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Jurors Are Known to Be More Conservative in San Mateo County


The Judges in San Matteo County Are Known to Preside over Fair Trials; Some of the Judges Are Former Defense Attorneys

In talking about San Mateo County and how it’s different, jurors seem to be very conservative in San Mateo County, which makes jury trial tougher. There are a number of good judges in San Mateo County and they will give you a fair trial. A lot of them have been around for quite some time.

There are a good handful of newer judges, some of who are ex-defense attorneys, which we don’t see often enough. The way a case works in San Mateo County is you have your arraignment followed by your pre-trial conference and after that, you would have your trial.

The San Matteo District Attorney’s Office Is Open to Reducing the Charge but Prefers to Offer a Wet Reckless Instead of the Lower Level Dry Reckless Charge

San Mateo County has a line they use in dealing with DUI cases. The way it’s been for years is that if your BAC is a .10 or lower, you’ve got a chance of getting charges reduced to a wet reckless. They do not like to give out dry reckless. But I have been able to obtain them for my clients in the past.

As an example, I’ve gotten them when driving is an issue or in a refusal case. The charge reduction is possible if the police don’t have a result or they administered a questionable field sobriety test. They might be more likely to give us a dry reckless, but they fight tooth and nail to avoid giving us a dry reckless.

Usually the best offer we get from the DA’s office is a wet reckless. Sometimes I can get them when they are above a .10. It just depends on the facts of the case, a really good field sobriety test and preliminary tests over a .10 or .11, and any driving issues. Those are all factors that are taken into account.

Sometimes we need to push a case to trial. We’ll let them know that we’re serious. A lot of lawyers will not do that. We will and we’ve had success doing that in the past, but I’m not saying that’s necessarily going to work 100% of the time.
Penalties for Misdemeanor DUI Convictions in San Matteo County

Other areas to talk about with the misdemeanor DUIs in Redwood City, in San Mateo County, are what kind of a penalty you’re looking at if you were to get convicted? The fine for a DUI is over $2000 once they say added up all the penalties and assessments. The fine for wet wreckless is not much less. I want to say it’s around $1500 to $1600 now, so there’s a $500 to $600 difference. Almost always, on a DUI where your blood alcohol level is under a .15 the sentence includes two days on the sheriffs work program.

The Penalties Include Fines, a 2 or 4 Day Sheriff’s Work Program, Probation and Alcohol Education Classes 

If the BAC is above a .20, they’re usually looking for four days on the sheriffs work program. If you did time in jail prior to trial, you may get credit for that time in jail. If, after your arrest, you went to First Chance, which is a holding facility, not jail, where they keep you for many hours, you will not receive any custody credit for that.

For a DUI conviction, you’d be required to attend a DUI school, either a three month or a nine month program if that’s what’s negotiated. Like in any other county, there’s a zero tolerance requirement. This means no alcohol in your system at all while you’re driving for a period of probation. Typically in San Mateo County, they’re looking for a three-year probation period to be imposed for a first-offense DUI.

By Aaron Bortel

Aaron Bortel

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