Riverside DUI Court Process
Let a Riverside DUI Lawyer Fight for You
If you have been arrested for Vehicle Code Section 23152 (a) or Vehicle
Code Section 23152(b), commonly referred to as a
DUI, you most likely have questions regarding the Court Process. Here is an
outline of what to expect as your case progresses.
Riverside DUI Attorney Guiding You Through the Court Process
The Process Is As Follows:
Arraignment When you appear in court for the first time after your arrest for DUI,
the charges against you will be read and you will answer to them not guilty,
guilty, or no-contest. The prosecuting attorney or judge will discuss
whether bail should be required and how much. Both the District Attorney
and your Riverside DUI attorney may file other motions at this time. In
most misdemeanor DUI cases, you do not have to attend the arraignment,
as your attorney can appear on your behalf. Your attorney can enter a
plea of not guilty on your behalf or continue the arraignment depending
upon the particular circumstances involved in the case.
Pretrial A pretrial hearing may also be set during the arraignment in a misdemeanor
DUI case. The attorneys will discuss the case during the pretrial hearing,
and may attempt to reach a settlement at that time. Further pretrial dates
may be necessary. In most misdemeanor DUI cases, your attorney can appear
on your behalf and you will not be burdened with the time and possible
embarrassment of having to appear in court. If the case is not settled
or dismissed, a date is set to begin the trial.
Preliminary Hearing A preliminary hearing may be set during the arraignment for a felony case.
Most drunk-driving offenses are misdemeanors, though if it is your fourth
or subsequent DUI it may be charged as a felony. In addition, if you are
charged with a DUI with Injury under VC 23153, or if you had children
in the vehicle, referred to as Child Endangerment, you may face prosecution
for a felony. At this hearing, the attorneys present basic evidence and
the judge decides whether to allow the case to proceed. The defense has
the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses, which can help determine whether
the prosecution has a case against you.
If the judge decides there is enough evidence against you to proceed with
the felony charges, you will be "held to answer" and a second
arraignment will be set in the trial court about two weeks later where
you will again enter your plea.
DUI Trial There are specific time limits in which a case must be brought to trial.
In misdemeanor cases, you have a right to go to trial within 30 days of
your arraignment if you were in custody at that time, or 45 days if you
were not in custody at your arraignment. In felony cases, you have the
right to go to trial within 60 days of the second arraignment. Often the
case requires additional investigation and research before going to trial.
The attorneys may ask for a "continuance" and your case may
not go to trial for several months.
The trial itself can take anywhere from days to weeks to conclude, depending
on the complexity of the case, the number of witnesses and DUI experts
the attorneys or lawyers call to the stand.
Sentencing Once the jury has entered a verdict against you, the sentencing phase
of the trial begins. Your attorney may present evidence in your favor
and argue for minimum or alternative sentencing. You could go to jail
for up to one year for a misdemeanor charge, or more than one year for
a felony, and you could also receive probation instead of, or in addition
to, jail time.
Alternative Sentencing In many cases, several alternatives to jail or prison are available for
defendants who are convicted of DUI or are about to accept a plea bargain
agreement. Unfortunately, inexperienced attorneys are often unaware of
most alternative sentencing options. The team at the Law Offices of Scott
Henry has successfully obtained alternative sentences for clients, avoiding
jail in many cases. Alternative sentencing options include:
- Community service
- An alcohol program or drug rehab program
- City jail or private jail
- Counseling programs
- House arrest, also known as electronic monitoring
- Residential treatment
- Sober living programs
- Work furlough
Probation In misdemeanor cases, probation consists of either summary or supervised
probation. Under summary probation, you do not have a probation officer
or anyone to report to, though you must obey all the terms of your probation.
Any new misdemeanor or felony charge in any county or state will be considered
a violation of your current probation, which could then result in jail
time in addition to the charges that may be entered against you on the new case.
In supervised probation, you are assigned to a probation officer to whom
you must report on a regular basis. Depending on the charges, the probation
officer may require drug testing, anger management classes, or drug rehabilitation
classes. Probation can last from 12 to 60 months. The same consequences
as above apply in cases of subsequent violations.
Appeals You always have the right to appeal a verdict or ruling, although you
may have to start the entire trial process all over again, or even obtain
new counsel who focuses on appeals.
Expungements Upon completion of probation, you may be eligible for an expungement. An
expungement is somewhat of a misnomer in that it is not a true record
clearance. An expungement is a motion run through the court that replaces
a guilty or no contest plea or guilty verdict with not guilty. Having
your record expunged can prove extremely beneficial especially when applying
for private sector positions. Contact the Law Offices of Scott Henry today
for a free consultation in expunging your record.
Contact a Southern California DUI Defense Firm Today
Contact a Riverside DUI lawyer
for experienced legal counsel and skilled representation throughout the
process of fighting the charges you face.