What happens when you get a DUI in San Diego?

So you get arrested for a DUI and you have some questions about what happens next, and what happens in the criminal justice system. Well, let’s talk about that.

If you get arrested for a misdemeanor DUI you will be given a first court date, and that court date is what’s called the “arraignment.” At the arraignment. You’ll have an opportunity to plead guilty or not guilty.

And typically for my clients I advise them to plead not guilty because at that time I don’t have any of your police reports, any of the witness statements, dash cams, or body worn camera footage. I don’t have any of the discovery to be able to properly advise you whether to plead guilty or not guilty at that time.

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So at the arraignment, you should expect to plead not guilty and then you’ll be provided a next court date. At the next court date, it’s what’s called a “readiness conference” or a “pre trial conference.”

For my clients, sometimes I go to court just one time. Sometimes, however, we end up going to court two or three times during this process of what’s called the readiness conference because at that time, that’s an opportunity for the prosecutor to provide to us your discovery, meaning the police reports, any kind of lab packets, and any other type of information that can help us evaluate your case.

Sometimes it also ends up dragging on because it also depends upon the extent of the negotiations. Sometimes it takes a little bit of time to be able to figure out the defenses in your case and also to be able to negotiate with the prosecutor as to how this case should potentially resolve.

So if you’re facing a misdemeanor DUI, don’t necessarily think that it’s going to end after one court appearance.

Sometimes it will take time because of the process of negotiations and the process of evaluating your case.

Another reason why the readiness conference process is so important is because it’s during this time that your attorney, whether it’s my firm or another firm, will be able to advise you as to whether there’s any applicable motions. For instance, if you’d like to challenge the reasoning for the arrest, the reasoning for the stop, or if you’d like to retest your blood sample if you submitted to a blood test.

There are sometimes motions that could apply to your case, and that’s why it’s so important to make sure that you go through that process. By doing this, your attorney can go through all of the evidence and be able to advise you as to what the best options are.

After your attorney has been able to go through your case and really conduct a thorough evaluation, then we’ll be able to sit down and discuss what the best options for you are. Is this the type of case where you’d like for it to resolve? Meaning you’d like to negotiate and try to see if we can get the best plea bargain or negotiate a disposition for you. And this means a guaranteed disposition that you know what you’re signing up for.

Or, based upon your evidence, we have to see if there is a possibility where we could take it to trial, meaning that you would have a jury of 12 decide whether you’re guilty or not guilty and if you wanted to fight it during a trial.

So these are all options that happen when you’re going through the process in court when you’re facing a misdemeanor DUI.

So if you’ve been arrested for a misdemeanor DUI and you’d like to discuss the potential options that you have, please make sure to give us a call and we’d be happy to discuss your case during a legal consultation.