If you've been arrested anywhere in the San Fernando Valley, you're typically going to get an appearance slip to appear in the Van Nuys criminal court. If you're charged with a misdemeanor DUI, they'll have you appearing in Division 103.
You want to get an attorney before you go in there. Let the attorney go into court for you, pick up the paperwork, and any discovery, speak to the prosecutor and see their position.
Trying to handle it yourself, in my opinion, is not a good idea. You could be facing jail time. You could be facing a loss of your license and other ramifications flowing from your DUI that a DUI defense attorney can help you with.
I've been doing this now for 30 years, so I have a lot of experience in the Van Nuys court. California has several statutes for driving under the influence, such as the most common below:
- Vehicle Code 23152(a) VC- driving under the influence;
- Vehicle Code 23152(b) VC - driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or more;
- Vehicle Code 23152(f) VC - driving under the influence of drugs,
- Vehicle Code 23153 VC – DUI causing an injury.
VC 23153 is the aggravated form of a traditional driving under the influence offense. The prosecutor can charge a “wobbler” as either a misdemeanor or felony crime. Our Los Angeles DUI defense lawyers will examine this topic in greater detail below.
What Are the Characteristics of a Great DUI Lawyer?
I've been doing this for about three decades, and I've handled thousands of DUIs, specifically in the Van Nuys court. I know the prosecutors. I know the judges. So, that's a crucial box that I can check.
Other attorneys can check it, as well. Still, while we're evaluating the characteristics you must have, I would say local information, connection, tendencies, and knowledge, which I think are critically important to the outcome of your case.
The next thing is that when you meet with the lawyer, you feel comfortable with them. In other words, you get the feeling they know what they're doing; they're easy to talk to. They explain all the details well, and they're likable.
I say that because that will be your lawyer that will go in front of the prosecutor and the judge. So, if you get the sense the attorney you're talking to is a jerk that doesn't know what they're going on, trust me, the prosecutor and judge will get that same feeling.
So, when you meet with the DUI lawyer, make sure they are likable. Make sure that you like them and feel comfortable with them because if you do, more than likely, the judge and prosecutor will too.
What Are the Most Common DUI-Related Laws in California?
- Vehicle Code 23152 VC – driving under the influence,
- Vehicle Code 23153 VC – DUI causing injury,
- Vehicle Code 23152(f) VC – DUI of drugs,
- Vehicle Code 23222(a) VC – open container law,
- Vehicle Code 23222(b) VC – possessing marijuana while driving,
- Vehicle Code 23221 VC – smoking marijuana in the vehicle,
- Vehicle Code 23224 VC – possession of alcohol under 21,
- Vehicle Code 23582 VC – excessive speed and reckless driving,
- Vehicle Code 23136 VC – zero-tolerance law,
- Vehicle Code 23140 VC – underage driving with .05% BAC,
- Vehicle Code 20002 VC – misdemeanor hit and run,
- Vehicle Code 20001 VC – felony hit and run,
- Penal Code 191.5(a) PC – gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated,
- Penal Code 191.5(b) PC – vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated,
- Penal Code 273a PC– child endangerment law,
- Penal Code 647(f) PC – drunk in public law,
- Vehicle Code 23103 VC – wet reckless law,
- Vehicle Code 23109 VC – exhibition of speed.
What Will a Lawyer Do in Your DUI Case?
What I have you do when you meet with me is to give me a rundown of what happened. Give me the information accurately so I can best help you. I'll quote you a fee. Once you retain me, I'll handle both the DMV and the criminal court for you.
Typically, you will not have to attend the DMV hearing unless you think it might be to your advantage to testify. Still, you have to realize that the hearing officer gets to ask you questions if you testify, which could incriminate you.
As far as the criminal court goes, we will make the first court appearance for you, pick up all the information related to the case, continue the case, and get you a copy of the paperwork. Then we'll have you come in, and we'll talk about it and get our strategy together.
Typically, what happens in Van Nuys court, as long as the case isn't set as a felony, we'll let you remain on your recognizance. This means the judge won't make you post bail and won't take you into custody.
But, a lot of times, depending on how high your blood alcohol level is, they may order you to do some AA meetings while you're out of custody because people who have a high blood alcohol level and who are driving perceive it as not only dangerous but people who have problems with alcohol.
Where is the Van Nuys Arraignment Court?
Department 103 is the arraignment court. Van Nuys Courthouse West is located at 14400 Erwin Street Mall, Van Nuys, CA 91401, (818) 989-6900.
Sometimes we'll try to resolve cases in there; other times, if we're going to file a motion and try to attack the case or we've got some issue that we want to litigate in another courtroom, we'll enter a not-guilty plea. Then, they move the case out of Division 103, and then the case will be sent into one of the trial courts where:
- we can file a motion,
- set the case for trial, and
- fight it in front of a jury, or
- we can still resolve the case depending on what our strategy is.
We will determine which prosecutors we want to talk to you, whether we want to go to the supervisor or try to deal with the prosecutors who sit in the various trial courts throughout Van Nuys criminal courthouse.
So, if you need the best – someone whose office is very close to the Van Nuys court and has a lot of experience there and how to handle a DUI case there, you've come to the right place.
Pick up the phone now. Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding. We'll go over your case in the privacy of my office, and we will do everything we can to help you. The Hedding Law Firm offers a free case evaluation by phone or the contact form.