Why Is It Beneficial the Later the DMV Hearing Is Scheduled from the Time of Arrest?
Interviewer: Is it advantageous if the DMV case is not scheduled for several months? I have heard if the case takes a little bit longer you have a better chance to win the case. Would I be correct on that presumption?
Aaron Bortel: Overtime, things can happen that can help us win the case. It does is gives me the time I need to gather all the evidence I need and that’s important. This is especially true when we’re talking about video and audio and records and other materials.
The DMV Prefers Hearings 30 to 45 Days after an Arrest but the Defense Attorney May Not Have Obtained Necessary Discovery by That Time
If I have the time to do that, I get a better chance to get the best possible result in the case. If I’m getting pressured and we have to attend the DMV hearing 30 days or 45 days after your arrest, I’m usually not going to have all the evidence
I need. So I need to continue that hearing to gather that evidence and DMV is trying to keep us from doing that. I’m able to continue DMV for certain reasons, but not as long as we used to be able to and that does become a problem.
Like I was saying before, using the court and the DA’s office to get discovery and reports that I need to help me with the criminal case in court is usually the quickest way to get that information for my DMV hearings. Sometimes I will subpoena the officers or the CHP to help get me video, but it’s usually a lot easier to get it through the DA’s office. Then again, sometimes they delay and for whatever reason is we don’t get it and so I need to go another route.
In San Mateo County, the DMV process is run through the San Francisco DMV, which is the Driver Safety Headquarters for that part of Northern California. San Francisco handles San Mateo County, San Francisco, Marin, Napa, Sonoma and further counties up north. They have also several satellite branches. There is actually one in Redwood City where you can have the DMV hearing, if you want. I do most of mine at the San Francisco branch of the DMV.
Is It Ever Advisable to NOT Fight DUI Charges in an Effort to Expedite a Resolution?
Interviewer: Do you ever have clients that may feel that they want their case to be over and done with? How do you deal with those kinds of clients?
Aaron Bortel: The first thing I try and do is convince the client that I need a chance to fight their case. Every once in a while I have a client who just wants to get it done and get it behind them and says, “Get the best deal you can for me as quick as you can.”
Even though I’m against sacrificing good results for a speedy result, it has happened before and that’s what they want me to do. In those cases what I can do is not waive time. You can speed the cases up when you go to the arraignment. You say you’re not waiving time and that means that you’re entitled to a jury trial within 45 days. That means you get a pre-trial conference usually within about 30 days, so that’s one way to speed the process along.
In fact that is a very good question because I have talked with other DUI lawyers who practice in San Mateo County about ways to combat having to wait so long for a pre-trial conference. One of my suggestions was that we just don’t all waive time like most attorneys do. Although in San Mateo County, I really don’t see that as a remedy.
It Is Always Advisable to Discuss Every Option with Your Defense Attorney before Accepting an Initial Plea for a DUI Charge
Interviewer: Have you been able to change the mind of a client?
Aaron Bortel: Usually, I am able to convince a client that it’s not going to hurt by waiting longer for results. What I like to do is to let my clients know, “Look, let me worry for you. That’s my job. Let me do that. You have a life to live and we’ll take care of this.”
If it looks like they’re going to have to do a DUI school, they can always get started on that. If they have to pay a fine if they do get convicted, they can do it later. It allows them to hold onto their money longer. But I want a chance to fight the case. Again, I just wish that they were able to speed things up a little more in San Mateo County.
By Aaron Bortel
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