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Practices > Riverside and Orange County DUI Lawyers > The DUI Process

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Being pulled over or contacted by a police officer or sheriff’s deputy and put through a DUI investigation can be very scary, especially if it is your first offense. At WILL & WILL, LLP, our knowledgeable and experienced attorneys are available to explain the process you are about to go through, and answer any questions you may have. Below is a little information to get you started on understanding what will happen to your license, as well as what will happen in the courts with regard to your criminal record.

Your Driver’s License

Once a person has been stopped and/or contacted by a law enforcement agency, put through a DUI investigation, and is subsequently placed under arrest for DUI, their driver’s license is usually taken away (except in a few specific cases) and a pink slip entitled "Suspension Order and Temporary License" allowing him/her to drive for 30 days is provided. Something many people miss on this piece of paper is the fact that in addition to being your temporary driver’s license, it also serves as a notice that unless an APS (Administrative Per Se) hearing is scheduled on your behalf within ten (10) days, your license will automatically be suspended.

The purpose of scheduling an APS hearing through the DMV is to put them on notice that you (or your lawyer) intends to dispute the allegation that you were driving while under the influence, and attempt to fully reinstate your license. There is a limited time within which the APS hearing must be scheduled. You (or your lawyer) have ten (10) days to contact the DMV’s local driver’s safety office and request a hearing. Once the hearing is requested, the license suspension is automatically postponed pending the outcome of the hearing. You will receive a notice in the mail letting you know how long your temporary driving privileges will be extended. You have a right to elect either an in-person or telephonic hearing. Our attorneys at WILL & WILL, LLP always schedule live hearings for our clients.

At the hearing, there are three issues in dispute. They are:

  1. Did you violate a section of the California Vehicle Code or was there some other probable cause for an officer to contact you?
  2. Did the officer observe enough objective symptoms of being under the influence of an alcoholic beverage to effectuate a lawful arrest?
  3. Was your BAC at the time of driving .08 or greater?
The attorneys at WILL & WILL, LLP scrutinize everything the arresting officer put in his/her report in order to argue as many defenses as possible in your case. Our attorneys are looking for arguments to prove that at least one, if not all three, of the above issues did not occur. The DMV hearing officer needs to find that each of the above three issues was true in your case in order to uphold the suspension. If we are successful in disputing any of the three issues, your license will be fully reinstated.

Your Criminal Record and the Court Process

The date you were given to appear in court is your arraignment date. You will find this date either at or near the bottom of the citation that was given to you, or, if you signed a promise to appear form, it will be noted somewhere within that document. At the arraignment, your WILL & WILL, LLP defense attorney will (1) enter a plea of "not guilty" on your behalf; (2) receive the initial discovery packet which normally consists of a police report, any breath/blood test results report, and a copy of your driving record; and he/she will (3) set a pre-trial date to discuss/negotiate your case with the District Attorney’s office (this normally occurs 2-4 weeks later). Generally, if you have been charged with misdemeanor DUI and have retained WILL & WILL, LLP to represent you, you do not need to appear in court at the arraignment, or any of the pretrial proceedings. Your WILL & WILL, LLP attorney can appear on your behalf. If, however, you have been charged with felony DUI, the courts require you to be present at each and every court hearing, including the arraignment.

Once our lawyers have received a copy of discovery, we review everything provided to us to determine what the best defense is in each individual case. If further discovery exists, then we request a copy of it from the D.A. Some examples of additional discovery may be:
  • A recording of the incident captured on audio/video
  • Photos, if associated with another crime, such as a hit & run
  • Maintenance & calibration records if a breath machine was involved
Furthermore, your attorney may decide that further investigation needs to be done, depending on the circumstances surrounding your case. For example, if a hit & run was charged along with the DUI, there were likely witnesses to the hit & run, who reported it. We may want to have our investigator re-interview that witness. We also might want to have an accident reconstructionist review the discovery. Or, if your attorney feels that a blood result might be improper based on your drinking pattern or medications you were on, etc… we might want to have an independent criminologist re-test the blood that was drawn from you.

There may be several pre-trials before the DUI case against you is resolved or brought to trial. The process can take anywhere from two months to several months. It is during this period that your DUI attorney will work on building a defense for negotiation purposes, or a case for trial. In a misdemeanor DUI case, if a plea agreement is reached, we can either (1) bring you to court to enter the plea, or (2) have you sign the relevant documents in our office, have the documents notarized, and bring the documents to court to enter a plea on your behalf.

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