A DUI arrest is a stressful experience no matter how it happens. Whether you were pulled over on suspicion of DUI, the officer pulled you over because of a problem with your vehicle and then realized you were intoxicated, or you were involved in an accident or stopped at a checkpoint, the result is the same. The officer places you under arrest. What happens next?

The Testing Procedure

The first thing that will happen is you’ll be transported to either the jail or to a hospital where you’ll be required to undergo testing to determine if you were actually driving under the influence (or the officer will administer a breath test on the road). You might be required to take a breath test, a urine test or a blood test. In some instances, you might be required to take more than one. For instance, if you take a breath test and the results come back under .08%, the officer might require you to take a blood test to determine if you’re under the influence of drugs, rather than alcohol. Breath tests are available almost immediately, but blood test results can take several days.

Refusing the Tests

First, understand that it is within your rights to refuse to take any alcohol test, whether that’s a Breathalyzer test, blood test or urine test. Do this at your own peril, though. If you refuse the test, you’ll still be arrested. You’ll also have the added complication of being charged with refusal to take the test, which can add jail time, and a full year’s suspension of your license.


After you’ve gone through the testing process, you’ll be booked into the jail. Chances are good you’ll be held for at least several hours before the police release you. The officer will write up his or her report of the arrest, noting your actions and any refusal to take an alcohol test. That report will be sent to a prosecutor who will determine whether to press charges or drop them. In most cases, they’ll press charges. Release will come in one of two ways. You might be released on bail, or if you have no previous infractions, you might be released on a written promise to show up for your court date.

Your License

When you’re arrested, the officer will confiscate your license. You won’t be getting it back any time soon. In its place, you’ll receive a pink slip of paper, which will take the place of your license for the next 30 days. At the end of that 30-day period, there’s a good chance your license will be suspended, and you’ll be unable to drive.

In order to prevent your license from being summarily suspended in 30 days, you must submit for a hearing before the DMV within 10 days of your arrest. Filing for the hearing will stop the suspension, at least until you go before the DMV. Note that this is separate from your DUI trial. If you succeed in your hearing, your license will not be suspended at this time, but it could be suspended if you lose your DUI trail in court.

Hiring an Attorney

You’re given a phone call after your arrest. That call should be made to a DUI attorney. Going it alone here is a mistake. The laws governing DUI in California are very complex, and it requires an experienced expert to navigate these murky waters. Michael J. Fremont is the most experienced DUI attorney in San Diego and the surrounding area, and can help ensure that you have the best chance in both your DUI trial, as well as in your DMV hearing.