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Arrested for DUI in la working on a 6 month visa from UK? What could happen??

Los Angeles, CA |

my brother has been arrested for DUI and is in court tomorrow morning we live in the UK and aren't clear about american law. He's 21 and has been working around the west coast since June and is due back in the UK in November. What is the likely outcome? What can we do from here to find out more information about the case as the jail won't release any info??? Please get back to me as soon as you can

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Attorney answers 8


There are several factors to be considered in a DUI - the blood or breath alcohol reading, the reason for the stop in the first place, where the stop took place and, consequently, what court the case will be in, whether your brother was simply stopped or whether he was involved in an accident, whether this is a first offense, and so on.

It is also important to know whether he has a California license and whether he intends to work here in the future after November.

A basic DUI first offense carries a substantial fine, a license restriction for at least 90 days, a requirement that a 3-month alcohol class be completed and possible installation of an ignition interlock device. If there are any added wrinkles to the matter, other sentencing factors may come into play.

That is the court case. There is also a DMV case entirely independent of the court matter which will result in a license suspension should it be ignored (a request for a hearing must be filed within 10 days).

I'm afraid simply going back home without taking care of this matter would be a mistake. It will severely curtail any employment prospects in the USA and will result in the issuance of a warrant. It could potentially also affect his right to drive back home.

He may, of course, have defenses which should be explored. Bottom line is he should absolutely hire private counsel to represent him. Myself and many others offer free consultations (by phone or e-mail) and I strongly advise speaking with some of us and having counsel retained and present in court to assist him tomorrow.



Unfortunately we cannot get in touch with him my mum has put money onto some sort of account for him just waiting for him to get in touch to find all the specifics will call when WS have more information



We have just found out he wasnt driving he was in a vehicle stationary asleep drunk because the person driving had left him obviously it is a matter of proving it we have found out those details now but thank you. I will speak to my parents about contacting yourself

Neil James Fraser

Neil James Fraser


Obviously such a set of facts would raise a number of different questions. Just so you know, you don't have to be driving to be ticketed for DUI. If there is circumstantial evidence to suggest you had been driving in the three-hour period before the police come into contact with you, that can be sufficient. But, of course, open to challenge. It is also important to establish whose car your brother was in when the police found him, what seat within the car he was asleep in and where it was parked. It is vitally important your brother does NOT speak to any investigator or law enforcement personnel on this (if he hasn't already done so). He has a right to remain silent and should assert that right 100%. Let me know if you need any more information.


The best thing you (or your parents) can do for your brother is to hire a qualified and experienced DUI attorney ASAP!!

There are very serious consequences, including immigration consequences, that could affect your brother. If he indeed has a "no driving" defense, this is something that should be exploited by the attorney. It is not illegal to be drunk in a car in California. The prosecution must prove that he drove the car (even an inch) in order to succeed in a DUI prosecution.

Most of us on AVVO will give a free consultation.


The best thing he can do is hire an attorney. There are many possible repercussions of being convicted of a DUI and he should have an attorney to assist him.
Robert Driessen

Mr. Driessen is a former Deputy DA in Orange County with over 8 years of criminal law experience. Nothing stated on this site shall in anyway be construed as legal advice, or as creating any attorney client relationship. If you would like to hire Mr. Driessen, feel free to contact him at


The California DUI statues are pretty straight forward. A person is DUI if he/she is driving while impaired by alcohol (and/or drugs) or driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or more. The legal drinking age in CA is 21. Also, the U.S. uses an accusatory system as opposed to an inquisition system in its courts. The government has to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt, and the accused is not required to provide any evidence or answer any questions.

As to the likely outcome, that's a bit more difficult. The outcome of a case really depends upon the facts of the case and how they are presented to the prosecution, the court and possibly a jury. Here in California, a first time DUI usually results in a fine of a less than $3,000 (US), probation (unsupervised) for a period of 5 years or less, alcohol & driving education classes, a restriction of driving privileges, and more.

The jail is not really going to have any information on your brother's case. That information would currently be in the hands of the police agency that arrested him. It will take a few days for a report to be written. It should contain all of the information the government will rely upon in the case, but it will not be all the information about the matter (as I am sure your brother will have a bit of information to disclose.)

As to how the case will impact his immigration status (assuming he wants to stay after the conclusion of the case), you would need to speak with an immigration attorney here in the States. It is likely he could be "asked" to leave, but then again, he could fight for the privilege of staying.

As for the DUI case itself: you're brother will most likely be released from custody in short order with a directive to return to court on a certain date to begin moving the case through the court system. He/you should immediately start looking for a qualified DUI attorney to assist him with the matter. Many of the attorney's here on AVVO offer free consultations, and this will enable your brother to have a better understanding about the charges he is facing, how the process will work, and what can be done to bring about the best possible outcome for him.

Good Luck.


Without any real information about the case it's impossible to know what
the outcome will be I suggest you speak with a qualified attorney in your
area a soon as possible to relate the facts of your brothers case


Without knowing all the facts of the case it is difficult to state what the outcome of the case will be. Typically there is a fine and DUI classes along with probation. Your brother should be represented by counsel. If the case is filed as a misdemeanor the attorney may appear in court without your brother being present. It is also important that the an alternative to completing the classes be presented, otherwise your brother will be facing a violation of probation for not completing court ordered classes and a warrant will be issued which will cause future problems should he re-enter the country. Your brother may request a continuance to hire an attorney.


As indicated by my colleagues- your brother needs an attorney to deal with this. This can be dealt with - and must be dealt with because of immigration issues.

Andrew Roberts (818) 597-0633/ (805) 496-7777


There are two legal areas that your legal representative should be familiar with; one is the area of Driving under the Influence and the second is the immigration consequences if you should suffer a conviction for DUI.
Therefore, it is important you discuss with a prospective attorney for your criminal matter, whether she/he is familiar with defense of this specific type of criminal case and the possible impact a conviction would have on your immigration matter. Personally, I have a general understanding of the immigration consequences of criminal convictions and have taken continuing legal education in the area of criminal convictions and how they might impact immigration proceedings, but I always try to work with the client's immigration attorney when circumstances similar to the present case are present. It is important that the client understands the likely consequences to the immigration matter, for any contemplated plea to any criminal charge. Good Luck.

The answer to the proposed question does not establish an attorney client relationship between the proponent of the question and this attorney. Further, it is important and suggested by this author that the proponent of the question seek legal representation and discuss the specifics with the legal representative in order to obtain a specific and detailed response, rather than the general response that is provided here.

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