The police officer can arrest the driver if there is probable cause to believe that the driver is impaired. This decision is very subjective and it is almost impossible to challenge the arrest.  

Once the arrest has been made, the officer will confiscate the driver’s license and bring them to the police station where breathe, blood, or urine test will be conducted to confirm the intoxication.

Before any of the tests, the police will inform you of your chemical test rights, which includes the consequences of refusing to submit to a test. Since every state has implied consent laws, drivers are required to submit to these tests or the state will have penalties. If the police fail to read you these rights, you may be able to challenge any penalties that result from a refusal.

What Occurs When Someone is “Booked”?

After an arrest occurs police generally process or "book" a suspect.  The process of booking generally involves the following: 

  • Recording of a suspect’s personal information (e.g. name, physical description);
  • Description of or information about the crime committed;
  • Criminal background search of the suspect;
  • Fingerprinting, "mugshots", and full body search of person and belongings;
  • Confiscation of personal property carried by the suspect; and
  • Placement of the suspect in the local jail or holding cell.

What is “Bail”?

Bail is when an arrested DUI suspect agrees to pay money in order to obtain his or her release from police custody. As part of the release agreement, the suspect agrees to appear back in court for all scheduled court appearances including arraignment, preliminary hearings, pre-trial motion, and the trial if necessary.  In many states, bail is set through a "bail schedule" or set payment amounts for specific crimes.

How Much Time is There between Arrest and a Bail Hearing?

Although there may be several bail hearings throughout the criminal prosecution process, the most common is the bail hearing before trial. There is no fixed time when this must occur, but usually more than 72 hours after arrest is considered a violation of due process. Typically, a bail hearing occurs at the arraignment, but may vary from state to state.

What Can a Judge Use to Determine My Bail Amount?

A judge may determine a bail amount if a "bail schedule" is not set or required in a particular state.  A judge may use the following factors to determine what your bail amount should be: 

  • Your history of DUI and any other relevant criminal history;
  • The seriousness of your DUI offense in terms of possible injury you may have caused to others by your actions;
  • Your family and community ties, as well as you employment record and your ability to pay court fees and fines;
  • Your age;
  • The risk you would pose to the community if released; and
  • Risk that you will commit another crime if released.

How Do Bail Bonds and Bail Agencies Work?

Anyone may post bail for a DUI suspect, but 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 that indicates that the full bond amount must be paid if the suspect fails to appear in court.  Bail agencies and bondsmen typically charge fees for their service, and typically demand collateral before posting a bond to ensure appearance in court.

What is an Own Recognizance Release?

An own recognizance release occurs when a suspect is released without bail on the condition he or she will appear for all upcoming court proceedings. Defendants released on their own recognizance OR are required to sign a written notice that they promise to show up for their court date if required. 

In a OR, no bail is set or required to be paid, but all aspects of a bail remain such as placing restrictions and conditions on the defendant released on OR like that the defendant has to be subject to a probation officer etc. 

Do I Need a Lawyer?

If you are facing prosecution for a DUI or DWI, you should consider contacting a local DUI/DWI lawyer to help you understand your rights and defenses. Having a criminal attorney present at your DUI bail hearing may improve the chances of receiving bail.