Los Angeles DUI Court Process
Misdemeanor DUI (Driving Under the Influence) Charge:
When someone is charged with a Misdemeanor DUI charge, the first court appearance is called the “Arraignment”. Typically, we would represent you by entering “Not Guilty” pleas to the charges and continuing the case for a “Pretrial Hearing”. A defendant has a right to go to trial in a misdemeanor case within 30 days of Arraignment if the defendant was in custody, or 45 days of Arraignment if the defendant was out of custody. Sometimes, we might “waive time”, meaning give up your right to go to trial so quickly, and continue the case to a date beyond the 30 or 45 days so that me may accurately and properly prepare your defense. Your case may end up having several “Pretrial Hearings”, so that we can obtain everything we can, file any proper and necessary motions, etc., in fighting the DUI charges against you.
Typical DUI/Driving Under the Influence charges include:
- Vehicle Code §23152(a) – Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol and/or Drugs
- Vehicle Code §23152(b) – Driving a Vehicle with a .08 Blood Alcohol Content or Higher
- Plus: Prior Convictions for DUI (if applicable)
- If Under 21: An enhancement to the charge that you were under 21 years at the time of the arrest
- If BAC (blood alcohol content) over .15: And enhancement to the penalties If your blood alcohol content was .15 or higher
- If Injuries: Vehicle Code §23153(a)/(b) – same as VC §23152 (a)/(b), with Injuries
NOTE: These charges could also be filed as felonies depending on the number of prior convictions and/or the extent of the injuries.
Arraignment – Pretrial Hearings – Trial
(First Appearance, right to trial within 45 days – often delayed)
Felony DUI (Driving Under the Influence) Charge:
When someone is arrested for a felony DUI, it is typically because the person has multiple DUI convictions (four or more) and/or there was a car accident and injuries involved. The charges to be faced could include those listed above, as well as possibly:
Penal Code§191.5 – Vehicular Manslaughter (If a death occurred)
The first appearance is called the “Arraignment”. In a felony case, the defendant has the right to have a “Preliminary Hearing” within 10 days. Depending on the custody status of our client, we might give up the right to conduct the Preliminary Hearing within such a short time so that we may prepare all of our defenses in your DUI case as thoroughly as possible. Many cases often settle prior to or at the Preliminary Hearing stage. Additionally, some courts have an “Early Disposition Program” or EDP court, where cases are attempted to be disposed of or settled early on during the proceedings.
If a Preliminary Hearing is conducted, the Judge can rule that the prosecution has proved with sufficient evidence that a crime was committed and that the defendant committed it, the Judge could rule that there was “insufficient evidence” presented and dismiss the case or specific charges, or (if applicable) the Judge could reduce certain charges if there is mitigating evidence such that the charges should not be felonies, but instead be misdemeanors.
If the Judge finds sufficient evidence to “Hold Defendant to Answer” to the charges after the Preliminary Hearing, the case is sent to the Felony Trial Court approximately two weeks later. This first appearance in the Felony Trial Court is also called “Arraignment”, where the charges are once again read to defendant. The defendant then has a right to go to trial within 60 days of that Arraignment date.
Arraignment – EDP/PHS – Preliminary Hearing (PH) – Arraignment – Trial
(PH within 10 days, often continued)
(Two weeks after PH; 60 days to trial)
Why Us? There are many things that need to be done to accurately, thoroughly and aggressively defend someone in a DUI case (such as checking the accuracy of the breath testing machines used, retesting the blood sample if one was provided, examining the police officer’s radio transmissions to test the accuracy of their reports, visiting the scene or checking maps of the arrest location, checking the location where the field sobriety tests (FSTs) were conducted), and our office will do all that we can while we fight for your rights!
Do not just plead guilty to “get it over with”. You have rights – and a DUI conviction can be detrimental to your professional career and personal rights. Hire a lawyer that truly cares and can fight for you! We are here for that reason!