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San Diego DUI Case Process Overview

 If you are taking a look at the website you are looking into the DUI process here in San Diego.  You also are likely looking for an attorney to defend your rights and navigate you through the process.  You have come to the right place. 

I tried to save you from hours of google-ing by placing all the pertinent San Diego DUI information in one place. If you look to the right of this page (or in the DUI tab above) you will see a variety of DUI subjects, several of which may apply to you.  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.

So, where to start?  Again, I hope to make this process as simple as possible for you.

1.  Know where you are in the San Diego DUI process

When you are arrested you likely received a pink slip of paper from law enforcement.  This serves as your temporary drivers 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 they will not advise you on your DMV/APS.  To me, the license suspension is one of the toughest consequences of a San Diego 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 utilizing a public defender because they cannot help you with the DMV issues.   A Proactive DUI attorney will utilize 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/or your court day is coming up my suggestion is to obtain an attorney as soon as possible to get you back on course.

2. Finding an attorney

There are dozens of San Diego DUI attorneys out there.  As a former 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 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:

A. Find one you are comfortable with (in the end this is most important). 

B.    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.    

C.  Make sure the attorney is worth the cost of the services.  Find an attorney that can answer “yes” on all (or almost all) of the pre-hire checklist.  Click here to see it…

3. Follow these steps and read the DUI sections in the DUI/Driving UTI tab and you should have a base knowledge of a San Diego DUI case and what issues may pertain to you.

Once you do this and retain an attorney they should take over and begin working on getting you the best result possible.  

One last thing….PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU TO TALK TO THE 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.  Make sure when talking with the attorney you take care of this as well.  

 Below is the introduction into the San Diego DUI process.  Good luck and I hope to hear from you.  Contact me by calling (858) 751-4384 or emailing me at


There are two branches to a San Diego DUI, including the DMV hearing as well as 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 associated with driving under the influence (DUI) 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. After a San Diego 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 San Diego DUI defense lawyer, such as Attorney Mark Deniz can file pretrial motions to suppress evidence, or similar actions which be taken to build your defense. The prosecuting Attorney may also offer a plea bargain at this time.

The final step in the DUI court process in San Diego, California is the trial. Depending on the particulars of the case, you may or may not have a jury trial. Evidence will be presented to a jury who will make a decision of whether or not the prosecution has met their burden of beyond a reasonable doubt.

For the aggressive, dedicated legal representation you need through the entire San Diego DUI court process, contact the Law Offices of Mark Deniz

We value your business and look forward to serving you with efficiency
and discretion.  Call us as soon as
possible at (858) 751-4384

Hire a Proactive, affordable, and quality defense when you are facing San Diego DUI charges.  Whether you have been charged with a Santee DUI, Mission Valley DUI or Point Loma DUI it is vital you need to hire an attorney who knows how to defend your rights and can determine if the government can prove their case.  Contact the Law Office of Mark Deniz now for a free case evaluation. 

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