Joseph P. Hougnon, Attorney at Law

Alcohol-related vs. Drug-related DUI’s


DUI cases can be alcohol-related and/or drug-related.

These cases typically require different defense strategies.

Do I need to contact DMV if I’m arrested for a DUI?

It can take several months for the District Attorney to file the charges against you, especially in cases involving a blood test. In alcohol-related cases it’s really important that you or your attorney contact the nearest DMV Safety Office within ten days of the arrest to request an Administrative Per Se (APS) hearing, discovery and a “Stay” (putting off) the suspension pending a hearing. In some cases, the arresting officer fails to issue a temporary license in alcohol-related cases, which contains the required notice of a right to an Administrative Per Se (APS) hearing. However, I’ve seen cases where the officer checks the box on the form he mails to DMV indicating he or she have issued the license, even when they failed to do so.

In all cases, if there are any questions about whether to request a hearing within ten days, I recommend doing so. I take care of this for my clients, but failing to request the hearing within ten days of your arrest could result in a longer hard license suspension (no driving) and waive your right to challenge the action.

Although officers are not supposed to seize licenses and hand out temporary licenses in drug-related cases (where there is no alcohol involved), sometimes they do. In that instance, I always contact DMV Safety on behalf of my clients within ten days of their arrest in order to give me the time necessary to correct the error and to prevent an automatic license suspension.

If you have not made a decision whether to retain an attorney within 10 days of your arrest, I’ll advise and explain how to contact the local DMV Safety Office during free consultations to ensure an action isn’t automatically taken against your driver’s license 30 days after your arrest. It’s easy to do and doesn’t take more than five or ten minutes. Some attorneys offer to do this for you before you’ve agreed to retain them to represent you. In my experience, this is a bad idea and is only an attempt to earn your business by putting their name on a case before they’re retained and the attorney of record. It creates problems later because instead mailing the evidence to you, or the attorney you chose to retain, DMV will mail everything to an attorney who is not yet the attorney of record. Again, setting your own hearing is easy so if you’re waiting to make a decision about which attorney to retain, just give me a call and I’ll explain where to call and what to say.

Do I need to retain an attorney before my first court date?

In most cases, after you’re arrested for a DUI and before you leave the county jail, you’ll receive an Agreement to Appear that includes a court date and time for your arraignment. An arraignment is where the court advises you about the charges that are filed against you by the DA’s Office, after they’ve had the opportunity to review the evidence. While you are not required to retain an attorney to represent you, if you can afford an attorney, it may be in your best interests to do so.

What if the DA doesn’t file charges against me before the first court date?

The District Attorney has up to one year from the date of your arrest to file charges. In most cases, charges will be filed before the arraignment. However, in some cases, the DA will need more time.

If you were in an accident and taken to the hospital, you were probably not arrested at that time. Law enforcement will usually ask for a blood draw at the hospital in that case. In any case involving a blood draw, it can take more than one court date for the lab to submit the results of a blood draw to the DA’s Office. In most of those cases, the DA will wait to see those results before filing the case.

Joe Hougnon, Esq.

Answers to all your questions are only a phone call away. Call Now at (916) 730-5251.

The court won’t arraign you until charges are filed, so your name may appear on the NCF (No Charges Filed calendar). If you haven’t yet retained an attorney to appear for you, the court will usually give you another court date for arraignment at a later date. In some counties, they drop the matter until charges are filed, then send defendants an “arrest warrant” letter.

If I retain an attorney to represent me, will I have to appear in court?

Most DUI cases are filed as misdemeanors. In California, attorneys can appear on behalf of their clients and they do not have to be in court (PC section 977). However, if your case is set for a motion or jury trial, you will most likely need to be present in court to assist with your defense.

If I retain you to represent me, will there be other costs or fees involved?

In some cases, I recommend forensic and/or investigative services.

Forensic Services: Forensic services include labs that can retest blood samples, and forensic experts who may review the evidence in order to report or testify about their findings and conclusions. A full forensic expert review of all of the evidence or retesting a blood sample may reveal defenses to the charges against you and change the outcome in court, and at the DMV Hearing. In drug-related DUI cases, including prescription drug cases, forensic services can really make a difference in the outcome.

In my experience, communicating a winning argument to the DA’s office that includes a comprehensive forensic review greatly improves the chances of getting the charges reduced or dismissed without first committing significant time, energy and legal fees toward preparing for a jury trial.

If I’m convicted of a DUI, will I have to go to jail?

In most counties, including Sacramento County, defendants convicted of 1st DUI’s do not have to serve time in jail. The courts usually offer alternative sentencing that may include Sheriff’s Work Project, medical or work-related Home Detention (ankle bracelet), or community service.

In Sacramento County, 2nd must serve a minimum of 4 days in custody at RCCC in Elk Grove, with the option of serving the balance of the sentence on alternative sentencing, while 3rd DUI offenders must serve a minimum of 6 days in custody, with option of serving the balance of the sentence on Home Detention (Click to see Minimum Dui Penalties In Sacramento).

For more information on Alcohol Vs Drug Related DUIs, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (916) 730-5251 today.

Joe Hougnon, Esq.

Answers to all your questions are only a phone call away. Call Now at (916) 730-5251.

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