchange for the promise to return to the court system when it’s time to see the judge.

The minimum bail for a DUI in Los Angeles is $5,000, and it’s not uncommon for people to need help coming up with these funds. Bail bondsman are in business to help families come up with bond money who otherwise wouldn’t be able to. If you use a bail bond company, you’ll usually pay a percentage of the bond – perhaps ten percent – in exchange for the promise to appear before the judge. For example, you may pay $500 (or 10% of $5,000) to a bail bondsman to be released from jail on the promise that you’ll complete your legal obligations.

Should you choose not to go to court, the courts will keep your bail money, and you’ll owe the bail bondsman the full amount of your bail. The percent you pay is the cost of the bond and that money will not be returned.

Being arrested for a DUI can be frightening. The process isn’t finished once you’ve completed your initial jail time, however. You may have a long road ahead of you, and it’s possible you may face jail time as part of your sentence after you appear before a judge. This isn’t something you’ll want to do without the guidance of an experienced DUI attorney.

Each case is different. If you’ve been charged with a DUI in Los Angeles, California, consult with a DUI lawyer as soon as possible.

The fastest way to contact me: 310-820-1315

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