The Court Process in California DUI Cases
Suppose anyone in Los Angeles knows the DUI court process like the back of their hand. With our 75 years of combined experience and our daily DUI appearances, our experience and knowledge qualify us to be your driving under the influence defense attorney.
To give a brief overview of the DUI process, you must first understand that there are two main proceedings: the DMV administrative action and the criminal prosecution. We will be there for you through both and all proceedings.
Because many people who get DUI cases are first-time offenders, they have no idea what they're going to be facing, what the court process is, how long it takes and what is likely to be the outcome of their case. You really can't generalize as far as the outcome because the work will depend on many different factors.
The most significant factor is how reasonable your attorney is and what happened in your DUI case — how high your blood alcohol level was, whether you were speeding, involved in an accident, and a whole host of other factors.
But as far as the process goes, you get arrested for a DUI. So, you'll be handcuffed, put in the back of the police car, and driven to the police state.
They're typically going to make you do field sobriety tests either on the road where you're pulled over or back at the police station. They're trying to figure out whether you can safely operate a motor vehicle. That's what those tests are designed to figure out.
Blood or Breath Test
Once they arrest you, they will have to do either a blood test or a breath test. This can get a bit confusing because a lot of times, to make sure that your blood alcohol level is a .08 or greater so they don't waste a trip into the police station.
They'll have you blow into a little hand-held device and see what that registers. That's called a preliminary alcohol screening device.
Some people, especially if they're drunk, think that that is the breath test and they're not taking any other tests, but the reality is that you don't have to accept that hand-held device, and that's not the test.
If you're going to do a breath test, you'll have to do it back and the station. It's called a preliminary alcohol screening device that they have you take in the field, and it's the Intoxilyzer 3000 at the police station, or you could do a blood test.
There used to be urine, but now it's just blood or breath, and if you don't do it, you'll be determined to refuse. You'll lose your license for one year, and it will automatically be presumed that you're DUI.
Once you are taken to the police station, it's hit or miss. If you don't have much alcohol and don't blow that high and have somebody there to take you home, some police agencies will let you go after two or three hours.
But most of them aren't going to take any chances, and they're going to keep you there for many hours, and then you'll finally get out with a ticket or a citation to appear in court, and if you're smart, you'll hire an attorney.
Let the attorney appear for you. At the arraignment, which is part of the court process, you will enter a plea — either a not-guilty plea or a guilty plea. You could either try to work your case out, or you could even plead no contest.
Once you are arrested for driving under the influence due to drugs or an alcohol blood level of 0.08 or higher (0.04 or higher for commercial drivers) in your system, you are issued a temporary driver's license valid for only 30 days. You may or not be put on bail for release.
A DMV hearing must be requested within ten days of the arrest. This is very important because if the DMV Administrative Hearing is not requested within ten days of the arrest, you will lose your driving privileges after the 30-day license expires.
Our DUI attorneys will set up and conduct this hearing for you. Our lawyers prepare for DMV hearings as if we were preparing for a trial. The DMV hearing is as important as the criminal prosecution. It will be decided whether your license should be suspended or revoked.
DUI Court Arraignment
Following the DMV hearing is the DUI arraignment where you will formally be charged with a DUI, and you can make your plea of guilty or not guilty. This is where we step in as your Los Angeles DUI lawyer and try to get your charges reduced by suppressing specific evidence.
Most of the time, what I do in the case is I will continue the arraignment hearing, not enter any plea, pick up the paperwork, speak to the prosecutors, see their position, and then get my client's paperwork and let them review it.
Then we'll sit down and meet and go through it and decide how we're going to handle the case — whether it's going to be something we're going to try to plea bargain or whether it's a scenario where we're going to trial.
Also, at the arraignment, the judge can deal with the bail. If they want to set bail, they can do that. So, you're going to want to have an attorney prepared to argue the bail for you.
In addition to the bail, in DUI cases, if your blood alcohol level is high enough or if it's a second or third DUI, the judge will often make the person who has the case do Alcoholic Anonymous meetings while the case is pending.
Because they figure if you have a high blood alcohol level, you must have an alcohol problem, and they want you to deal with that problem. Get educated while the case is pending.
The DUI trial is the next and final step. An aggressive and experienced drunk driving attorney is necessary. We are familiar with all the judges and prosecutors of Los Angeles County and are well known and respected. We can competently and effectively defend you during the trial and get you the best possible results.
We fight insistently and assert any defenses we can on your behalf. We carefully examine the police report, breathalyzer test, blood test, field sobriety test, blood test, and field sobriety test to see any inaccuracies or any slight possibility of illegal conduct by law enforcement. We may negotiate with the prosecutor to get a dismissal of a DUI case.
We guarantee our hard work, and protecting your legal rights, license, freedom, and reputation is our top priority.