CRIMINAL DUI PROCESS IN FRESNO COUNTY
The criminal process for a Fresno DUI charge begins with the arrest. The arresting officer must have probable cause in order to stop any vehicle where the driver is suspected of DUI in Fresno, unless the stop occurs at a DUI checkpoint. During the arrest, you will most likely be asked to take a test to measure your blood alcohol level. You may also be asked to take several field sobriety tests before the blood alcohol test. If charged with DUI in Fresno, you will be taken to the police station where you will either be formally charged and then released on your own recognizance, or held in custody until you post bond for your release. If you are held in custody for your Fresno DUI charge, your arraignment will occur no later than 72 hours from the date of your arrest. The only exception to this is if the deadline falls on a weekend, in which case may be extended by up to one day. If you are not held in custody for your Fresno DUI charge, your arraignment will be scheduled for a later date as determined by the judge.
At your arraignment in Fresno County, you will hear the charges that have been filed against you, as well as your rights. You will be expected to submit a plea to the charges at this time. If you have retained a qualified Fresno DUI lawyer, he or she may appear in court and submit a plea on your behalf. This allows you to get on with your work and family obligations with minimal disruption. If you do not have legal representation, you are required to show up at your arraignment on your own behalf. Failure to do so will result in a bench warrant for your arrest, and more severe charges than the initial DUI – you must take your case seriously and hire an experienced Fresno DUI attorney to work for you.
Pretrial motions can be submitted at the arraignment, but usually this occurs at a later time. Motions to dismiss the case, to suppress evidence, or other types of motions may be filed at this time. The prosecution may also offer a plea agreement at this time. With so many legal avenues to navigate, the average citizen cannot hope to understand all the laws and regulations pertaining to his or her case. A skilled Fresno DUI attorney will be able to look at the evidence in your case and decide which motions should be filed, and whether or not a plea agreement is one you should take.
If your Fresno DUI case goes to trial, it will typically last for several days. During this time, the prosecution and the defense will present their cases to the jury. A skilled Fresno DUI lawyer will take your unique situation into account when preparing your defense. Witnesses may be called by both the prosecution and the defense. Evidence will be submitted as well – your Fresno DUI attorney should know what to look for in these instances, and how best to defend you in front of the jury. At the end of the trial, both sides will give closing arguments. The judge will instruct the jury on how to apply the facts of your case to the law, and your case will enter deliberations.
The jury will deliberate on your case and return a verdict based upon the evidence given in the case. The jury will consider the evidence given and the arguments presented by both the prosecution and defense. Depending upon the complexity of the case and also depending upon the jurors themselves, the time it takes for the jury to decide a Fresno DUI case will vary. If you are convicted then the sentencing phase will begin. Even at this stage, a skilled Fresno DUI counselor will be able to help you through the possibility of various sentencing options.
There are several possible sentences that a person can receive for a misdemeanor DUI conviction in Fresno. An experienced Fresno DUI attorney will be able to explore alternative sentencing methods that will allow you to avoid jail time. Some options include community service, counseling programs, and probation to name a few. Expert Fresno DUI attorneys will be up to date on all the latest sentencing possibilities for your case.