In every San Diego DUI case there are two separate actions. The first is an administrative per se hearing conducted by the California Department of Motor Vehicles. This hearing determines whether your driving privileges will be suspended based solely off of the arrest. This is completely independent of the court process. The second is a criminal proceeding through the San Diego County Superior Court system.
San Diego DUI Criminal Proceeding
After an arrest for driving under the influence in San Diego you will be issued a citation to appear in court. In some circumstances you may be mailed a “Notice to Appear” in lieu of the initial citation. This first court appearance is known as an arraignment. At the arraignment you may enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. If you enter a plea of “Not Guilty” then your case will be set for pre-trial. In some instances, your case may not be filed on your initial court date. There are a number of reasons that your case is not filed. It may be that the arresting agency has not submitted all of the information, the prosecutor may be behind on filing charges or they may be awaiting additional evidence. No matter what the reason for the delay, you must appear at your arraignment. Failure to appear may result in a warrant being issued for your arrest. If your case is not filed, the prosecutor has one year to file charges on misdemeanors. You will receive a notice to appear in the mail once your case is filed.
In most cases, a licensed DUI Lawyer can appear on your behalf at the criminal proceeding. They can continue the arraignment, enter a plea or set the case for pre-trial. The court will usually limit the amount of appearances on a case before requiring it be resolved or set for trial.
Arraignment and Pre-Trial Phase
The arraignment and pre-trial phases of the criminal proceedings allow you to obtain evidence and review the case prior to taking the case to trial. An experienced drunk driving defense lawyer will use this time to review the police report, conduct the APS hearing through the DMV which will allow you to subpoena additional evidence and even cross-examine the arresting officer or other witnesses under oath. During these phases, negotiations also begin with the prosecutor assigned to the case. You may be given an initial offer for a plea deal. You should never plead guilty on a case prior to consulting a knowledgeable DUI defense attorney. You may be pleading guilty when your case could get reduced or even dismissed.
Hiring an Experienced San Diego DUI Attorney
It is highly recommended that you hire a leading San Diego DUI Lawyer prior to stepping foot in a criminal courtroom. The first call you should make after arrest is to the DUI Defense Law Group. Our team of drunk driving defense attorneys knows the laws and defenses to DUI charges. You need to act fast to protect your rights. Do not make the mistake of entering a plea simply because you were arrested.