How Do I Apply For DUI Diversion In San Francisco?
For a first-time DUI, the judges in San Francisco have asked attorneys to submit an application showing a number of different criteria that they want to see before granting a DUI diversion. These criteria include details about the case, such as whether the defendant is currently in custody, whether the defendant has prior criminal convictions, how high the defendant’s blood alcohol concentration was, how the defendant performed on the field sobriety tests, whether or not the defendant caused an accident and/or injuries, and whether a witness called 911 or the police were the first to notice something. Essentially, the judges want a sheet of paper that they can put in the file so that in the future, another judge can see what was analyzed and why the judge made the decision they did.
It is important to show the judge that the client has already enrolled in a DUI school, that they are attending AA meetings or self-help classes, and/or undergoing therapy. The judge will also want to know whether the defendant is supporting a spouse, children, and/or elderly parents, and what goals they have. Often, the judge will want a personal statement that addresses these details. A statement of this sort should be submitted at least four days in advance of the court appearance. The earlier it is submitted the better, as this will allow the judge ample time to review the case.
A diversion motion will usually be heard after the first court appearance. The court in San Francisco is only allowing a certain number of pre-trial conferences with diversion motions to be calendared per date, and about five or six weeks out is the soonest that they are calendared. As more and more of these are happening, it’s going to take longer and longer to get them heard.
If someone has a DUI case in San Francisco, they should find the best attorney possible. This attorney should fight the DMV case and try to get the case dismissed in court. If that isn’t possible, then the attorney should determine whether a diversion is available. The attorney will submit the conditions of the diversion, and if a diversion is granted, the prosecutor will state what they believe the conditions of the diversion should be. Typically, the conditions include staying out of trouble and completing the required steps (e.g., AA meetings, self-help classes, community service, DUI school) within eight months or a year.
Once all of the requirements have been satisfied, there will be a final court appearance and the case will be diverted out of the criminal system. This means that the individual will not have a criminal conviction. However, it is important for people to be aware that the defense attorney will still have to deal with the DMV case.
Under California Penal Code Section 1001.95, an individual can apply for a DUI diversion on a second or third offense. For second or third DUI offenses, the court in San Francisco has asked attorneys to file a more formal motion with the court. This motion would list a lot more of the history and current state of the law, and list the facts of the case in much greater detail. The defense attorney would attach mitigating factors to the motion, such as exhibits which show the court what the defendant has done and plans to do. Second and third DUI offense cases receive a lot more scrutiny, and it is more difficult to obtain a diversion. For these cases, it is a very good idea for the DUI attorney to file the motions.
As of February 2021, the San Francisco Superior Court has given specific guidelines for granting diversion on a multiple offense DUI. Some of the guidelines are the prior convictions are at least 8-10 years old, Blood Alcohol level of 0.12% or less, and no accident or injury.
Certain types of cases are not appropriate for a diversion motion, but on most first-offense, non-injury DUIs or second or third-offense non-injury DUIs in San Francisco, it is a good idea to run a diversion motion. This is especially true in cases where the defendant of multiple offenses has done many things to show the court and community that they have learned their lesson and are taking the case very seriously.
Anyone who has questions about this new DUI diversion law should check with a local San Francisco DUI lawyer who knows the ins and outs of the current procedures. Things can change on a weekly basis in this area of law, so I may very well be making an update video on this topic in just a couple of weeks. As of February 2021, this is the current state of the new diversion law in San Francisco.
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