For over two decades Attorney David Welch has successfully defended his clients who have been criminally charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) throughout Southern California. David attributes the success he has had to his knowledge of the law, the court system as well as his relationship with judges and prosecutors.
In addition to the criminal court process, it is important that a DMV Administrative Per Se (APS) hearing be scheduled. With few exceptions, this hearing must be requested within 10 days of the date of arrest. If not timely requested, the accused may automatically be exposed to a driving privilege suspension for a period ranging from four months to several years. Because the possible adverse effects of a DUI conviction or negative DMV decision can vary greatly, it would benefit you to contact our office for a comprehensive case evaluation.
The Criminal Court Process
The first stage following a DUI arrest is the Pre-File investigation. In this stage, the arresting officer will draft an arrest report designed to be utilized to obtain a court conviction. Once completed, the report, together with supporting documents, will be forwarded to the prosecuting agency for review. If it is determined by the prosecution that a conviction can be achieved, the case will be filed with the Superior Court. During the Pre-File stage an experienced DUI attorney may elect to communicate with the prosecutor reviewing the case in an attempt to dissuade them from filing criminal charges.
If the prosecution files criminal charges, the Defendant will be held to answer to those charges. This proceeding is known as an arraignment. With few exceptions, a plea of "Not Guilty" should be entered which allows the case to proceed in the direction of trial. This does not necessarily mean that the case WILL be going to trial, but will result in the case moving into the Pre-Trial or Trial Readiness phase.
During the Pre-Trial phase which is also know as the discovery phase, the Defendant will be given the opportunity to demand the prosecution turn over additional evidence that may not have been provided earlier. This evidence may include, laboratory rand calibrations records, audio and video recordings, Officer training and certification records and much more. It is under these evidentiary inquiries that a highly experienced DUI attorney may find evidence that will result in the reduction or dismissal of criminal charges.
Prior to a Defendant making a decision to enter a plea or go to trial, extensive negotiations typically take place with the prosecutor and in some instances include the judge. In many instances, this is the optimal time to successfully dodge a DUI conviction.
Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Proceedings
It is likely that at the time of your arrest, the office confiscated your California Drivers License. In its place you are typically given a pink temporary license which allows you to continue driving for 30 days (This is assuming your license was valid at the time of the arrest). Keep this document with you while driving as it is likely the only license you will have for the near future.
In addition to this document giving you the ability to drive for 30 days, it also serves as an Administrative Per Se Suspension and Revocation Order. Simply stated, you have been given notice that the DMV intends to revoke or suspend you license after 30 days.
You should review this form carefully as it provides information relevant to the action the DMV intends to take, it also provides information that the DMV will require when you request your hearing. Finally, hidden within the content of the document is this notice:
“YOU HAVE 10 DAYS FROM RECEIPT OF THIS NOTICE TO REQUEST A HEARING TO SHOW THAT THE SUSPENSION OR REVOCATION IS NOT JUSTIFIED”.
If the person who was arrested does not timely request a hearing within 10 days, the right to challenge the DMV is lost. Don't let this happen to you. A phone number has been provided and can be found on the top right portion of the document. The provided phone number will allow you to speak to a DMV employee (if you call during business hours) who will provide you the number to the correct Driver Safety Office where you may telephonically request a hearing. The most common mistake made by individuals is going to their local DMV field office where they will NOT be given the opportunity to set up a hearing. A specific branch of the DMV called ‘Drivers Safety' must be contacted. My staff and I are standing by to assist you in invoking your rights to a hearing. Call before it is too late.
Included in a timely hearing request is also a demand that “Discovery” be provided. Discovery is the report portion of the evidence the officer completed at the time of your arrest. These documents are what the DMV intends to admit into evidence to support a suspension action of your license. Simply put, these documents are critical to understanding the officer's allegations in preparing your defense at the DMV hearing. In addition to requesting discovery, you also have the right to request a “Stay” of suspension. This “Stay” stops the suspension until such a time that you have been given the opportunity to prove a suspension is not justified. If the stay is granted, you should be sent a new temporary license which will allow you to drive beyond the limits of the 30 day temporary license given to you.
It is important that you understand that exceptions can exist that will not allow you to drive regardless you the 30 day temporary license or request for stay. Always consult with an experienced attorney to review your specific circumstances.
At the hearing, the DMV will introduce into evidence reports, alcohol levels as well as specific DMV documents. You or your attorney will be given the opportunity to submit evidence, argue against the DMV suspension action and in some cases, cross examine the arresting officer. If your arguments and objections are successful, you may be able to avoid any driver license suspension.
In the event you are not successful in avoiding a suspension action, you will be given opportunities to appeal the suspension. This can be done through an administrative review or a request for a Superior Court Judge to determine if the DMV's actions can be supported by law. Appeal requests are very time sensitive and need to be done immediately after any negative decision. Consulting with a qualified attorney can possibly help you avoid any mistakes.
Finally, if a suspension is ordered, you may have lost you ability to drive for a period ranging from 4 months to several years. However, there may be a way you can be granted an early reinstatement in as soon as 30 days.
Defending the accused in a DMV hearing requires specific knowledge of documentation and case law in addition to understanding procedural challenges. With over two decades of experience in DMV and DUI matters, we are committed to defending our clients accused of DUI.