Court Process

In most circumstances, a DUI case begins when a peace officer initiates an enforcement stop due to a traffic violation. Upon initial contact with the suspect, the officer asks the driver to exit the vehicle in order to conduct a DUI investigation based upon initial findings of “objective symptoms” of intoxication. These “objective symptoms” may include the following: bloodshot/ watery eyes, slurred speech, unsteady gait, and odor of alcohol. Many times the DUI investigation proceeds by the officer asking the detainee a number of pre field sobriety test questions which may include the following: if the suspect consumed alcohol, how much alcohol, type of alcohol, time of consumption, time of last meal, type of food consumed, time the suspect last slept, medical conditions, etc. These questions are usually followed by the administration of standardized field sobriety tests. Following the administration of the standardized field sobriety tests, the officer many times offers the detainee a preliminary alcohol screening (pas) test. This pas test is used to gauge the suspect’s blood alcohol level and will be used as probable cause to support an arrest. Observing signs of intoxication that can range from mild to severe, the officer makes an arrest on suspicion of DUI. Usually the suspect is transported to the police station and given the choice between submitting to a breathalyzer or a blood test. Once the chemical test is completed, the suspect is booked into custody, fingerprinted and then placed in a holding cell. Oftentimes the suspect is released on his/her own recognizance (OR) and issued a date to appear in Court for the initial arraignment. In some cases, bail is set based on a predetermined fee schedule. Bail requires the suspect either post the bail in full or pay a fee to a bail bond company (approximately 10% of the bail) in which the bail bond company will post the bail before the suspect is eligible for release. If the amount required to post bail cannot be paid then the suspect is held in custody until he/ she is taken to see the judge. This should take place within 48 hours.

Following arrest, the arresting officer will forward the arresting documents to the prosecutor’s office. A charging deputy will review the documents and decide which charges, if any, should be filed. The charges are typically filed via complaint. The arraignment is the first appearance in Court in which the charges are presented against the defendant. Most DUIs are filed as misdemeanor offenses. If the offense is filed as a misdemeanor then the DUI lawyer can appear in Court on behalf of the client without the client being present. At the initial appearance, the DUI lawyer may use the strategy of continuing the arraignment should she believe it is in her client’s best interest. Often times, instead of continuing the arraignment, the DUI lawyer will enter a plea of “not guilty” on behalf of her client and set the matter for a pretrial hearing. At the pretrial hearing an experienced DUI lawyer will review the case and file any and all pretrial motions necessary. Pretrial motions may include but are not limited to: Serna Motion, Motion to Suppress, Motion to Strike a Prior, Pitchess Motion, and Motion to Dismiss. During the pretrial stage, the DUI defense attorney will also have an opportunity to evaluate the case and negotiate with the prosecutor. A skilled DUI lawyer in San Diego will either recommend her client enter into the negotiated plea bargain agreement, or proceed on and take the matter to jury trial. Call Attorney Parker, the DUI Professor, today for a free case evaluation!

Attorney Parker represents those arrested for DUI in the following areas Newport Beach, Los Angeles, Orange County, Riverside, San Diego County and all Southern California cities. To find out more regarding legal resources that are available to you, get in touch by visiting our Contact Us page and fill out our form.