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Court Process

DUI Court Process California

L.A. DUI Attorneys Explaining the DUI Court Process

In California, the DUI process has two branches. The first is the DMV hearing, which is held at the Drivers Safety Office of the California Department of Motor Vehicles. The second branch is the DUI court process, which is the criminal side of the legal process that is involved in a DUI charge.

Los Angeles DMV Hearings

From the day of your arrest, you have only 10 days to schedule a DMV hearing. This is an administrative hearing in which it will be decided if your driver's license should be suspended or revoked. These hearings are often held over the phone, and the suspension of your license can be waived under certain circumstances, which can be brought forward by your DUI defense attorney.

When facing a charge for drunk driving, it serves your best interests to have a knowledgeable DUI defense lawyer fighting for you. At Gold & Witham, our attorneys can not only schedule the DMV hearing, but also represent you at the actual hearing. With the help of an experienced DUI attorney handling the hearing, it improves the chances of a good outcome.

If you don't schedule the DMV hearing, your license will be suspended in 30 days.

Criminal Court Process in Los Angeles, CA

Getting arrested for DUI in Los Angeles can be scary and confusing. Here's a breakdown of the typical criminal court process you might encounter:

1. Arrest:

  • After a driver has been arrested and charged with DUI, the court will set a bail amount or may release the driver on his or her own recognizance (without having to pay bail).

2. Arraignment:

  • This is your first court appearance, typically within a month of arrest.
  • You'll be informed of the charges against you and enter a plea (guilty, not guilty, or no contest).
  • An attorney can advise you on the best plea considering your case. The defendant will be best prepared and will receive the best outcome for his or her case when working with a skilled lawyer who can advise.

3. Pretrial Conference(s):

  • These meetings involve the prosecutor and your attorney (if you have one) to discuss evidence, plea bargains, and potential next steps.
  • Pretrial motions—such as a motion to suppress evidence—are filed by an attorney in order to help the defendant's case. A plea bargain may be offered by the prosecuting attorney in an attempt to have the defendant plead guilty for a lesser charge and penalties.
  • This is where your attorney negotiates on your behalf to potentially reduce charges or lessen penalties.

4. Trial (if no plea bargain is reached):

  • The trial is then held in court and is presided over by a judge with the verdict determined by a jury. 
  • You present your defense in court, potentially challenging evidence or witness testimonies. After both sides have presented evidence, witnesses, and cross-examined witnesses, the jury will deliberate and decide upon a verdict.
  • An attorney is crucial for navigating trial procedures and effectively representing you.

5. Sentencing (if found guilty):

  • The judge determines your punishment based on the severity of the offense and your criminal history (if any).
  • Penalties can include fines, jail time, license suspension, DUI classes, and more.
  • An attorney can argue for a more lenient sentence or explore options for reducing the impact.

Contact a Los Angeles DUI Defense Attorney Today

When facing DUI charges, it is strongly advised that you contact Gold & Witham after your arrest. There are many points along the way where your DUI lawyer can aggressively fight for you in the legal process. Many cases never go to trial and the case is dismissed. Often, the suspension of your license can be waived. Any of these results are the work of a seasoned DUI attorney. Your DUI defense must be handled by an attorney who knows DUI laws and penalties and how to successfully work within the system to increase the possibility of a good outcome. 

Protect yourself with a quality DUI attorney if you have been arrested. Call now!

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