The DUI Process in San Francisco California
While the circumstances surrounding a DUI arrest are different in every case, the process in San Francisco is very standardized. After you are arrested you were taken to the Police or Sheriff’s station and booked. Your driver’s license was likely taken from you and you were given a document called a “DMV Suspension Advisement and Temporary License”. This document provides:
• Information about the consequences of the offense
• Information about your rights
• Information about how to challenge losing your license by requesting an Administrative Per Se (APS) hearing
If you were a first time offender you were released from custody and were either advised of your arraignment date or told the date would be sent to you via mail. If you had a previous criminal conviction or were on probation you may have been forced to stay in jail until your arraignment which your San Francisco DUI attorneys can assist you with.
California DUI Law Explained
Arraignment is the first court appearance in your DUI case whether you are facing a felony or misdemeanor charge. At this time the charge or charges of the complaint will be read to you and into the court record. The charges may be different than the initial reason for your arrest because they are based on what the district attorney (prosecutor) thinks he or she can prove in the case against you.
One misconception that many people have about this initial process is that they think it might be a good idea to plead “guilty” at this point, relying on gaining the favor of the judge. Judges are guided by the law and many of them have sat through hundreds of DUI cases if not more, so trying to curry their favor by pleading “guilty” is generally not a good idea.
During your arraignment and at any other hearings in your case you will be given the opportunity to enter or change your plea. Initially you can choose to plead “guilty” or “not guilty”. A “guilty” plea means you are not contesting the charges and sentencing will occur. A “not guilty” plea means you are contesting the charges against you and the case will move forward.
Discovery is the formal legal term used to describe the collection and disclosure of evidence in a case. During your arraignment or shortly thereafter the details and evidence the prosecution has on your case will be disclosed. This can include lab and police reports, witness statements and any other related material.
Your experienced San Francisco DUI attorney can help you understand what is being disclosed in the discovery process and how to use the information.
If you were held in jail after your arrest, your bail will be set by the judge at your arraignment. Your San Francisco DUI attorney can advise you of any conditions of bail and help you through the bail process.
If you have previously been convicted of another crime and are on probation at the time of your arrest, the DUI charge may be a violation of your probation and may result in jail time. Consulting with your San Francisco DUI attorney about any possible probation violations will help you anticipate the next steps in the criminal proceedings and minimize the impact this case has on your life. (visit our DUI blog for more information)
We recommend that you are represented by attorneys with the experience and knowledge of handling DUI cases at every point in the process. They can provide you with all the pertinent information so you can make the best decision possible. Let our San Francisco DUI attorneys guide you through this difficult time.