Suffering a conviction for a misdemeanor DUI can carry significant penalties that can derail your life and jeopardize your future. When you are arrested and charged with a misdemeanor offense in the State of California, it is important to understand the steps that will occur in a misdemeanor DUI case. Depending on the severity of your offense (i.e., first, second or third DUI) you may have the option of letting your San Mateo misdemeanor attorney appear in court on your behalf.
Misdemeanor Arraignment in San Mateo
The first step in the process of a misdemeanor case is the arraignment. At the time, the defendant is required to enter his plea: not guilty, guilty, or no contest. It is technically possible that the judge can order you to be present at this stage of the case. This usually occurs when there is a high blood alcohol concentration allegation, i.e., over a .15 BAC or you have a prior DUI conviction within the past 10 years.
At arraignment, the defense must be informed of the nature of the charges against, as well his, the defendant’s right to counsel and trial rights. After the defendant enters a plea, usually, not guilty, the discovery process also begins, i.e., the prosecution must release information to the defense, such as police reports, DUI chemical test results, etc. Additionally, from here on out the defense is able to begin filing defense related motions in your case, i.e., warrantless detention and arrest or blood draw.
Be wary of an attorney who wants you to have a signed plea form and plead you out at arraignment. This can lead to a finding of guilty when you may have defenses. The Redwood City DUI attorneys at Ahmed & Sukaram, don’t plead clients out at arraignment unless there is a specific and identifiable tactical advantage to doing so.
Usually, at the arraignment the DUI case is set for a pre-trial conference, wherein the D.A. and the defense lawyer get together to discuss a possible resolution of your case. In some counties, such as San Mateo County, the judge is involved in the pre-trial conference, whereby the court indicates a sentence based upon the plea bargain that the defense lawyer and the district attorney are able to work out. If no acceptable deal can be worked out at this stage of the proceedings, then the defendant’s case will likely be set or confirmed for trial.
Misdemeanor Jury Trial
If the prosecution and defense are unable to agree to a resolution, then the case will be set for either a court trial or a jury trial. In a DUI case, we believe that you should probably have a jury trial as opposed to a court trial. Since you can face serious consequences, including jail time in your DUI case, it is best to be represented by a San Mateo DUI defense attorney who has extensive litigation experience – like the trial lawyers at Ahmed & Sukaram. A trial can be beneficial for the defendant because even if you don’t win your case you can get a better sentencing outcome than if you pled guilty or no contest prior to trial.
During the trial, each side is allowed to present their arguments, call witnesses, and provide testimony. Your San Mateo criminal defense lawyer will be allowed to cross-examine the prosecution’s witness including police officers and government paid lab experts. Additionally, you can present your own expert witness testimony, testify in your own defense, and call your own witness in your defense. If you are found not guilty at trial then you are free from the criminal accusations against you, i.e., double jeopardy applies and you can never be prosecuted for this offense again.
Sentencing in a Misdemeanor Case
If you are found guilty at trial, or you enter a plea of no contest or guilty prior to a jury verdict, then the next stage of the case is sentencing. The court can order a defendant to be present at sentencing. At sentencing the court can punish a convicted DUI driver jail time, fines, probation, and driver’s license suspension.
Appealing Your San Mateo DUI Misdemeanor Case
In California, defendants have the right to appeal a conviction and the appeals process can continue long after you have been found guilty. You may be able to obtain a stay of execution of sentence pending appeal, i.e., not have to serve the punishment until the appeal is finalized. Moreover, in a misdemeanor case you are entitled to bail as a matter of right pending appeal, i.e., you can fight your appeal while you are out of custody. There are many grounds for appeal and an experienced and skilled San Mateo DUI defense lawyer at Ahmed & Sukaram can protect your rights to an appeal and fight for your freedom.
San Mateo DUI Defense Lawyers
At Ahmed & Sukaram, our San Mateo DUI defense lawyers have the skills and knowledge necessary to defend your DUI case in the State of California. If you are charged with DUI in the State of California, contact the dynamic legal team of Ahmed & Sukaram immediately. We are ready to fight for you and your family-no matter how serious the DUI charges are against you. You are not alone-call Ahmed & Sukaram today at 877-337-0697 or email us through this site in order to set up a no obligation consultation. If you prefer to video chat, please connect with us using Skype at Nafiz.Ahmed59.