A DUI arrest most commonly occurs after the officer has stopped the driver for a traffic violation, when after the stop the officer has probable cause to believe that the driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Or, they are otherwise too impaired to safely drive a motor vehicle. After the stop has been made and the officer has conducted a field sobriety test, the first stage of the criminal process in a DUI case is initiated once the officer has placed the driver under arrest.
In the following circumstances, an officer that has stopped a vehicle for a traffic violation may place the driver under arrest for a DUI:
- Police Officer Has Probable Cause: If the officer personally sees or believes that the driver has committed a crime, they may lawfully arrest that person. An example of this would be how if the police officer believes that the driver is driving under the influence, because the driver smells like alcohol, the officer may arrest the driver. This would be based on probable cause that the driver has been driving under the influence;
- Police Officer Made a Lawful Traffic Stop: The officer had probable cause to believe that the driver was under the influence, but the officer must show that they did not stop the vehicle randomly or for no reason. Essentially, there must be proof that the driver did something in violation of a law, which led to the traffic stop; or
- Police Officer Has an Arrest Warrant: The officer can place the driver under arrest after the traffic stop, but only if the officer first had a valid arrest warrant issued by a judge or magistrate.
What Happens After A DUI Arrest?
There are four phases that occur after an officer has placed the driver under arrest:
- Chemical Tests: After the officer has placed the driver under arrest for a DUI, the officer takes the driver to the hospital, police station, or jail for a mandatory chemical blood or breath test. This is to measure the blood alcohol level of the driver. There are two types of chemical tests that the driver may be subjected to, which are a blood test or a breath test. Breath test results are available immediately, while blood tests must be sent to a laboratory for an analysis;
- License Suspension: The officer will then notify the driver that their driver’s license will be suspended in 30 days. They will confiscate the license and issue the driver a temporary license that is valid until the suspension goes into effect;
- Booking and Release: After all of the DUI tests have been completed or refused, the officer will then book the driver into county jail. Depending on the driver’s criminal history and current DUI case, they may get released on bail, or they may be released immediately after providing a written promise that they will appear in court on the assigned date. Generally speaking, the driver is held in custody for several hours before they are released. The booking and bail process is further explained below; and
- Prosecution: The arresting officer completes the police report investigation and submits the report to the prosecution agency. After the prosecution reviews the case, the prosecution will either charge the driver for a DUI, or decline to charge the driver for a DUI because there are not enough factors that could form a formal charge.
What Is The DUI Booking And Bail Process?
An officer can arrest the driver if there is probable cause to believe that the driver is impaired. This decision is considerably subjective, but it is still almost impossible to challenge the arrest. Once the arrest has been made, the officer will confiscate the driver’s license and bring them to a location in which a breath, blood, or urine test will be conducted in order to confirm the intoxication.
Prior to the administration of any tests, the police will inform you of your chemical test rights, including the consequences of refusing to submit to a test. Because every state has implied consent laws, drivers are required to submit to these tests, or else the state will administer penalties. When the police fail to read you these rights, you may be able to challenge any penalties resulting from your refusal.
After an arrest occurs, police generally process or “book” a suspect. The process of booking involves the following:
- Recording a suspect’s personal information, such as their name and a physical description;
- A description of or information about the crime committed;
- Criminal background search of the suspect;
- Fingerprinting, “mugshots,” and full body search of the person and their belongings;
- Confiscation of personal property that is carried by the suspect; and
- Placement of the suspect in the local jail or holding cell.
Bail refers to when an arrested DUI suspect agrees to pay money in order to obtain their release from police custody. As part of the release agreement, the suspect agrees to appear back in court for all scheduled court appearances, including:
- Preliminary hearings;
- Pre-trial motion; and
- The trial, when necessary. In many states, bail is set through a “bail schedule,” or set payment amounts for specific crimes.
What Else Should I Know About The DUI Bail Process?
While there may be several bail hearings throughout the criminal prosecution process, the most common would be the bail hearing before trial. There is no fixed time in which this must occur; however, more than 72 hours after arrest is generally considered to be a violation of due process rights. A bail hearing most commonly occurs at the arraignment, but this timing may vary from state to state.
A judge may determine a bail amount if a “bail schedule” is not set or required in a specific state. The following factors may be used to determine what your bail amount should be:
- Your history of DUI, as well as any other relevant criminal history;
- The seriousness of your DUI offense in terms of possible injury that you may have caused to others by your actions;
- Your family and community ties, as well as your employment record and your ability to pay court fees and fines;
- Your age;
- The risk that you would pose to the community if you were released; and
- The risk that you will commit another crime if you are released.
Anyone may post bail for a DUI suspect. However, if you or your family are not currently able to afford bail, a bail bondsman or bail agency may be able to help you. A bond is a written contract indicating that the full bond amount must be paid if the suspect fails to appear in court. Bail agencies and bondsmen charge fees for their service, and generally demand some form of collateral before posting a bond in order to ensure appearance in court.
An “own recognizance” or “OR” release occurs when a suspect is released without bail, on the condition that they will appear for all upcoming court proceedings. Defendants who are released on their own recognizance are required to sign a written notice that they promise to show up for their court date if required.
In an OR, no bail is set or required to be paid; however, all aspects of a bail remain, such as placing restrictions and conditions on the defendant released on OR. An example of this would be that the defendant is subject to a probation officer.
Do I Need An Attorney For The DUI Booking And Bail Process?
If you are facing prosecution for a DUI or DWI, you should contact a local DUI/DWI lawyer. Your attorney can help you understand your legal rights and options under your state’s specific laws, and will also be able to represent you in court, as necessary.