Los Angeles DUI Pretrials
After a defendant who has been charged with driving under the influence has pleaded “not guilty” at his or her DUI arraignment hearing, the next court appearance that usually occurs is the pretrial hearing. A pretrial hearing is a formal court appearance in which the defense and the prosecution will meet and exchange evidence. The parties may attempt to resolve the case and deal with potential issues that may come up at trial. There may be one pretrial or there may be several, depending on the specific facts of the case. Pretrials are a very important part of the DUI process and many cases resolve at this stage.DUI Discovery Material
At Pretrial hearings, the defense will usually receive most of the additional discovery material that has been requested. At arraignment, the prosecution usually only provides a copy of the criminal complaint and the police reports. The prosecution does have an obligation to turn over relevant discovery material and the defense usually files a request seeking specific items. In a typical DUI case, this may include patrol car dashcam videos, audio recordings of witness interviews or 911 calls, dispatch recordings and logs, Breathalyzer and PAS maintenance and calibration records, chain of custody reports for blood samples and any photographs taken by law enforcement. In addition, the defense may also turn over evidence to the prosecution.
In some courts, the pretrial judge is the same judge who handled the arraignment. In others, the case is sent to a different judge for pretrial. Usually, the judge at pretrial would be the judge who would preside over the DUI trial if the case is unable to resolve. During the pretrial hearing, the judge will want to check on the status of the case in order to see if the case is likely to resolve without a trial. Some discovery items, such as dashcam videos, can take longer to come in than others, and it may be necessary to hold several pretrial hearings while discovery is still ongoing.Showing Proof of Compliance
During pretrial hearings, the defendant would be expected to show proof of compliance with any conditions of release that were assigned by the judge at arraignment. For defendants with high BACs, prior convictions, collisions or other unusual circumstances, the Court may require that the defendant show proof that he or she is attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings each week. If the defendant fails to provide proof of AA attendance, the judge can revoke the “O.R.” release and the defendant could be taken into custody and may be required to post bail. Additionally, if the defendant commits a new offense or violates the terms of release, he or she could be taken into custody.
There may be a number of issues that need to be resolved at the pretrial stage. The defense may file a suppression motion challenging the vehicle stop or arrest of the defendant. A hearing on the motion will usually be held at a pretrial hearing. If the defendant’s motion is granted, the judge will suppress all evidence resulting from the unlawful stop or search and the prosecution would likely dismiss the case as they would be unable to proceed. There may also be formal discovery motions to deal with any evidence that had been requested but not turned over.
Under the law, attorneys can appear on behalf of their clients for misdemeanor pretrial hearings. While the Penal Code does allow the court to order defendants to appear personally for arraignments and pleas on DUI cases, a DUI defendant is entitled to have his or her attorney appear for a pretrial. This would not apply to defendants who have been charged with a felony DUI offense and who are required to appear personally for all court dates.
If you have been charged with a DUI offense, it is critical that you meet with a Los Angeles DUI Attorney as soon as possible. Even if your case is already at the pretrial stage, having a skilled DUI Los Angeles Attorney handling your case is imperative. As a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience, Lawyer Michael Kraut understands how to best defend clients who have been charged with DUI.
For more information about Los Angeles DUI pretrials, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1480, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.