THE LAW: An arraignment is the first part of a DUI prosecution in Los Angeles Superior Court. During DUI arraignment, you can enter a guilty or not guilty plea, and, if you enter a “not guilty” plea, the court will continue your DUI case. The continuance after a DUI arraignment is determined by law so that you can have a trial 45 days from the arraignment. If you are in custody at the time of the arraignment, you can have a trial 30 days from the arraignment. Sometimes the judge can ask you to “waive time”, which means, that the trial will be longer then 30 or 45 days from the arraignment. You will have to agree to “waive time” to continued the case past the 30 days.
If you go through DUI arraignment, many courts will send your case to a trial court, where all future hearing can take place. Some courts will have DUI arraignment and DUI trial in the same court. Sometimes it is best to continue the arraignment to make sure you get better deal in the DUI arraignment courtroom.
Often you want your case to go to a judge that is good for your case or to a prosecutor that is good for your case. Although a defendant can not simply pick a courtroom that he likes, he or she can try to avoid some judges by either “not stipulating to a commissioner” or by using a peremptory challenge. It is not a good idea to use a peremptory challenge on a commissioner because that one opportunity to disqualify a judge will be gone. At arraignment, the right not to stipulate is limited by GC 72190.1 which permits a commissioner to conduct arraignments. Also, the bail or conditions for OR are decided at arraignment. Arguably, since the amount of the bail is based on factual issues, a commissioner is not allowed to decide it without a stipulation by both parties (67 Ops Atty Gen 162, 166-167). Thus, there exists a legal argument to force a commissioner to hand over the case to someone else when there is an issue with the bail.
THE POINT: Los Angeles DUI Attorneys know when to continue DUI arraignment, when to plead not guilty, when to stipulate to a commissioner and when to file a peremptory challenge. Years of experience in Los Angeles DUI Courts allows us to make strategic decisions that will impact your case favorably by trying to steer it to a courtroom where you will receive the most lenient sentence or the best trial you can have.
EXAMPLE: John gets arrested for a first offense DUI and is cited to appear in a Los Angeles Superior Court close to the location of the arrest. In that specific courthouse, a better plea bargain deal is often obtained at DUI arraignment. John does not know that, enters a plea of not guilty and his case is transferred to a courtroom where the judge is extremely tough on DUI defendants. He ends up getting a harsher sentence, which includes a much longer Alcohol Education program, a MADD class, a requirement to do Hospital and Morgue program community service or even jail. John is unable to complete all requirements in time and the court sentences John to 10 days in jail as a violation of probation.
EXAMPLE: Jane gets arrested for a first offense DUI and has an arraignment in front of a commissioner who is extremely tough on the DUIs and will set bail at her first appearance per Bail Schedule at $15,000.00. If Jane does not have the money to bail out, she will be forced to accept whatever deal she is offered to get out of jail right away. If she decides to fight her case, she will likely stay in jail for 30 days pending the prosecutor and her defense attorney preparing for trial. If she would hire an experienced Los Angeles DUI Attorney he would not stipulate to that commissioner and argue that, given that most persons arrested for a DUI in Los Angeles are released on their own recognizance, the issue of bail is factual enough for the judge not to decide it (67 Ops Atty Gen 162, 166-167). Jane’s case would be transferred to a more liberal judge for DUI arraignment who would release Jane under a promise to appear for the next hearing.
We are waiting for your call and hoping you give us the chance to help you. We have developed many defenses specific to DUI cases. Call us now (818) 921 7744 .