Upon being pulled over for suspicion of DUI, law enforcement officers will administer field sobriety tests (FSTs) and perhaps a breathalyzer test, technically known as a Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS) device. If the decision to place you under arrest is made, the law requires that the officer notify you that your license will be suspended in 30 days. The officer is also required to immediately forward a copy of a completed notice of suspension or revocation form, any driver’s license taken into possession, and a sworn report to the DMV.

The officer will then take the DUI suspect to a hospital, police station or jail for a blood or breath test to measure their blood alcohol level. Breath test readings are immediately available, however blood samples are sent to a laboratory for analysis, so the results may take several days. Frequently, the suspect will be held for several hours in a holding facility prior to your release. After any DUI test(s) have been completed (or refused), the suspect will get booked and released.

Arraignment and Pre-trial proceedings

After an arrest, and prior to release, a date will be set for an appearance before a judge for arraignment. At the arraignment, the defendant will be asked to plead to the DUI charge, either guilty or not guilty. Arrangements will also be made regarding the right to counsel and bail. During pre-trial proceedings, the court conducts procedures that allow the parties (the defendant and the state) to review and exchange evidence and information. These exchanges, utilizing certain procedural rules, allows for the efficient handling of DUI cases as well as a possibility of a successful plea bargain. A defendant unable to afford a lawyer may be asked to fill out a financial disclosure form and receive a referral to the public defender’s office. In some situations, a judge may appoint a private defense lawyer. Most defendants charged with misdemeanors who have not already posted bail are released on their own recognizance at arraignment.

Regarding the suspension of your driver’s license, the DMV automatically conducts an administrative review that includes an examination of the officer’s report, the suspension or revocation order, and any test results. During the administrative review, the DMV may uphold the suspension or revocation. You may address this situation by requesting a hearing from the DMV within 10 days of receipt of the suspension or revocation order in order to contest the suspension or revocation.

Daniel R. Perlman, Esq.

Law Offices of Daniel R. Perlman