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The Court Process in California DUI Cases

If anyone in Los Angeles knows the DUI court process like the back 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.

Just 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 a lot of 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, and you really can’t generalize as far as the outcome because the outcomes is going to depend on a lot of different factors.

Probably the biggest factor is how good your attorney is and what actually happened in your DUI case — how high your blood alcohol level was, whether you were speeding, whether you were 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, driven to the police state.  They’re typically going to make you do some field sobriety tests either on the road where you’re pulled over or back at the police station.

What they’re trying to figure out there is 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’re going to have to do either a blood test or a breath test. This can get a little bit confusing because a lot of times in order 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 take 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 what 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 be a refusal.  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, then it’s kind of hit or miss what happens.  If you haven’t have much alcohol and you don’t blow that high and you’ve got somebody there to take you home, some police agencies and 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’re going to 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.

DMV Hearing

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 license that is valid for only 30 days. You may or not be put on bail for release.

A DMV hearing must be requested within 10 days of the arrest. This is very important because if the DMV Administrative Hearing is not requested within 10 days of the arrest, then 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. During this time it will be decided whether your license should be suspended or revoked.

DUI Court Arraignment

Following the DMV hearing is the 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 certain evidence.

Most of the time what I  do in the case is, I will continue the arraignment, not enter any plea, pick up the paper work, speak to the prosecutors and see what their position is and then I will get my client the 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 a bail they can try to do that.  So, obviously, you’re going to want to have an attorney who is 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, a lot of times the judge will 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 be able 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 absolutely 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 trial and get you the best results that are possible to get.

Review DUI Defenses

We fight insistently and assert any defenses we can on your behalf. We examine the police report, breathalyzer test, blood test, field sobriety test very carefully to see if there are any inaccuracies or any slight possibility of illegal conduct by law enforcement.

We guarantee our hard work and protection of your legal rights, license, freedom, and reputation is our top priority.

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Downtown Los Angeles Metro – DUI Courthouse

We have successfully handled thousands of DUI cases in this courthouse over our many years of practice. Division 60 is the arraignment court in downtown Los Angeles for DUI related cases. We are frequently in this particular court dealing with the prosecutors and the judge regarding DUI cases. Our experience related to DUI cases in the Metro Courthouse has been invaluable and extremely effective in successfully resolving DUI cases in Los Angeles for our clients.

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Ronald D. Hedding

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