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Marin County Is a Smaller Northern California County and Is Known to Have a Conservative District Attorney’s Office


Interviewer: Give us an overview about Marin County and how does that differ from San Francisco County or other counties?

Aaron: Marin County is a much smaller county than San Francisco. It’s about of a third of the size population-wise. Marin County has for years been considered a very liberal county. Yet when it comes to DUIs, the DAs office is extremely conservative, as most DAs offices in San Francisco area are.

There Are a Number of Small Towns within Marin County and Each Approach the DUI Process Differently

Marin County is a place where there are many different small towns that all have their own police departments so that a number of them do things differently. We can talk about some of the differences between the smaller towns and CHP when it comes to arrests for DUI.

The California Highway Patrol Handles Most of the DUI Arrests in Marin County; the Majority of Arrests Are at Night

But in regards to Marin County and how they move forward when someone has been arrested for a DUI, I think the best approach in looking at this is to look at what happens when someone is arrested first for a DUI in Marin County. Most of the arrests would be done by the California Highway Patrol or CHP.

Most of the arrests happen on Highway 101, which is the only major highway that goes through Marin County. The goes from the Golden Gate Bridge all the way up to Novato. There are some other towns or cities that are further away from Highway 101. Most of CHP’s arrests, like in most counties, are done at night, after people have left the restaurants and the bars heading home or heading through Marin to some location. Many people are coming back from the wine country in Sonoma and they do get arrested for DUIs going through Marin County.

The CHP will typically pull someone over and take them to the Marin County jail which is at the Marin County civic center in San Rafael. It’s part of the Frank Lloyd Wright building. It’s a place where a lot of people don’t know where it is because they just don’t see it. It doesn’t stand out like the jails in other places.

They’ll bring them in and usually have them do a test on a breath machine or a blood test. They’re given a court date, that person arrested is given a court date within the next month or so. Either person arrested or the attorney they hire needs to show up for that court date and enter what I would hope would be a plea of not guilty so that they can start fighting the case.

After a DUI Arrest in Marin County, the San Francisco DMV Is Notified

Marin County is also under the jurisdiction, for DMV purposes, of the San Francisco DMV, which is the Driver Safety Headquarters in California. The DMV or Department of Motor Vehicles needs to be contacted within 10 days of arrested for a DUI arrest in Marin County.

Aaron Bortel

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Drivers or Their Attorneys Must Contact DMV within 10 Days of an Arrest to Request a Hearing

A hearing will be set and the driver must contact the DMV within 10 days of the arrest. That stays a suspension on the driver’s license and the license will stay valid until there’s been a final resolution with DMV or a court case results in suspension.

When you’re arrested for a DUI, you or your attorney is required to contact DMV to request that hearing. It’s in fine print on a form that the police are supposed to give you called the APS Suspension Order. Most people don’t read it very carefully. Those who do or who are lucky enough to contact a lawyer within the 10 days are informed that they only have 10 days to request this hearing. Once they do, a hearing is set and that allows your attorney a chance to save the license.

As Elsewhere in California, the Marin County DMV Hearings Must Establish the Officer Had Probable Cause to Initiate the DUI Investigation

The issues for Marin County DMV hearings are the same as any other issues in California for that DMV hearing. They include: did the officer have probable cause to pull someone over and initiate a DUI investigation, was there a proper lawful arrest, and was the person at or over a .08 blood alcohol level at the time of driving.

At the Hearings, It Is Likely That the DMV Will Find in Favor of the Arresting Officer and Issue a License Suspension

If the DMV can prove via burden, which is more likely than not, they only have to prove 51%, If they can meet that burden on all 3 issues, then your license will go on suspension for either 4 months and no driving or 1 month and no driving followed by 5 months of restricted driving.

By Aaron Bortel

Aaron Bortel

Get your questions answered - Call Us 24/7 For a FREE Case Evaluation (415) 523-7878.

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