Can You Still Be Arrested for DUI During the Coronavirus Pandemic?

April 8, 2020

If you are caught driving under the influence in California, you will still be charged with a crime.

If you are caught driving under the influence in California, you will still be charged with a crime.

As the coronavirus has spread throughout the United States, a number of important changes have been implemented in the criminal justice system. Here in California, that includes postponing non-emergency trials, and various law enforcement agencies taking steps to reduce contacts with the public. For example, in Los Angeles, the LAPD has closed its community police stations to the public, instructing people to report non-emergency crimes via email instead.

Without a doubt, the spread of COVID-19 has affected every area of our lives, including how the police operate. According to a Los Angeles DUI defense attorney, California law permits local sheriffs to order cite-and-release only for anyone accused of crimes with bail amounts of under $50,000. This has led many law enforcement agencies to direct their officers to avoid arresting people for minor offenses — causing a substantial drop in the total number of arrests over the past month or more.

The new approach to criminal offenses also affects driving under the influence (DUI) charges. In most cases, DUI is a misdemeanor offense, and is typically punished by DUI probation, community service, mandatory drug or alcohol education classes, a license suspension, and fines and fees. In Los Angeles County, bail for misdemeanor DUI ranges from $5,000 to $30,000. This means that for a misdemeanor DUI, you will likely be cited and then released. However, for more serious felony DUI charges, bail may be as high as $100,000. In this situation, you may be arrested and taken to jail or prison. In either situation, you should consult with a Los Angeles DUI defense attorney as soon as possible to determine what to do next.

If you are released on citation for a DUI, you will not be arrested and booked into jail or prison. This does not mean that you have escaped consequences for driving under the influence. Instead, you will be given the citation (written notice) and must agree to show up in court at a later date. Because of the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus, this date may be far into the future. If you receive a citation for DUI, you should ask a Los Angeles DUI defense attorney how to move forward.

Many Californians are under considerable stress due to the coronavirus. For some people, having a drink or two is a way to relieve some of this anxiety. If you get behind the wheel of a car after drinking alcohol, you may be charged with a DUI. Both during the pandemic and throughout the year, if you are drinking or using drugs, plan to stay home or to have a driver who can get you home safely.

At the Chambers Law Firm, we understand that this is a confusing time for many Californians. We are here to help. If you have been charged with a criminal offense during this time, whether you were formally arrested or if you were given a citation, we will advise you of your rights and develop a strong defense. Contact us today at 855-397-0210 or to schedule a free initial consultation with a member of our team.

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