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An arrest in Yolo County for driving under the influence initiates two separate actions, the Court case and the DMV case.  In the court case context, what occurs after arrest is that the police report is reviewed by the District Attorney, who makes the decision on whether to file criminal charges, and if so, which charges are appropriate. Most people arrested for a DUI, are ultimately charged with a DUI in court. From this point there is generally a court date around 45-60 days out from the arrest date.

This court date will be held in Department 9. This court date is purely the arraignment. On misdemeanor cases, there is generally not a District Attorney even present to negotiate. There are circumstances where the District Attorney can be contacted prior to charges being filed or after charges have been filed, but prior to the arraignment, but it is not extremely common. At the arraignment date, the Court will inform you which charges you are facing. Generally, these will be the same you were arrested for, but that is certainly not a guarantee.

The Court will then inform the defendant if the District Attorney has made an offer in the case, however as stated earlier, if your DUI Attorney wishes to negotiate further, the case will be continued for another court date, generally 2-4 weeks out, for the purpose of negotiations.  Of course, any successful attorney will tell you that a lot of negotiations will occur right after that court date, via phone with the D.A assigned to your case. After that it is a matter of obtaining and analyzing all of the relevant evidence and executing whatever plan of attack the evidence provides.

In regards to the arraignment, if the defendant is charged with a misdemeanor offense of driving under the influence, the defendant can appear through counsel. In other words, your attorney can go to court for you.  There are certain exceptions to this rule, and there can be times when it is advantageous for the client to appear, but for the most part, private attorneys appear in court for their clients, it is a common practice and it is not frowned upon by the Court or the District Attorney when it happens.

With the DMV, a hearing must be set within 10 days of the arrest date.   The DMV will mail the police report to either the defendant or the DUI Lawyer as soon as the DMV receives it themselves.  This provides a great opportunity to review the report before the actual court date, allowing for solid preparation going into the court system.  The DMV hearing does not follow the same rules of evidence that the court system uses, and should only be conducted by an attorney familiar with the procedure of the hearings. These hearing can be won, but it takes knowledge of how the DMV hearing system works and a strong defense based on solid preparation.

Generally, a DUI arrest will lead to two particular criminal charges. The first, is a violation of Vehicle Code 23152(a) – driving while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. The second, is Vehicle Code 23152(b), driving with a blood alcohol content of a 0.08% or more. This charge, Vehicle Code 23152(b), deals specifically with the blood alcohol level at the time of driving. In order to be found guilty of this offense, the prosecution has to show that you were driving, and while you were driving your blood alcohol level was a 0.08% or more. So this charge is all about the numbers.
The first charge discussed, Vehicle Code 23152(a), does not deal with numbers. It either deals with drugs, or alcohol, or a combination of both. Therefore, even if the blood alcohol level is below a 0.08%, this charge can stick. The prosecution has to show that you were driving under the influence, and if the argument is alcohol, and the blood alcohol level is below a 0.08%, the prosecution will argue other evidence to obtain the conviction, such as poor driving, poor performance on the fields sobriety tests, or the arresting officers observations of slurred speech, blood shot eyes, etc. Obviously, if the blood alcohol level is below a 0.08%, especially if it is significantly so, the prosecution has a much tougher case. But, there is a popular misconception the general public has that if the blood alcohol level is below a 0.08%, the case will get dropped, and that is simply not true. The prosecution will simply attempt to convict based on Vehicle Code 23152(a), or they will argue that the blood alcohol level was higher at the actual time of driving, as opposed to when the chemical test was taken, whether that chemical test is a breath or a blood test.
The charges above will generally be the charges in court, but that does not mean that the charges will not get reduced or dismissed in its entirety. The prosecution will generally not charge an individual with a violation of Vehicle Code 23103.5, commonly referred to as a “Wet Reckless.” This charge normally has to be negotiated. Woodland DUI Lawyer Michael Rehm has significant experience in negotiating and fighting driving under the influence cases in Yolo County. Having a DUI Attorney that is familiar with the law, defenses, and penalties of DUI Defense is necessary for any defendant in these cases, especially one that desires an acquittal, dismissal or just overall damage control.

Yolo County DUI Attorney Michael Rehm offers free, confidential consultations at (916) 233-7346.  Yolo County encompasses the communities of Davis, Woodland, West Sacramento and Winters, California.


Warning: A hearing with the California DMV needs to be set within 10 days of arrest for a DUI. The number to set such hearing is (916) 227-2970.



Additional Information on Yolo and Surrounding Counties:


Sacramento DUI Lawyer

Marin County DUI Attorney