At the beginning of 2022, the law regarding DUI diversion changed. DUIs are no longer eligible for diversion in California. Please contact our office with any questions. Email us at OR Call us at: (415) 523-7878

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Defending Against DUI Charges In SF County

Defending Against DUI Charges In SF County Lawyer, San Francisco CityThe following article will cover:

  • What to say in court for a DUI in San Francisco County.
  • How to avoid jail time for a DUI in San Francisco County.
  • What consequences you might face and what your options are after a DUI conviction.
What Should I Say In Court For A DUI In San Francisco County?

Ideally, you would say nothing at all. When you’re faced with a DUI charge in San Francisco County or any part of the San Francisco Bay area, it’s best to engage a lawyer who can speak on your behalf in court. In many DUI cases, the attorney can represent you at every stage of the process, eliminating the need for you to appear in court.

On the rare occasion that your presence is required, your lawyer will prepare you for the interaction with the judge. The objective of any competent lawyer is to keep their clients out of court if possible, while keeping them informed about the proceedings.

This question often arises after one has been charged with a DUI, when they’re unsure about what to say in court. Some may consider pleading for mercy, offering profuse apologies, or remaining silent. However, these decisions are best made in consultation with your lawyer, who can guide you through the court proceedings and ensure that everything is taken care of professionally.

Typically, at the first court appearance, the lawyer pleads not guilty on your behalf and waives the constitutional right to a speedy trial. This is because, in most DUI cases, the defendant isn’t in custody, and the time between court appearances is used to gather evidence to strengthen the defense.

The lawyer communicates with the prosecutor’s office, ensuring they have our contact information. All case-related communication will then be directed to us. As your attorneys, we will request various records such as complaint records, breath and blood test records, machine records, and video evidence to support your defense.

If it is impossible to have your case dismissed, we will use our investigation to negotiate the best possible outcome for you. In the event a satisfactory deal cannot be reached, you have the option to go to a jury trial, a right accorded to every Californian charged with a misdemeanor DUI. In most instances, defendants don’t testify at the trial, but if it’s necessary, a competent lawyer will prepare you thoroughly.

To answer the original question, it is advisable to let your attorney do all the talking in court. If you are ever contacted by a law enforcement officer or prosecution investigator for additional information after your arrest, direct them to your lawyer. You should never discuss your case with anyone other than your lawyer after being arrested for a DUI.

Will I Get Jail Time For A DUI In San Francisco County?

For first, second, or even third DUI offenses in San Francisco County, we can usually prevent our clients from serving jail time. Particularly with first-time DUI offenses, it is highly unusual for clients to be sentenced to jail time. At worst, offenders may have to participate in the sheriff’s work program or undertake volunteer work. Experienced attorneys who specialize in DUI cases know how to achieve these outcomes.

If an individual does end up serving jail time after a first DUI, it typically suggests either poor legal representation or the presence of aggravating factors such as injuries, accidents, or fatalities. Severe injuries resulting in a felony DUI charge may lead to jail time. However, with a misdemeanor DUI, you should not expect to serve jail time unless you decide to go to trial, testify, and are found to be dishonest on the witness stand by the judge.

The maximum sentence for a first misdemeanor DUI is six months in jail, with the actual term served usually being half of that at most. Even in cases where the judge believes a defendant committed perjury, jail time is usually limited to a week or two at most.

If you’ve recently been arrested for a first, second, or even third DUI, you’re likely not to face jail time if represented by a competent lawyer. Alternative services are available even for more severe cases. These may include the sheriff’s work program, electronic monitoring, residential treatment, and others.

In most cases, if you are convicted, you will have to attend a DUI school, serve probation typically for three years, pay a fine, and endure a license suspension, which can be managed with a restricted license as long as it wasn’t a refusal case.

There are many considerations in these cases, but based on over 30 years of experience and thousands of cases handled, many of which were in San Francisco County and other counties in the San Francisco Bay area, I can confidently assert that jail time is usually not a consequence. If you’ve been arrested for a DUI, don’t worry about returning to jail upon conviction. Your first and best step is to find a skilled lawyer to represent your DUI case.

For more information on Defending Against DUI Charges In SF County, 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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