What Happens If You Get Charged With A Felony – Home » Frequently Asked Questions » What happens if you are charged with DUI after an accident in California?
The California legal process for DUI charges is the same regardless of the circumstances, but being involved in an accident can affect the case. A person accused of a drunk driving accident can face serious penalties and may find themselves paying restitution to a potential accident victim.
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If the accident is fatal, a DUI charge can be upgraded to a manslaughter or vehicular manslaughter charge. However, our experienced Los Angeles DUI attorneys can help clients avoid DUI charges after a car accident. This infographic will help you learn the basics of DUI in California.
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Infographic of what happens after being charged with a DUI in California. If you have been charged with a DUI after an accident, a criminal defense attorney can help protect your rights.
As with most car accident cases, the case actually begins with law enforcement arriving at the scene to document the incident. This may include taking statements from witnesses, assessing damage to vehicles and ensuring that injured people are properly cared for.
In cases where the police suspect that the driver is under the influence of alcohol, they will note signs of intoxication in their report and may ask the driver to participate in the following tests.
At the discretion of law enforcement, they may arrest the driver for DUI after these tests. The officer can then take the driver to the police station or health center to test the driver’s blood or breath.
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If these tests do not show an illegal level of alcohol in the driver’s system, but the driver fails the initial tests at the scene, the officer may ask the driver to provide a blood or urine sample for drug testing. An officer may even find drugs in your possession while searching your car.
Although a driver can opt out of taking these tests, it is not ideal. Refusal can result in the following penalties for a first DUI arrest:
A driver can still be charged with an initial DUI. In most cases, the best option is to take the necessary tests and work with an experienced California DUI attorney like those we have at Simmrin Law Group.
If a DUI trial results in a conviction, the defendant can face serious consequences, even if it is their first charge. A first-time DUI defendant in California may face:
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These penalties are more severe for drivers with prior DUI convictions. Because they only rise above this base level, and because this base level is already very serious, we recommend that anyone charged with DUI after a car accident speak with the experienced DUI attorneys at Simmrin Law Group as soon as possible. get in touch
Under Section 3294 of the California Civil Code, alleged victims of certain crimes may seek exemplary damages (also known as punitive damages) in their cases. This is in addition to normal damage to:
Punitive or exemplary damages are intended both as punishment for the defendant and to deter similar behavior in the future. They can be charged if the alleged crime involves “cruelty, fraud or malice” against the accused.
California courts have previously made it clear that they consider DUI cases to fall within the gray area of this law, meaning that some DUI cases involving accidents may be eligible for punitive damages.
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Many DUI accident cases settle before trial, and having an experienced DUI attorney can be the difference between a lower settlement and significant exemplary damages awarded by a jury.
In addition to DUI, there will be other charges due to the accident. These can range from traffic violations to murder. California recognizes a special charge called Watson manslaughter for drivers with prior convictions who kill other people in another DUI accident.
This is a form of second-degree murder, a more serious charge than the usual vehicular manslaughter charge in a car accident. The state believes that driving while intoxicated after a first-time DUI conviction is a further misdemeanor.
Also, if the DUI cases are reckless enough to prove malice, the prosecutor can go after the first offense charge. The Watson Rules only make it easier for DUI offenders to prove this claim. If you have been charged with murder, the need for a Burbank, CA DUI attorney increases exponentially.
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In addition to the previous sentence, there are two other things that the prosecution is looking for. First, the BAC is very high at the time of the crash. Anything over 0.15%, or twice the legal limit, is a dangerous point.
The second thing is an extreme case of reckless driving. This may include initiating a high-speed police chase, starting or participating in a race or speed competition, or simply driving over the legal speed limit.
If you have been charged with DUI after a car accident in California, experienced DUI defense attorneys can help. Contact us today for a FREE initial consultation about your case so we can begin discussing appropriate defense strategies. The criminal justice process can be a stressful and confusing place for the unfortunate person to go through.
After the police have investigated your case, they will either make an arrest, apply for a warrant, or file an indictment with the prosecutor. An initial arrest is the first 8 steps in the criminal justice process and can often be one of the most stressful.
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After an arrest or subpoena, you only have an initial date. This will be your first court appearance. If you have been arrested or have been forced to surrender, this trial will often take place inside a court located in the prison itself. At the first appearance, the judge will read your charges, assign an attorney, set a future court date, and set the conditions of your release.
Conditions of release can range from releasing your own recognizance (or) to bond or, more commonly, early release. The court will also explain your future court hearings and the terms of your release if you are released or on bail. Examples of common conditions of release in criminal cases often include:
In some cases, a person may not be eligible for parole and must remain in jail while awaiting trial.
Probable Cause Finding: After you are found, a hearing will be held to determine if there is probable cause to commit the crime you are charged with. Probable cause is determined by a jury or in a preliminary hearing before a judge or magistrate. This will result in a grand jury indictment or information signed by the court charging you with a crime.
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One of the most complicated parts of the criminal justice process is the pretrial hearing. After you have your first hearing, the court will schedule a preliminary hearing. A preliminary hearing is usually treated as a mini-trial where the prosecutor has to show the judge that there is enough evidence to charge you. An indictment can also be obtained in the form of a grand jury indictment. In Arizona, preliminary hearings are often held, but rarely happen. Instead, the court will set a date for a preliminary hearing and the prosecutor will request a grand jury indictment.
Similar to the first appearance, the trial is the fourth stage of the 8-stage criminal case. A relatively simple court hearing, a trial is where you plead guilty or not guilty. If you plead guilty, the case will then be set for sentencing. However, if you plead not guilty, the judge will set future court dates, including a pretrial conference and trial date.
In criminal cases, you will almost certainly plead not guilty and wait for the disclosure of evidence that the state intends to use against you in their case. At the trial, the case will be scheduled for a preliminary conference.
It is often said that pre-conferences are just that – pre-conferences. At the preliminary conference, the parties inform the court about the issues that need to be resolved before the case starts. At the preliminary hearing, the parties provide the court with the status of discovery requests, the status of witness interviews, and updates on plea negotiations. Pretrial conferences are often reset or “continued,” which moves the case back to an earlier date in the future.
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The most important step in a criminal trial is the jury trial. During the trial, the prosecution will present evidence against you. After each prosecution witness, you and your attorney have the right to cross-examine the prosecution witnesses to question the credibility of their testimony or the strength of the evidence.
Once the prosecutor presents the evidence against you to the jury, you have it
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