1/17/2014: CONTRA COSTA COUNTY (MARTINEZ) .10% BAC 2nd OFFENSE DUI w/ PROBATION VIOLATION
Outcome: DUI CHARGES DISMISSED & CASE REDUCED TO RECKLESS DRIVING
Description: Contra Costa County can be one of the most taxing in the Bay Area for a DUI defense attorney. First of all, the District Attorney has one year from the date of the arrest to file a misdemeanor complaint against an alleged drunk driver. The defendant is almost always given a CITATION based on his promise to appear for ARRAIGNMENT on a set court date. In my experience, the District Attorney NEVER gets around to filing their misdemeanor complaint with the Clerk's Office prior to the arraignment date. As a result, the defendant (or myself), is required to spend a pointless morning going to court on the set arraignment date only to confirm that the case is "pending" and the District Attorney will notify the defendant when a case is filed against them. Contra Costa County is the ONLY District Attorney's Office in the Bay Area that has a policy of inaction such as this. Case in point: This client was arrested in January of 2013; the arraignment (first court date) wasn't completed until mid-November 2013; and the first (and thankfully last) Pre-Trial Conference today (January 2014). This policy of delay is harmful and unjust to defendants charged with DUI in Contra Costa County like no other criminal defendant. DUI's, unlike other misdemeanor crimes, have a contemporaneous DMV case/suspension which usually inflicts its punishment PRIOR to the criminal case resolution. Since the delay in prosecution is often significant (10 months!), the client who has already served his or her full license suspension at DMV will get their license suspended a SECOND TIME based on the same case. The only way to get around this unintended double DMV punishment is to get the case dismissed or convince the District Attorney to reduce the charges. This can be a tall order. Not so today. Client was arrested for DUI by the San Ramon Police Department after making an illegal U-turn. His blood test came back at .10% BAC, but worse still, he was still on active DUI probation for a DUI conviction from another county. The DA's arraignment offer was plea to DUI and get 30 days jail among other evils. This given morning, however, a very fair and reasonable DA understood the dual DMV consequence issue and reduced the DUI to reckless driving while dismissing the DUI charges and probation outright. Client, (a younger adult still living at home and working full time) received a lesson and a greatly reduced sentence of two years informal court probation, fines around $1,600, 12 hour DUI School, and NO JAIL, SWAP OR COMMUNITY SERVICE. Client served full one year suspension of license based on DMV administrative hearing.