Understanding the Criminal Case for DUI
San Francisco DUI Defense Attorney
In California an officer may stop a driver only after observing a violation of the law, or observing a driving pattern which suggests DUI, or at a sobriety check road block. If there is indication of DUI while the officer talks with the driver, then the officer can begin a DUI investigation, by asking questions of the driver and getting the driver to do a Field Sobriety Test. The driver in not legally required to answer any questions or to take this test, although the officer probably will not tell the driver this.
Failing a Field Sobriety Test is not actually reliable evidence of intoxication as other factors may affect the driver's performance such as age, health conditions, weather conditions, and so on, (but failing the test will generally be introduced into evidence by the prosecution during trial as positive proof of impairment). The officer can take the driver's license at the time of arrest and issue a notice of suspension.
License Suspension for Drunk Driving
As a result the process of automatic suspension of driving privileges is begun within the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). A DMV administrative hearing must be requested within 10 days in order to prevent the suspension. A San Francisco DUI attorney with the firm can request the DMV hearing and represent the driver during the hearing in order to challenge the evidence the DMV hearing officer will rely on to confirm the suspension.
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After the arrest the driver may be held for arraignment or arraignment may be scheduled for a later date. During the arraignment the driver or the defense attorney will be asked to enter a plea of guilty, not guilty. An experienced criminal case lawyer will generally recommend the defendant plead not guilty. If the plea is not guilty, the defense lawyer may enter pretrial motions such as a motion to dismiss, or a motion to suppress evidence either at the time of arraignment or at a later date. There may be several hearings on different issues before a trial begins. A court hearing on a pretrial motion may result in a case being dismissed altogether.
At the start of the trial the prosecutor and defense attorney select members of the jury. After opening statements the evidence is presented and examined, witnesses give their testimony and are cross-examined by the opposing counsel. After the judge instructs the jury, the jury retires to the jury room to decide on a verdict. In the case of a guilty verdict, the judge then decides the penalties based on the law and informs the defendant.
A defendant's chances of having a positive outcome are greatly improved by being represented by a knowledgeable DUI lawyer at the firm. Call The Law Office of Nors Davidson today for a consultation with a San Francisco DUI attorney who is determined to protect your rights and defend your interests!