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How Is a DUI DMV Hearing Different from a DUI Court Proceeding in California?

Posted on in DUI

Sonoma DUI defense attorneyThere are many facts about the California DUI process that distinguish it from other states; relative to some of those states, California’s legal proceedings are slightly different. In California, there are two legal proceedings when dealing with the aftermath of a driving under the influence (DUI) charge. They are the administrative hearing at the DMV and the actual criminal court proceeding. It is worth knowing how these two are different so that you know what to expect at every step in the process. The following is a brief summary of these two legal proceedings.

The DMV Hearing vs. the Court Proceeding for a DUI in California

These two legal proceedings are very different, and their differences take root in their ultimate goals for the alleged offender. The DMV Administrative Hearing is just that—administrative. This means it is strictly meant to handle the administration of your driver’s license (i.e., whether you will have your driver’s license suspended).If you do not request a DMV Administrative Hearing within 10 days, you will be given an automatic driver’s license suspension after 30 days.If you choose to go through with the hearing, you could choose to represent or yourself or you could hire an attorney to represent you. Note that the DMV never appoints a public defender for administrative hearings.

As for the criminal court proceeding itself, this is a lot more complicated and complex as a process. It could involve up to four or more separate courtroom appearances, including:

  1. Arraignment—This is the when the prosecution formally lodges its complaint against you as an alleged criminal offender. At this time, you and your lawyer must plea one of three pleas: guilty, not guilty, or no contest.
  2. Pre-trial settlement hearing—During this courtroom appearance, your lawyer would have reviewed all the details concerning your case, including the prosecution’s admissions in discovery and other evidence, and be in an informed position to begin negotiations about your case with the prosecution. The two sides will attempt to come to an agreement about the DUI charges and settle on something without getting a jury involved or, if they are in a stalemate, the case will move forward further.
  3. Secondary settlement hearing—If the negotiations in the first pre-trial conference settlement hearing did not result in an agreement, including agreeing to head to trial, the two sides might meet again in court in a similar fashion to discuss things further. Sometimes there might even be a separate hearing to discuss suppression of evidence due to possible violations of your rights.
  4. Jury trial—Finally, if no settlement agreement is reached, the case will go to a jury trial where you as the alleged offender/defendant will be judged by a jury of your peers in order to determine whether you will be convicted of DUI.

These are the basics of the California DUI court system. For repeat offenders and other convicted criminals committing DUI offenses, there is also the DUI/DWI court. Similar to drug courts, DWI/DUI courts are specifically designed with an eye on rehabilitation as opposed to punishment, providing individualized treatments, supervision, and collaboration to help reduce recidivism and get the defendants back to being productive in the world outside of prison. Keep in mind that only certain offenders qualify for this customized court system option.

Contact a San Francisco DUI Defense Attorney

The state of California has a rigorous and strict court system for DUIs; of course, this also means that the penalties for DUI in the state are also quite steep. As such, you might want to prepare yourself by studying up on the process. Better yet, call a highly skilled Sonoma criminal defense lawyer to answer all your questions about the DUI court process in California. Contact Burglin Law Offices, P.C. at 415-729-7300 for a free consultation to help you with your case.

 

Sources:

https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/driver-education-and-safety/dmv-safety-guidelines-actions/driving-under-the-influence/

https://www.courts.ca.gov/5980.htm

https://www.nhtsa.gov/DOT/NHTSA/Traffic%20Injury%20Control/Articles/Associated%20Files/811074.pdf

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