How Long Does It Take To Get Discovery In A DUI Case?
A discovery case depends on how long it takes for the case to go to court. Sometimes, depending on the arresting agency and the county it takes two months before we see anything. Sometimes it may ten days to a few weeks. San Francisco is one of the quickest in setting the court date from the date of arrest. Sometimes we will see the pressure point a little quicker from the DMV. It takes them a while to get that to us even if we request a hearing right away. Sometimes we can get one, or a client can get a report from the arresting agency if there has been an accident. They will not give you the whole police report of the accident but some of it.
What Are Some Factors That Can Delay The DUI Process In California?
Our take with these cases is that we are doing what is in our client’s best interest. We are doing everything we can within the boundaries of the law to win the case and to get the best results we can. In doing so, sometimes a delay is helpful for a case. It is very rare where a quick decision is helpful. There might be a situation where we want to do something quickly if it looks like there may be injuries involved. The prosecution is going to potentially find out more during a case which might be a misdemeanor and non-injury case or misdemeanor with injury into a felony. In those situations, a quick plea may be a life changer for a client in a positive way.
There are other times when a client is in custody and we want to get him out and we may speed things up by doing a quick preliminary hearing. It may be advisable or not depending upon the circumstances. Typically, in most cases, you want to get every bit of discovery that you can and that can take a while, especially in getting blood records from labs because they send us exactly what we want without sending us what we want. A lot of times, you show up for court and they are just not ready to discuss the case or they do not have your file and for some reason, it might get a continuance.
Sometimes it is hard to have a case last very long because we have judges who are ready to go and their instructions saying a DUI case should only last up to thirty-five to forty-five days. If any longer they are not happy, they want the cases finished in a timely manner. Most of the time in most counties, we get the amount of time that we need to fight our cases.
Are All Of The Police Reports And Discovery Ready At The Pre-Trial Conference?
No, and that is why there may be multiple pre-trial conferences. I was just in court today in a county where I have done the arraignment and I have the initial police report and I was on for pre-trial conference today and I still needed discovery. Two additional things I needed, I let the DA know, notice in writing of what I needed and between now and the next pre-trial conference, hopefully I will have everything. If I do not, then I will let them know before that date or at that time. We will sit in one more pre-trial conference until I have everything I need to fully defend my client.
How Long Can A DUI Case Potentially Take If It Goes To Trial?
We are talking about six months to a year or more. I cannot remember if I had a DUI trial where we went to trial and within six months of the arrest we had our first court appearance. Too many things can make too many continuances. There are a lot of things that can help a DUI attorney in getting ready for trial. Over time, memories fade. Sometimes police officers or witnesses move away or they get transferred. Sometimes police officers get fired for not continuing a case in the hope that something like that might happen. We would never want something like that to happen to someone’s job, but it does happen.
Sometimes there are changes with the law. I have one case right now where there is a potential change in the law and we needed to resolve the case when the law was not on our side, and now it looks like it is going our way. So we may be able to get a favorable resolution because of the new changes. Sometimes you want to finish up a case a little quicker because you see the law is going to change which is not in your favor. There may be new sentencing coming that will prove unfavorable for a client if you wait until that happens.
Are There Any Benefits To A DUI Case Taking A Long Time To Be Resolved?
Absolutely. As we are trying to gather our discovery to save my client’s license, sometimes we are able to and sometimes we are not. It takes four plus months up to a year and the client still can continue to drive. It has to do with their job, driving their kids to school and doing what they need to do.
Some folks who are issued a DUI now or in October, depending on the county, that case will probably wait till next year to be resolved. You are going to get suspended in mid-November and come Thanksgiving or Christmas, you will not be able to drive. People do not want to hear that and that may be the reason why DUI cases sometimes take longer to resolve. If someone gets convicted and they are looking for work, that conviction is going to be on their record and their potential employer is going to see that. If the case is pending, it may be less likely that the employer sees that.
Also if someone has to take a trip to Canada that is one place in the world where they are not letting anyone in if you have a DUI conviction on record. There is a temporary residence permit that someone can get, but it takes jumping through hoops to get that. I had a client that had to go to Canada and he continued his case longer and longer for a number of different reasons, but that was one of the benefits when he went to Canada and back again. They could have seen that the case was pending, but they were a lot less likely to and they did not see it and he went through immigration many times.
He reached Canada to be there with his girlfriend and her family and he could not have made it to Canada if he had been issued that DUI conviction.
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