How Does The Court Process Work For A DUI In Marin County?
Two issues need to be addressed when you receive a DUI in Marin County. We deal with two different forms. One is the Department of Motor Vehicles, and ten days from the date of arrest to request a hearing with the DMV, and retain an experienced attorney before those ten days are up. You need that attorney to request a hearing for you. There are many reasons why you want that attorney to request a hearing for you, but I will go into those later. The question is more of what to expect from the court case in Marin County. That is the DMV process, and what the DMV is trying to do, is take your license for a period of time, which we, as experienced DUI lawyers, are trying to help you avoid.
In regards to the court case, anyone who is arrested for a DUI in Marin County will have a court date set within three to four weeks of the date of that arrest. It can vary depending on the arresting agency. Therefore, the first court appearance will be to go in, and enter a plea of not guilty, so the attorney can start fighting for your case. In every misdemeanor case, the person arrested for the DUI is not required to be in court, as long as they have a lawyer who is representing them at the first court appearance, which is called an arraignment. There usually is not a judge in the courtroom for this arraignment. However, there is video and a clerk of the court from the DA’s office. The attorneys will fill out the forms, then have your court date set, which is required within thirty days, and get discovery and the police reports from the representative at the DA’s office.
Then we will work on the case using any additional reports, video, audio, breath machine, and blood records if available. There are different things that we will request in fighting these cases to determine what our defenses are, and to see if we have any motions to suppress evidence. Most attorneys will go back to court a number of times. Some attorneys like to have their clients there every time, some do not, it is not required, it is up to the individual attorney, and the client, who is always welcome to be there. I have some clients that want to be there every time, most prefer not to be. They would rather be with their families, working, or whatever they need to be doing instead of coming to court, and feeling the stress. Some cases can go last for months, but that first court date represents a starting point where a plea of not guilty is entered.
The attorney identifies with the court and the DA’s office that they are representing you as a client to get everything started. Typically, the judge is not going to have much to do on a first offense DUI with a misdemeanor on the outcome of the case, unless there is a motion or a trial way down the road. However, if you do come to court, what you want to do is dress accordingly.
Some judges in Britain County do appreciate people who come to court dressed nicely. I have heard judges’ comment on, you know, nice tie or that kind of thing, “Thank you for dressing up for court”. Anyway, procedurally, as the case goes on, what the attorney will do is negotiate with the DA. There is something called an Expeditor. This is where your attorney will talk to this person, and try to find a way to get the charges dismissed, or if possible, have them reduced.
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