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How Long Does It Take For The First Court Appearance After A DUI Arrest?


Your first court appearance depends on which county you’re in. In San Francisco, it may happen within two to three weeks. In other counties, it can take two or more months, but typically, it’s within a month. Also, there may be different lengths of time between the arrest date and arraignment or first court appearance date, depending on the arresting agency in that county. The CHP may have you in there quicker than the sheriff’s or police department.

Is Someone Ever Required To Have An Ignition Interlock Device Prior To A First Court Date?

No one can mandate in California, before you go to court, that one of these devices be installed in your vehicle. It can happen at the first court date and if you’re in custody, but usually it’s on a multiple offense or an accident injury case. The judge can say that it’s a condition for being released on your own recognizance (OR); or if you make bail and you’re going to drive, you either have to have an alcohol monitoring bracelet on your ankle or an interlock device on your vehicle. But that’s the only way that that could happen early in a case.

In California, usually only for multiple offenders, sometimes an interlock device is required. Perhaps a client blew a 0.30, and part of the deal negotiated with the DA was one year of an interlock device in the vehicle. This is rare, though, and is generally not required on most alcohol cases with really high blood alcohol levels. In some counties, like Napa County in the San Francisco Bay area, if someone is close to or at a 0.20, a year of an interlock device is required. This is something that can often be negotiated, but with some DAs, they look at the client as someone who poses a danger to the community.

Having that much alcohol in your system, when you are driving, no matter your tolerance level, is dangerous. So it’s understandable this device is a requirement, but there are other ways to address these cases. An interlock device will prevent someone from legally driving their car without blowing into a device. However, it does not necessarily stop someone from driving other cars even though they’re not allowed to when they’re required to have an interlock. There are four satellite counties in California, and these are Los Angeles, Tulare, Sacramento and Alameda, which require interlock devices if you’re convicted of one or more DUIs in those counties. But this is only after a conviction. The law will be changing in the near future where interlocks will be required for everyone who gets a DUI, and in California, that day is probably near.

The rules and regulations are only going to get stricter when it comes to a DUI conviction. For example, the blood alcohol level used to be 0.15; then it went down to 0.10, and now it’s 0.08. Currently, there’s talk about lowering it to a point 0.05, which is where the conversation is now.

Is There Any Pre-Trial Probation Involved In A DUI Case In California?

Typically, the answer is no, unless you go into court for an arraignment, and it’s under 30 days in that case. Probation may be required, which could mean going in and getting tested to make sure there is no alcohol in your system or you’re not drinking. A county that does this is San Mateo. If someone has multiple offenses or has an extremely high blood alcohol level, they may have to go in and deal with the probation department, checking in usually once a week and sometimes being tested for alcohol.

Sometimes people have to attend AA meetings in some counties after their arraignment. But it’s typically not required that you have to do anything before your first court date. That’s something that needs to be discussed with your lawyer, and that’s something that an experienced DUI lawyer can help you decide. It might be a situation where you’re going to get into a residential treatment program; if it’s your third offense within 10 years, it may be some very good advice to start looking for one to get into as soon as possible.

Sometimes you might request an ankle monitor to show the court that you’re not drinking. If you’re attending AA meetings consistently, having your attorney bring in written proof of attendance at the first court appearance and subsequent appearances shows a good faith effort by you. But then, there are many cases where that is not necessary so again, chat with the lawyer who is defending you on your DUI.

For more information on First Court Appearance For A DUI, 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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