Many drivers in California aren’t sure what to expect after they are arrested for driving under the influence (DUI). The legal processes for resolving a DUI charge can be confusing if you do not have legal experience.
The professionals at the Simmrin Law Group can help you review what you should expect when you go to court for a DUI. You can use this article to review different aspects of a DUI case and how they will impact you following a DUI arrest.
The Basic Facts About DUI Court Proceedings
The court system in California uses criminal charges to prosecute DUIs. You could be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony by the prosecution, depending upon the reports of law enforcement officers.
The prosecution will work aggressively to secure a guilty verdict during your DUI case. Your case may be resolved out of the courtroom or through a criminal trial. If your case goes to trial, your sentence will be determined by a judge and jury.
You have multiple options to secure help if you are arrested for a DUI. You can attempt to handle DUI charges on your own. However, it is highly recommended that you get professional help on your side. Depending upon your situation, you could reach out to a:
- Private criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles
- Public defender in California
DUI Court Cases: Arraignment Hearing
Your arraignment hearing represents the first portion of your court case. You will be expected to enter a plea at your arraignment hearing. You can plead:
- Not guilty
- No contest
A guilty or no contest plea means that you accept the charges against you. You may plead “not guilty” to contest your DUI charges. Pleading not guilty allows your lawyer to gain access to evidence used by the prosecution, which will be important during the next stage of your court case.
DUI Court Cases: Pre-Trial Phase
Your DUI lawyer can enter a period of investigation following your arraignment hearing. During this period of investigation, a professional lawyer will dig into all the evidence tied to your case, including:
- The police report
- Evidence at the scene of your arrest
- Maintenance records for blood alcohol content (BAC) testing devices
A number of hearings may be completed during the pre-trial phase of your DUI hearing. Your lawyer may:
- Dispute the legality of your traffic stop with a probable cause hearing
- Assess the history of your arresting officer with a “Pitchess” hearing
- Work to block evidence against you with a motion to suppress hearing
DUI Court Cases: Plea Bargaining
You should be aware that not all DUI charges are resolving in the courtroom in California. Your DUI charges could be resolved through plea bargaining during the pre-trial phase of your case. A plea bargain allows you to:
- Reduce the penalties you’re facing by
- Pleading guilty to less severe charges
Depending upon your situation, a DUI lawyer might be able to secure you a plea bargain for dry reckless or wet reckless charges.
DUI Court Cases: Jury Trial
As we mentioned, many DUI charges are resolved outside of the court. You may be able to move forward with your life if your lawyer can get your charges reduced or dismissed. However, some DUI charges must go to court. In this case, you should expect the following steps:
- The selection of a jury
- Opening statements by the prosecution and defense
- The presentation of the prosecution’s case
- The presentation of the defense’s case
- Closing statement by the prosecution and defense
- The verdict and sentencing
The exact penalties for a DUI can vary based upon your specific situation. However, if you are convicted you could expect to face fines, jail time, and the suspension of your driver’s license. Getting legal help handling all aspects of your DUI case can strengthen your odds of resolving these accusations in your favor.
Get Legal Help with California DUI Charges
You don’t have to try to handle a DUI accusation on your own in California. The professionals at the Simmrin Law Group are ready to begin working on your defense right now. Our DUI lawyers in Los Angeles can handle all aspects of your DUI case. Take charge of your future by contacting us now.
We are ready to handle your arraignment hearing, the investigation of your case, and your jury trial. Let our criminal defense lawyers negotiate with prosecutors and work to handle the charges you are facing. Call (310) 997-4688 or complete our online contact form to get a FREE initial case evaluation regarding your legal options.