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First time arrest for a DUI. What to expect?

San Francisco, CA |

I was recently stopped and arrested for a DUI in the Bay Area. I refused a breathalyzer and requested a blood test instead. I'm almost positive I was under the legal limit. I had 4 mixed drinks from 10:30 PM-1:15 AM with the arrest happening at 3:00 and the blood test 20-30 mins after, and I'm over 6 feet and weigh 225 lbs. I have an arraignment coming up in a couple of weeks and want to know how I can get the test results.

I'm torn on hiring a lawyer because I'm short on funds, but if my BAC is below .08 I figure I shouldn't need one. I have 3 questions:
1)Is it possible to obtain my blood results prior to my arraignment; and if so, how?
2)If my BAC is below.08 will the charge be thrown out at the hearing?
3)Should I hire a lawyer before the arraignment regardless?

Thanks in advance!

Attorney Answers 3


  1. Probably not. The DA or DOJ's lab does the analysis. THE DA and DMV gets the results. The DA will provide discovery to either the attorney representing you or if you represent yourself they will give you the results. The DMV will get the results and mail them to you if you requested a DMV hearing but this may not be before the arraignment. At the arraignment if a DA is present you can ask them to look at the results, in most cases they will show them to you.

    Two DUI charges 23152 (a) - driving under the influence, 23152(b) - driving with a BAC over 0.08. You could be under 0.08 and still be charged with the DUI (a) count. In most jurisdictions if you are a 0.7 or less they won't charge you unless there is drugs in your blood.

    If you are short of money, you can go to your arraignment to see if the DA is going to charge you. If not, then your home free. If they do charge you, then I would recommend you get a lawyer. If you have a low BAC a good DUI attorney should be able to get you a reduction of charges or even a dismissal. .

    Disclaimer: This is a general discussion of legal principles by a California lawyer and does not create an attorney/client relationship. This is not intended to be legal advice in your specific case. It's impossible to give detailed, accurate advice based on a few sentences on a website. You should always seek advice from an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction who can give you an informed opinion after reviewing all of the relevant information in your case.


  2. In all DUI cases, the penalties for DUI offenders are based on a variety of factors including the facts and circumstances surrounding the individual’s DUI arrest, the individual’s blood alcohol concentration results, local policies, and the ability of the prosecutor assigned to the case.

    On certain occasions, DUI penalties for first time offenders are subject to enhancement. These enhancements may occur if the offender was speeding 20 mph over the legal limit, refused to submit to blood alcohol testing, or if the offender had a minor below the age of fourteen in the car with him or her at the time of the arrest.

    For a first time DUI offender, the individual can expect to be sentenced to:

    1. Jail: 48 hours to 6 months;
    2. Fine: $390.00 to $1,000.00, with possible penalty assessments;
    3. License Suspension: Up to 6 months;
    4. Treatment Program: Mandatory attendance in an alcohol treatment program
    a. If the individual’s BAC result was less than 0.20%, 3 months attendance
    in a treatment program is required.
    b. If the individual’s BAC result was greater than 0.20%, 6 months
    attendance in a treatment program is required.

    The penalties associated with an individual’s criminal court proceeding are completely separate from any punishment which may be dispensed as a result of an unsuccessful Administrative Per Se Hearing (APS) conducted by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).


  3. If you requested a DMV hearing within 10 days of the date of your arrest, it is possible that the DMV will send you "discovery" including your police report & the blood test results prior to your arraignment. In case that doesn't happed, then realistically, your first opportunity to find out what your blood test results are would be at arraignment.
    If your BAC is below, .08, in SF in all likelihood you would not be charged if there were no drugs in your system. That could of course differ based on the driving pattern, whether this was a first offense or not, or as previously mentioned if there were drugs in your system, including marijuana.
    It's always a good idea to at least consult with an attorney prior to arraignment so he or she can answer any questions you may have and go over your rights as well as potential consequences of both the court case and the DMV prior to your arraignment.

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