If you have been charged with DUI, you will hear many words, phrases, and terminology throughout the criminal case proceedings. You'll hear these words from your attorney, the Judge, and the prosecutors. Below are some of the common words and phrases that are used in DUI criminal cases and a brief definition of each. Your DUI lawyer should explain all of these in greater detail if and when they apply to your case.
- Arraignment -- The first criminal court date that is scheduled. A person charged with DUI (the "defendant") must personally appear in Court on this date unless the Court allows the attorney to appear on his or her behalf. This is frequently allowed in misdemeanor DUI cases, although it is up to the Judge.
- Plea Bargain – An agreement made with the prosecution to plead guilty to receive a certain outcome.
- Pre-Trial Hearings – After the arraignment is held and if a plea bargain agreement is not entered into at that time, the Court will next schedule a pre-trial hearing. There may be one or several pre-trial hearings. This is an opportunity for the DUI lawyer to meet with prosecutors to discuss the case, request additional discovery items, such as dashcam or officers' body worn video, and discuss a possible resolution of the case.
- DUI Penalties – These apply if you are convicted of DUI. For example, you will frequently be ordered to attend an alcohol program and pay mandatory court fines and fees. Other penalties may include jail time or community labor, the Mothers Against Drunk Driving "Victim Impact Panel" class, the Hospital & Morgue Program, and attendance at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.
- Penal Code Section 1538.5 Motion - This is the California law that allows the defendant to file a motion to suppress evidence under the 4th and 14th amendments of the United States Constitution. Evidence that is illegally obtained cannot be used against a person accused of a crime.
- Jury Trial -- If the defendant does not enter into a plea bargain agreement to resolve the case or the prosecutor does not dismiss the charges, a jury trial will be held. A jury consists of 12 people from the public who will listen to the evidence presented by the prosecution and the defense (the accused). The prosecution will present evidence that the accused is guilty of driving under the influence. The defense will present evidence and argument that the accused is not guilty and/or the prosecution is unable to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they are.
- DUI Enhancement – This is added to the criminal complaint against the defendant. Enhancements allow forfor greater punishment in some situations. For example, if a person is alleged to have a blood alcohol concentration higher than .15 or .20 percent. Also, if a person refused to submit to the required chemical test after being placed under arrest for DUI. These situations allow the prosecutor to seek and the Judge to impose harsher DUI penalties, including jail time.
- Felony DUI – A more serious DUI charges, usually filed when a death or injury is involved, if the new offense is the person's 4th DUI within a 10 year period, or if a person has a prior felony DUI conviction within the past 10 years.
If you have been arrested and charged with DUI, it is best to hire a good DUI lawyer to represent you for both the criminal case and the DMV administrative hearing. CONTACT our office via our online submission form or call us at (877) 667-1205 to schedule a free and confidential consultation.