DUI Information

Law Offices of Ahren A. Tiller

Available 24 Hours a Day, 7 Days a Week

San Diego City: 1-619-236-3408

North County: 1-760-520-3725

DUI Court Process:

Driving under the influence, a violation of California Vehicle Code section 23152(a) and (b) can be charged as a Misdemeanor offense or as a Felony depending on whether the offense involved an accident with injuries, whether children were in the vehicle, or whether the defendant had previous convictions for Driving under the influence within the last ten (10) years.


Misdemeanor DUIís:

Misdemeanor crimes are generally punishable by a maximum base fine of $1000 (not including fees and assessments) and/or a county jail term of one year or less. However, some offenses exceed these general criteria; for example, spousal abuse can carry a $6000 maximum fine. Common examples of misdemeanor violations include petty theft, prostitution, vandalism, and drunk driving.


  1. An arrest is made - police take the defendant to jail. Three things can happen:
    1. The defendant is released - no charges are filed.
    2. The defendant posts bail/bond or is released on his or her own recognizance ("O.R.") and is scheduled for arraignment.
    3. The defendant remains in the custody and is transported to court for arraignment.

  2. Arraignment - The misdemeanor arraignment is the defendant's first appearance in court. The following events occur:
    1. The defendant is informed of the charges against him or her.
    2. The defendant is advised of his or her constitutional rights.
    3. If the defendant cannot afford an attorney of his or her own choice, an attorney is appointed by the court.
    4. The defendant enters a plea of guilty, not guilty or no contest.
      • Not Guilty: The defendant states that he or she did not commit the crime.
      • Guilty: The defendant admits that he or she committed the crime and is in effect, convicted.
      • No Contest: Also known as "Nolo Contendere." The defendant does not contest the charge. This plea has the same effect as a guilty plea, except that the subsequent conviction cannot be used against the defendant as evidence of liability in a civil suit.

    5. The defendant is released on his or her "Own Recognizance," or the court sets bail and the defendant is remanded/committed to the custody of the Sheriff.

  3. Pretrial/Readiness
  4. At the pretrial hearing, there is an exchange of information between the prosecution and the defense known as discovery. Pretrial motions may also be filed before the start of the trial. Motions may be made to set aside the complaint, to dismiss the case, to suppress evidence, etc. The defendant may at this point change his or her plea to guilty or no contest.


  5. Jury Trial
  6. Section 1382 of the Penal Code specifies the time periods within which a defendant charged with a misdemeanor must be brought to trial.

    If the defendant is in custody at the time of arraignment, the trial must begin within 30 days (four weeks plus two days) of arraignment or plea, whichever is later. If the defendant is not in custody at the time of arraignment, the trial must begin within 45 days (six weeks plus three days) of arraignment or plea, whichever is later.

    If the defendant waives the right to a speedy trial (enters a time waiver or "waives time") or requests/consents to the case being set beyond the statutory periods, the court must begin the trial within ten days of the day the case is set or continued for trial.

    Before a trial can begin, a jury must be selected. During the trial, witnesses may testify and evidence will be presented. At the conclusion of the trial, the jury must decide if the defendant is guilty or not guilty. If the jury finds the defendant is not guilty, he or she is released and cannot be tried again for the same crime. If the defendant is found guilty, the case will be continued for sentencing, or the defendant may be sentenced immediately. The defendant may appeal a conviction to the Appellate Department of the Superior Court.


  7. Court Trial
  8. In lieu of a jury trial, the parties may agree to proceed with a court trial, in which the judge hears the evidence and arguments and finds the defendant guilty or not guilty.


Felony DUIís:

Felony violations of Driving under the Influence are punishable by a sentence to state prison term.

  1. An arrest is made - police take the defendant to jail. Three things can happen:
    1. SThe defendant is released - no charges are filed.
    2. The defendant posts bail/bond or is released on his or her own recognizance ("O.R.") and is scheduled for arraignment.
    3. The defendant remains in the custody and is transported to court for arraignment.


  2. Arraignment - A felony arraignment on the complaint is the defendant's first court appearance. The following events occur:
    1. The defendant is informed of the charges against him or her.
    2. The defendant is advised of his or her constitutional rights.
    3. If the defendant cannot afford an attorney of his or her own choice, an attorney is appointed by the court.
    4. The defendant enters a plea of guilty, not guilty or no contest.
      • Not Guilty: The defendant states that he or she did not commit the crime.
      • Guilty: The defendant admits that he or she committed the crime and is in effect, convicted.
      • No Contest: Also known as "Nolo Contendere." The defendant does not contest the charge. This plea has the same effect as a guilty plea, except that the subsequent conviction cannot be used against the defendant as evidence of liability in a civil suit.
    5. The court sets bail and the defendant is remanded to custody, or the defendant is released on his or her "Own Recognizance" or "O.R."

  3. Pretrial/Readiness
  4. A preliminary hearing is held to determine if there is sufficient evidence for the judge to reasonably infer that the defendant committed the crime and should therefore be "held over" for trial.

    Once a defendant is "held to answer," the prosecuting agency files a document called the Information. The defendant will subsequently be arraigned on the Information at which time he or she will enter a plea and proceed to trial.


  5. Jury Trial
  6. Section 1382 of the Penal Code specifies the time periods within which a defendant charged with a felony must be brought to trial.

    The Information must be filed within 15 days of the date the defendant was "held to answer" at the preliminary hearing.

    The trial must begin within 60 days of the arraignment on the Information, unless the defendant enters a general waiver of the statutory time requirement or requests/consents to a date beyond the 60-day period.

    Before a trial can begin, a jury must be selected. During the trial, witnesses may testify and evidence will be presented. At the conclusion of the trial, the jury must decide if the defendant is guilty or not guilty. If the jury finds the defendant is not guilty, he or she is released and cannot be tried again for the same crime. If the defendant is found guilty, the case will be continued for sentencing, or the defendant may be sentenced immediately. The defendant may appeal a conviction to the Court of Appeal of the State of California.

  7. Court Trial
  8. In lieu of a jury trial, the defendant may agree to proceed with a court trial, in which the judge hears the evidence and arguments and finds the defendant guilty or not guilty.

Available 24 Hours A Day, 7 Days A Week

San Diego City: 1-619-236-3408

North County : 1-760-520-3725

© The Law Offices of Ahren A. Tiller - San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney & DUI Lawyer

Disclaimer: The information on this website in regards to DUI, DWI, DMV, criminal defense, drug, juvenile, probation, assault, robbery, grand theft, murder, manslaughter, federal and or any other criminal defense related topics should NOT be taken as formal legal advice or the exact advice of Ahren A. Tiller. For professional legal advice please contact lawyer Ahren A. Tiller and set up a free consultation. San Diego Office: 1-619-236-3408 or North County: 1-760-520-3725.

San Diego

1-619-236-3408

Law Offices of

Ahren A. Tiller

North County

1-760-520-3725