What is a Pre Trial Hearing in a Los Angeles DUI Case?
Here’s a great article from Todd Spodek – a top rated NYC divorce attorney. When you get pulled over under suspicion of driving under the influence, it is important to remember that you have not been convicted. Even if you feel guilty or believe it to be the eventual outcome, it does not mean you are. If you have been arrested and charged though, then you were probably charged under the California Vehicle Code §23153 or California Vehicle Code §23152. Those two codes are the DUI statutes in California. Again, you are not guilty of violating either one of the statutes until you are convicted.
When you get arrested, the officers will give you a citation. The citation will have the information you need to make your first court appearance. On the citation, the information for the courthouse you have to appear in and the date of your first appearance in front of the judge will be listed. Attending the appearance is absolutely mandatory, and there is no alternative option without a lawyer. If you fail to appear or do not come in before your scheduled appearance, the judge will issue a warrant for your arrest for failure to appear and maybe even contempt of court. Either way, you would be looking at more charges and a bigger punishment on top of the DUI charge. You must be present in court. If you get a DUI lawyer in Los Angeles, then your legal representation can make their appearance on your behalf, and your lawyer could also ask for a continuance. This is allowed because you are not facing a felony charge. In nearly all DUI cases in Los Angeles, a lawyer can make their appearance on behalf of their clients. It is one of the perks of having a Los Angeles DUI lawyer because it saves you a lot of trouble, time and hassle. Going to court, especially for the first time, is an anxiety provoking ordeal, and most defendants would rather not have to deal with it or address it.
If you remember from reading above, the first date you have to appear in court is written on your citation at the time of your arrest, and the first date you have to attend court for the citation is known as the arraignment. The arraignment can be frightening, especially if you have never been to court. You get read your rights, and the judge will inform you of the minimum and maximum sentence you may face. Also, after you get read your charges, you will be asked if you want to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. You will also get to speak privately to a prosecutor to try and negotiate your own plea bargain. The prosecutor will also try to give you incentives to get you to plead guilty on the spot to go ahead and resolve your case.
It is unwise to try and represent yourself in a situation like this, especially since a DUI is a serious charge. It may not be a felony, but society does not like people who drive under the influence and judges know that. Before you decide to enter a plea, whether it is guilty or not guilty or accept some kind of a plea bargain, it cannot be stressed enough how good of an idea it is to speak to legal professional with over three decades of experience in criminal law. The information Los Angeles DUI lawyers have to offer may be quite beneficial in determining whether there is a good defense, if the plea bargain is a fair or good offer, what arguments you have at your disposal or if the state’s case against you is weak enough to say you have the advantage.
If after you speak to a skilled defense lawyer and you decide you have a strong or decent case and the offer made by the city or state is a poor one, the logical step would be for you to enter a plea of not guilty. Afterwards, the judge will schedule your pre-trial. At your pre-trial, either you or hopefully the skilled Los Angeles DUI lawyer you retained will get into further negotiations with the prosecutors. The offer the prosecutors made at your arraignment will probably be off the table, but it is probable that the offer at your pre-trial will be much better for you, especially after thorough discussions between your lawyer and the prosecutors regarding the case and the facts surrounding it.
It is never wise for anyone to represent themselves. It rarely works out. Consult with an experienced Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible and retain proper representation.