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How Do I Know When The Pre-Trial Conference Will Take Place?


Your attorney will tell you when your pre-trial conference is set; and if your attorney does not tell you or you’re wondering what’s going on with your case, you should call your attorney. Every attorney should be getting back to their clients and letting them know when the next court date is if they haven’t told them already; generally, attorneys will email, text or call their clients to give them the next court date. Sometimes attorneys get very busy and may not do it for a little while so you, as a client, should feel more than welcome to call, text or email your attorney to find out when it is because all they have to do is look at their calendars.

What Are The Real Purposes From The Defense Side Of A Pre-Trial Conference?

For a pre-trial conference, the defense gathers evidence, talks to the DA and lets the court know where things are in negotiations. The defense’s end game is to get the DA’s office to dismiss the case; this can be done by showing them problems with the case that they have, including reasonable doubt. Depending on the facts of the case, you might have a good case to argue and negotiate; then again, you may not. Sometimes, we’re just trying to get rid of some additional allegations; it depends on the case. The pre-trial conference is an opportunity for the attorneys to talk to each other in court and discuss the case.

In many counties, a lot more is accomplished behind the scenes with phone calls, emails or in-person meetings, so they’re not actually in court because a lot of times, in court, there is a lot going on, and the prosecutor that you’re trying to deal with may be running a calendar and unable to talk to you about any details of the case. So a lot of times, the work that’s done, the offers that are made, the reductions, the negotiations and the dismissals, are worked out outside of court before the pre-trial conference or between pre-trial conferences because there may be multiple pre-trial conferences.

Are All Of The Police Reports And Discovery Ready At The Pre-Trial Conference?

Not all of the evidence may be ready at the pre-trial conference, and that’s why there may be multiple pre-trial conferences. For example, I was in court in a county where I had done the arraignment, had the initial police report and was on for a pre-trial conference and still needed discovery. I let the DA know in writing that I needed two additional things, and between then and the next pre-trial conference, hopefully I would have everything; but if I didn’t, then I would let them know before that date or at that time, and we’ll sit in one more pre-trial conference until I have everything I need to fully defend my client.

What Is The Difference Between A Zero Tolerance DUI And An Underage DUI?

An underage DUI would be under 21 or under 18. If you’re under 18, there is zero tolerance. If you are under 21, there is also a zero tolerance, and then there is a 0.05, which is Vehicle Code Section 23140. The zero tolerance is Vehicle Code Section 23136. So there are different penalties, but infractions are the under 0.05 and 0.01 or higher. It just depends on your age and the case, but bottom line: those types of convictions are not “prior-able,” meaning there won’t be increased penalties for a second offense within 10 years. However, it still goes on your criminal record, and it will also show up for DMV purposes where that can really hurt you. For example, if you get suspended, and you typically do for these types of cases through the DMV, it’s usually a one year suspension.

If you get another DUI later on, already having a one year suspension, this means that you’re not just dealing with a short suspension from the DMV. The rules are different and what they have to prove is different with, say, a 0.05 or a zero tolerance. In fact, in a zero tolerance situation, they will use the evidential breath machines that are required in a normal 0.08 or higher or impairment case when somebody has been arrested. You blow into a preliminary alcohol breathalyzer machine; and if you’re over 0.01, you’re usually going to get arrested for zero tolerance. There are infractions, though, and again, they are not prior-able as DUIs in the criminal court. So someone may breach one of those limits, and we’ll try and negotiate it down to the infraction charge.

Can Drivers Under 21 Years Of Age Be Charged With An Adult DUI?

Absolutely. If you’re 18 or over, this happens all the time. If someone is at 0.08 or higher and is an adult, they are charged with the DUI. There is no question there. About 75% of the DUIs are for drivers age 21 to 41. However, a lot of the binge drinking does happen with people from age 18 to 21; that’s the college age. So we see a lot of very high alcohol levels at that age. Those are treated as regular DUIs.

For more information on Time Of The Pre-Trial Conference, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (415) 523-7878 today.

Aaron Bortel

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