Help in Understanding the DUI Case Process

The information that follows will save you time searching for all of the pertinent information that applies to your case. Additionally, there is subject matter on this site that applies to specific issues within a DUI case as well as different types of DUI. The DUI frequently asked questions page that I have put together will also be very helpful in understanding your rights, situation and next steps.

This page is a solid start to finding out about the San Diego DUI process itself and some considerations to have when choosing an attorney.

Know Where You Are In The San Diego DUI Process

When you were arrested, you likely received a pink slip of paper from law enforcement. This serves as your temporary driver's license because the police likely took yours. Your license is valid for 30 days from the arrest date. The pink slip also states you have 10 days to call the DMV/APS to contest the impending suspension.

It is advisable to find and retain an attorney within those 10 days to set your DMV/APS hearing. If you go with a public defender, he or she will not advise you on your DMV/APS. To me, the license suspension is one of the toughest consequences of a DUI.

It makes a lot of difference to have an attorney navigate you through the DMV process to get your driving privilege restored as fast as humanly possible. This is one reason (among many) why I recommend, if at all possible, not using a public defender. He or she cannot help you with the DMV issues. A proactive DUI attorney will use the DMV hearing to help the criminal side of the case.

If it is past the 10 days to set a DMV/APS hearing and your court day is coming up, my suggestion is to obtain an attorney as soon as possible to get you back on course.

Finding An Experienced, Proven Attorney

There are hundreds of San Diego DUI attorneys out there. As a former veteran prosecutor, I was able to come into contact and work with hundreds of them. I saw the good and the bad. After handling thousands of cases, I learned how best to approach a DUI case. To make it easy, I created a pre-hire checklist to make sure a prospective attorney qualifies as the right attorney for your San Diego DUI case.

Some considerations when hiring an attorney should be:

  1. Find one you are comfortable with (in the end this is most important).
  2. Make sure the fee setup is reasonable. Make sure you are not being charged "a la carte" style because it often ends up costing more than it should. I would also hesitate and review the "one cost for everything" charge. It usually ends as a windfall for the attorney. Make sure the attorney works with efficiency and discretion.
  3. Make sure the attorney is worth the cost of the services. Find an attorney who can answer "yes" on all (or almost all) of the pre-hire checklist.

Follow These Steps And Read The DUI Overview Section To Learn More

The DUI overview sections will give you a strong base knowledge of the aspects of a DUI case and what issues may pertain to your case. Once you retain an attorney, he or she should begin working on getting you the best result possible.

Also, make sure to speak with your attorney about terminating probation early and expunging your case. No matter the result, ultimately you want this charge off your record at the end of the rainbow.

Introduction To The DUI Process

There are two branches to a San Diego DUI case, including the DMV hearing and the criminal court process. These may run simultaneously and are entirely independent of one another. The Law Offices of Mark Deniz can represent you in both hearings.

  1. The legal process begins with the initial arrest. A law enforcement officer will typically make an arrest for DUI after observing erratic driving behavior, outward signs of intoxication and poor field sobriety test performance. The driver will then be arrested and taken to the police station, where he or she will be asked to submit to a breath test or blood test to determine his or her blood alcohol concentration.
  2. The DMV process: After a DUI arrest, a driver has only 10 days to contact the California Department of Motor Vehicles and schedule a DMV hearing to challenge the suspension of his or her driver's license.

The driver's first court appearance will be the arraignment, at which time the judge will inform the driver of his or her charges. The driver will also then enter a plea of guilty, not guilty or no contest.

After the arraignment, a DUI defense lawyer, such as attorney Mark Deniz, can file pretrial motions to suppress evidence, or similar actions that will be taken to build your defense. The prosecuting attorney may also offer a plea bargain at this time. A prosecuting attorney will try and convince you that he or she has an airtight case. This is not always accurate. You have many criminal defenses you can use to defend yourself from the DUI charge. A highly trained lawyer will be able to look at your case and choose the best defense possible. Each of our attorneys is dedicated to arguing your case and preventing a conviction.

DUI Charges

  • No probable cause to make the traffic stop
  • Mishandling of evidence on an administrative level (procedures involving breathalyzer and blood tests)
  • Individuals ability to pass field sobriety tests
  • Violations involving a person's Miranda rights
  • Illegal arrest or detainment
  • Not enough evidence to support the charge

The above defenses may apply to your case. If you have been charged with a DUI in San Diego, one of our experienced attorneys can evaluate your case and determine which defense is best suited to be used in fighting your charges. Any arrest is time sensitive. You should contact us immediately after your arrest.