DUI Court Case

I’ve been arrested for DUI. What happens next?

The law enforcement agency that arrested you will refer it’s case to the prosecutor. In turn, the prosecutor will file a complaint against you in court. An “arraignment” will occur on the day indicated on your citation, or another day after that if your case is still being investigated and the prosecutor has not yet filed a case. The case will then proceed on the misdemeanor “pretrial” calendar (if it is filed as a misdemeanor) or on the felony “preliminary hearing setting” calendar (if it is charges as a felony). However, unless it is a third or fourth DUI offense, or there was a collision with injury involved, your DUI case will be charged as a misdemeanor.

Do I have to appear in court for my case?

In a misdemeanor DUI case, Ernenwein & Johnson can appear in court on your behalf, pursuant to Penal Code section 977. In fact, if the case is settled prior to trial, we can appear on your behalf even for purposes of the plea. Our team will inform you of all the necessary terms and conditions of probation, and unless we believe it is advantageous to have you present, you do not ever have to appear in court.

We are sympathetic to our clients’ needs. We understand that in spite of your criminal case, life must go on and you must tend to your daily obligations and routine, be it work, school or other pressing task. We can appear on your behalf to spare you the aggravation of having to wait in court all day, possibly for multiple times if your case requires several court hearings. Having to take an entire day out of your schedule to appear in court can even cost you money if you have to skip a day of work.

Let us go to work for you and make all necessary court appearances.

What will happen if I am convicted of a DUI?

If you are convicted of DUI, your likely sentence will depend on a number of factors. These include your blood alcohol level at the time of your arrest, your prior criminal history, and the circumstances surrounding your arrest.

However, in most cases and most courts, the following minimum penalties for a DUI conviction (under Vehicle Code Sections 23152(a) and 23152(b)) apply in a first offense situation:

  • three years of summary (informal) probation
  • a fine of approximately $1,800 (this figure includes court fees and mandatory penalty assessments)
  • required attendance at a first offense (AB-541) 36-hour alcohol education program
  • 90-day license restriction allowing driving to and from work, in the course of employment, and to and from any
    alcohol education program
  • a MADD program or a supplemental Victims Impact Panel (in some courts)

Remember, the terms of this mandatory minimum sentence only apply if you are actually convicted of a DUI. We will fight to have your charges reduced or the case dismissed. In attempting to achieve the most favorable outcome in your case, we will evaluate all the evidence by carefully examining the following factors:

  • level of impairment of driving, as observed by the arresting officer
  • the reason for the stop (did the officer have probable cause to stop your car?)
  • objective symptoms of alcohol intoxication (slurred speech, lack of balance or coordination, bloodshot and watery
    eyes, odor of alcohol, etc.)
  • performance on field sobriety tests
  • preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) test results, if applicable
  • chemical test results (breath, blood, or urine)
  • any pre-existing medical or physical conditions that could have an impact on the results of the chemical test, PAS test, or field sobriety test.

In many cases, we will be able to reduce your charge from a DUI to a lesser offense, including (in descending order of severity) alcohol-related reckless driving, non-alcohol related reckless driving, speed contest (or exhibition of speed) or two moving violations.

There may be constitutional issues that provide us with grounds to motion the court for a dismissal of your charges, specifically that the police did not have probable cause to stop your vehicle and/or search you or your car. If this is the case, we may be able to have your case dismissed before it even goes to trial.

If necessary, we will take the matter to trial. If the matter proceeds to trial, we will be prepared and will argue any defenses available in your case.

What is the advantage of using Ernenwein & Johnson over another law firm?

The advantages are many. By hiring Ernenwein & Johnson, you are securing the help of a law firm with an established, reputable, aggressive DUI defense lawyer with over 40 years of combined criminal law experience. Robert Ernenwein is a former Los Angeles County prosecutor and bears the distinguished designation of being a “Super Lawyer.” Few, if any, other attorneys have this impressive combination of background, skill, and distinction.

Have you or someone you know been charged with DUI or any other crime? Our phone lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Contact Ernenwein & Johnson, Los Angeles and Orange County Criminal Defense Lawyers today at 310-375-5858 for a free case review.