Court Process

Initial DUI Charges

The Law Offices of David M. Boertje will determine what crime or crimes you are accused of committing.

Once a San Diego prosecutor (usually the District Attorney’s Office or the City Attorney’s Office) files a criminal complaint (the legal document that states which laws you violated) against you, the charges may be different than the charges that came with your initial arrest. The complaint marks the beginning of the DUI proceedings against you.

Most San Diego DUI cases result in two criminal charges:

Section 23152(b) of the California Vehicle Code, Driving With a Blood Alcohol Level of .08% or Higher

Section 23152(a) of the California Vehicle Code, Driving Under the Influence

The California Department of Motor Vehicles will also address the issue of license suspension. This will take place during civil proceeding in front of the DMV and is not considered a criminal matter.

Your DUI Arrest

There are two ways that you can be arrested for DUI. There is the on-view arrest and the arrest that occurs after a San Diego DUI motor vehicle accident. If you were arrested after an auto crash, police usually will not have seen you driving under the influence. A San Diego Court can also issue an arrest warrant if you fail to show up in court after you’ve been notified to appear or if you violated the conditions of a probation order.

There are certain legal rules regarding the arrest process. The Law Offices of David M. Boertje will investigate the circumstances surrounding your arrest and determine whether a valid legal arrest took place. If you were not arrested legally, we will determine what legal remedies are available to you.

The specific circumstances and details surrounding your DUI arrest are very important. We will determine whether we can apply any legal defenses that can procedurally or substantially block the prosecution. For example, we may be able to file a motion to suppress evidence and challenge the validity of your arrest. Your case will be dismissed if this motion is granted.

The Judge of Your DUI Case

The judge of your DUI case has a great deal of influence over its outcome. The judge’s job is to decide the questions of law and apply the law fairly.

Most DUI defendants will meet the Judge in court at the arraignment, which usually involves the judge informing the defendant of the DUI charges that the prosecution has formally filed. The Law Offices of David M. Boertje usually waives the option of having you appear at the arraignment. We then move forward with the next phase of the DUI case proceedings: the pre-trial conference date.

At the arraignment, the judge can only accept your plea agreement, set the bail amount, and announce that your case will move forward. The judge will not hear any discussions regarding your defense or the charges. These issues, however, will be addressed during litigation.

The Law Offices of David M. Boertje will also present pretrial motions to the judge. Our San Diego DUI law firm will conduct legal research to decide on the proper motions to file that will best serve your defense case. Motions may include those that can exclude or limit certain evidence. We will find out what evidence the prosecutor will offer against you during your trial.

Counsel will argue these motions and the judge will rule on them. The legal strength or weakness of your DUI case will determine whether the different motions can succeed or fail.

During the pre-trial conference, the judge will meet with the prosecution and our San Diego DUI lawyers to try settling your case. If a settlement agreement cannot be reached, your DUI case will likely go to trial before a San Diego jury. The judge will preside over the courtroom and rule on legal questions. It is the jury’s job to determine the questions of fact.

The Pretrial Procedure

Pretrial proceedings usually relate to the filing of motions that can get the case dismissed or settled with a non-DUI disposition without having a trial. The outcome of the pretrial proceedings is therefore very important. The majority of DUI cases are settled without a jury trial.

There are, however, pretrial motions used by the defense that are not geared toward a case dismissal. The motion for pretrial discovery allows us to make sure that we have access to the evidence that the prosecution has for your case. In the event that there has been a discovery order violation, the court might impose a sanction but probably won’t order that your case be dismissed.

Misdemeanor DUI

Your arraignment is usually the first time you will appear in front of the court. The judge will inform you of the formal charges that are filed against you, and you can let the judge know how you plan to plead. The court will not hear any defenses during the arraignment.

If you do not have a lawyer by the time you are arraigned, you should ask the judge for a continuance so that you can retain the services of a DUI attorney. The judge usually won’t ask you to enter a plea if you don’t have legal counsel and will give you a suitable amount of time to hire a DUI lawyer. Once you retain our legal services, our DUI lawyers will enter your plea of not guilty. The court will then schedule a pretrial conference.

The arraignment proceedings may vary depending on the California county where the DUI charges are filed. In certain counties, the court will announce that there will be a pretrial conference and a jury trial during your arraignment. Courts in other California counties may set the pretrial proceedings first to consider whether disposition and settlement are possible before scheduling a jury trial.

The Law Offices of David M. Boertje will begin pursing discovery after the arraignment to find out what evidence the prosecutor plans on using to prove the DUI charges. We need to know if the prosecution will be able to prove all the elements of the crime. We can also determine whether there are legal claims we can make to prevent the evidence from being used in your case.

After a judge hears and rules upon any pretrial motions, the case is ready to go to trial. In certain cases, our law firm or the court will try to schedule another pretrial conference to give the prosecution and the defense a chance to reexamine their positions and decide whether it is better to resolve the case before going to trial.

Felony DUI

You may be charged with a felony DUI if someone was injured while you were driving under the influence.

In California, a crime that carries a one-year minimum state prison sentence is a felony crime. Certain crimes that are called “wobblers” may be charged as felonies or misdemeanors. If no one was seriously injured, DUI with injury, 23153 (a) and/or (b) allows the prosecution to consider the offense a misdemeanor.

Jury Trial

Without a settlement or plea bargain, a jury trial will proceed. 12 people from the community are selected to serve on the jury. They will hear your case, listen to witness testimonies, and examine all evidence.

Your DUI defense lawyer and the prosecutor will present their opening statements, introduce evidence, call and cross-examine all witnesses, and present closing arguments. The jury will deliberate on the evidence and testimonies until they decide whether you are guilty or not guilty.

All 12 jurors have to unanimously decide that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt for you to be convicted of driving under the influence. A jury is deadlocked if there is no unanimous decision and the judge will have to declare a mistrial. In many instances when there is a hung jury, the judge or the prosecution will usually dismiss the DUI case.

Your Driving Privilege and the California DMV

Your effort to retain your driving privilege is an important issue to address. Many people consider their driving privilege a necessity, and their ability to make a living can be affected without one.

You have just 10 days from the day you are arrested to ask the DMV for a hearing. A stay of the driving license suspension will be granted if you request the hearing before the deadline, and you will retain your full driving privileges while the stay is in effect.

To obtain your DMV hearing to stay your license suspension, you need to provide the following information:

DMV Hearing Request Information
  • Your legal name
  • Your driver’s license
  • The date that you were arrested
  • The location of your arrest
  • The name of the arresting agency
  • Information about whether you agreed to a blood test or breath test

You need to ask for either a telephone or an in-person hearing. You have to request discovery, including BAC test results and police reports. You must ask for a “stay” on your driver’s license. This allows you to keep your full driving privileges until the DMV issues a decision about them during the hearing.

To schedule your free consultation To schedule your free consultation with an experienced San Diego DUI lawyer, contact the Law Offices of David M. Boertje today. You can contact us through our Web site, call us, or send us an e-mail. Our San Diego DUI law firm has offices in Carlsbad and San Diego.