When you make a plea bargain, you eliminate the stressful element of suspense because you know right away what your sentence will be. However, coming to a plea deal can be a lengthy process.
There is nothing more frightening than being accused of a crime. Whether you are guilty or not, the prospect of jail time, fines, and having a criminal record can be terrifying. If you are charged with a DUI, you will also face the prospect of losing your license.
The wheels of justice are slow to turn and a DUI case can take a long time to get to court. If you are in the state of California, it is not uncommon for it to take a year before a DUI case is heard. It may be somewhat comforting to understand the process of a DUI case in the state.
Understanding the Process
If you are observed driving erratically, another driver on the road may call the police or a police officer may notice the behavior themselves and they may pull you over.
When you are pulled over, you should always put your hands on the steering wheel and be very polite to the police officer. They may ask you questions about where you have been and how much you have had to drink, but you do not have to answer them. They may ask you to take a breathalyzer test or a field sobriety test, but you may refuse those tests. However, your license may be temporarily suspended as a result.
If you are charged with DUI, you will have a preliminary hearing, where you will be formally charged. You can then make a plea of guilty or not guilty. You will have an opportunity to have a public defender assigned to you or to hire an attorney. If you hire an attorney, they should be well versed in California DUI law and they should have an excellent reputation with the state bar.
You will normally get a court date in one to three weeks. You should know that in the state of California the prosecution has three years to levy formal charges against you in a felony DUI case. However, you should generally not have to wait over 90 days.
Your attorney may advise you to make a plea bargain with the prosecution. If you do this, you will plead guilty or no contest to the charges against you in exchange for a lighter sentence. When you make a plea bargain, you eliminate the stressful element of suspense because you know right away what your sentence will be. However, coming to a plea deal can be a lengthy process.
The Discovery Phase
When a DUI case is taking a long time, it may be because it has been held up in the discovery phase. Either your attorney or the prosecution might be awaiting evidence. Hence, a few months of delay can be good news of you are accused of driving while drunk or under the influence of drugs.
If your DUI charge resulted in an accident with injuries, your attorney and the prosecuting attorney might take quite a while to gather evidence. If you are charged with vehicular homicide, your attorneys can delay a case if they are waiting for critical evidence.
A DUI trial can take months. The attorneys will have to select an objective jury. If your case was covered by the media or is high profile in any way, this can take some time. A good criminal defense attorney will take their time cross-examining the arresting officer and the prosecution’s witnesses. Either side may call in expert witnesses and they may have detailed information to provide.
If you are found guilty, it may be weeks before you are sentenced.
It is always a bad idea to drive drunk. If you are charged with a DUI you should give Los Angeles DUI lawyer Brooks a call. They have the patience and the know-how to help you win your case.