CONTACT AN ATTORNEY
One reason to contact a lawyer right away is that most people do not really know who to call at the end. The number they have on that form is a Sacramento number which you never can get through on and it is usually the wrong number. If you are arrested in the Bay Area, in East Bay, you generally have to call the Oakland Drivers Safety Office, which is over by the Oklahoma Coliseum in San Francisco on the South Bay. You have to call the San Francisco Drivers Safety Office. Other areas you have to call, is the Sacramento office but, that is not the correct number on the form.
Therefore, you really need to call a lawyer, at least have a lawyer who will give you the right number to call. If you do not want to hire a lawyer, or cannot hire a lawyer, or have the lawyer request a hearing for you, that has to be done within ten days. It is important to do that even if you are not planning on fighting the case. The DMV is going to suspend your license for four months if you do not do that. In case if you do that, then they will put a stay on the suspension until there is a hearing in front of DMV.
The most important thing for the lawyer is that after the request for the hearing is made, DMV will send your lawyer everything that the police officer sends to them. This is generally the police report and the test results, which is mostly all the evidence in the case. You can get that y well before you go to court. You can see what the evidence is against you and your lawyer can analyze it at an early stage. Therefore, it is important to request the hearing because you cannot get the police report otherwise until you go to court at the arraignment and that could be months away. Moreover, you will be able to keep driving until there is at least a hearing or a decision back on the hearing. If you lose the hearing, they will put a four-month suspension into effect which you are entitled to get a restricted work license after a thirty day hard suspension.
After the first thirty days of the suspension, you are eligible for a work license. A couple of things you have to do are to have a proof of insurance form on file with the DMV. You also have to be enrolled in a DUI class, and then DMV will give you a restricted license, which allows you to go to and from work and from the alcohol school. That goes on for about three to four months before you get your license back. This is what happens at the beginning of the case before you even get into court.
After that, an arraignment is scheduled. The police officer gives you a court date, which is the arraignment. If you hire a lawyer, you do not have to go to the arraignment. Your lawyer can go for you unless you have multiple DUIs; a lot of the courts want you in court with your lawyer. Generally speaking, you do not have to go to court on the arraignment. You can let your lawyer handle that and the lawyer at that point just goes into court and tells the judge, “We're pleading not guilty.” This sets the case for a pretrial conference where the lawyer can talk with a judge and DA and see what kind of deal they may be offering on the case.
You might also want to set a motion to suppress if after a lawyer reviews the police report, he feels that there may be a question about the probable cause for the arrest or the stop. You can file a motion to challenge that. That is generally what happens in court. After the pretrial conference and the motions of the case are still active, then you decide whether you want to enter a plea of no contest, guilty or go to trial on the case.
SHOULD YOU HIRE AN ATTORNEY WHO HANDLES DUI CASES, HANDLE IT ALONE OR GET A PUBLIC DEFENDER FOR A DUI?
The main disadvantage with a public defender in a DUI case is that they will not handle your DMV problem because that is considered a civil problem. They are not going to touch your DMV hearing, or any problems you have with DMV. Most public defenders in the Bay Area are very good lawyers, but a lot of them do not really have the DUI experience that a lawyer that specializes in it does. A lot of times, they are not given the resources to hire an expert or somebody like that to help them in the case. The state is going to have a state criminalist to testify against you and in most cases you need somebody to tell the real truth about these tests.
Most of the times, the public defender's office will not provide that but the big problem is they will not do the DMV stuff. They just do not have the experience. Generally, if you do have a public defender representing you in a DUI case, it is going to be someone with generally less experience altogether. Usually one of the younger deputies, because that is generally who handles the misdemeanor and DUI cases in most public defenders' offices.
Most public defenders are excellent lawyers. Years ago they may be handling divorces or bankruptcies and they would have a client who has a DUI and they may say, “I can handle it.” They think it is just a traffic ticket and they do not realize how complicated and how technical these cases can get.
If you are not sure Why Someone Should Hire An Experienced DUI Attorney After A DUI Charge In California, call The Law Office Of Blackie Burak for a FREE Case Evaluation at (925) 933-4500 and get the information and legal answers you're seeking.