DUI and Child Endangerment
If a child under the age of 14 years was a passenger at the time you were arrested for a DUI, you will be subject to an additional two days of jail time under California Vehicle Code section 23572.
If the this is your second offense within ten years, the child endangerment enhancement adds ten additional days in jail. If this is your second or third DUI within ten years, then you may be sentenced to even more additional jail time.
Depending on the specific facts of your case, the District Attorney’s Office may charge you with a separate charge of abusing or endangering the health of a child.
A DUI conviction with a child endangerment enhancement may affect other aspects of your life such as custody of your child, your job, and your privilege to drive. It is critical to be represented by the best defense attorneys to mitigate these potential consequences of being convicted of child endangerment. Please enter your name and telephone number in the contact form to schedule an consultation with an attorney today.Read More
Cases at the Pleasanton Gale-Schenone Hall of Justice
As DUI defense and criminal defense attorneys in the Bay Area, we find ourselves at the Pleasanton Gale-Schenone Courthouse very often.
Quick entry. This courthouse has one of the fastest entries in all of California. Even at peak times, you can get to your court room in under ten minutes. Even the parking is great with plenty of spaces.
On time, on point. The DUI and misdemeanor criminal arraignment calendar starts on time, and has no sympathy for being late, or being sloppy dressed. Defendants have been removed from court for wearing shorts or tank tops. Putting the judge in a bad mood affects everyone, and makes it difficult to show that you are a law abiding citizen if you don’t follow the dress rules in court.
Judge calls the calendar. This is a rare event in California courts. Generally, the clerk or the defense attorneys will ask the judge to call a particular case. In the Pleasanton courthouse, the judge will call and hear the case when the judge is ready to hear it – making early preparation that much more important.
Defendant present. The Pleasanton courthouse is unique in that judges often require that the defendant be present during certain court hearings such as DUI pleas.
The Pleasanton court calendars are not very long – generally only about two or three hours. Pretrial conferences are often done in a conference room with a deputy District Attorney. There may be a conference in judge’s chambers between defense counsel and the prosecutor. As far as Alameda County judges are concerned, they tend to be harsher on drug offenders, and lighter on first time DUI cases.Read More
Cases at the San Jose Hall of Justice
As DUI defense and criminal defense attorneys based in San Jose, we have an intimate understanding with DUI cases at the Hall of Justice in San Jose. This office appears at the Hall of Justice (also known as “the HOJ”) at least a few times per month.
Get to court 60 minutes early. It is probably best to point out the painfully obvious: the Hall of Justice in San Jose has 13 different court rooms going at the same time, and ONE operational metal detector. Not surprisingly, the result is a line without shade or shelter that goes all the way to Hedding Street. No doubt, this is due to the ongoing court budget cutbacks. However, judges are generally not interested in when you get to the line – they are only interested in when you get to their department.
The elevator is not an option if you have a misdemeanor charge. The misdemeanor departments are on the North end of the courthouse arranged with four court rooms per floor on five floors with only ONE court room on the first floor. While there are two elevators that service the misdemeanor wing of the courthouse, only one is available to the public. The stairs are located to the right of the elevators. Walking up four flights of stairs is great cardio for defense counsel.
Know your line number before you walk in. There is usually a list of cases on a bulletin board (commonly referred to as a “calendar”) next to the door of the court room. Find your name on the list, and remember the number as you walk in the court room.
Check in with the bailiff when you get to your department. Be polite, but be brief. Your interaction with the bailiff should go like this: “Good afternoon. Line 8, checking in.” Then find a seat, take off your hat and sunglasses, turn your phone off, and relax.
Forms, forms, forms. The Hall of Justice is no stranger to paperwork. Your attorney will come in handy when it’s time to fill out forms like change of plea forms, DUI plea forms, Wet reckless forms, etc. The clerk also hands out “minute orders” that reflect what happened in court that day. It takes a trained eye to ensure that these forms are accurate. If the order needs revision, your attorney will have your case recalled and the minute order fixed.
The Hall of Justice calendars can be long, so it’s best to plan on being there for at least four hours. Pretrial conferences are often heard at the bench with the judge individually. Generally, there are no conferences in judge’s chambers. When time permits, there may be some discussion with the DA at the prosecutor’s table. Santa Clara judges are generally “middle of the road” – not as harsh as judges in San Benito County or Contra Costa County, and not as lenient as San Francisco County.Read More
Alternative Programs to Jail Time
Nobody wants to go to jail, and your attorney should know how to keep you out of jail. Depending on the crime you are charged with, your attorney may be able to argue for jail alternative programs that eliminate or limit jail time.
These are among the most common alternative sentencing programs:
- Sheriff’s work alternative program (SWAP). This is the most common jail alternative program in the Bay Area. In a work alternative program, the defendant can serve the jail sentence by participating in a public service work project. Common examples include picking up trash in a public area (like a park or school), cleaning graffiti, and removing litter from the freeway. Most programs allow the defendant to go home after working an eight hour day. More severe programs require the defendant to spend nights in jail.
- Work furlough program or school furlough program. In a work furlough program, the defendant goes to work or school during the day, but returns to jail to spend the night. This jail alternative program is utilized when the jail sentence is too long for SWAP, and the defendant has a full time job.
- Electronic monitoring program (EMP). This is commonly known as “house arrest.” With an EMP, the defendant is allowed to serve his or her sentence at home and is monitored through either GPS technology or electronic monitoring. For electronic monitoring, the offender must have a basic service telephone line installed in their house and pay up to $100/day for the service.This is the most popular jail alternative program for defendants who can afford it.
- Weekender program. In a weekender jail program, the defendant is allowed to serve his or her jail sentence over the weekends. Some programs do not require overnight confinement.
- Community Service Work. In rare instances, defendants are allowed to serve their sentences at non-profit or charity organizations such as the Red Cross, local animal shelter, homeless shelter or ASPCA. These jail alternative programs are usually reserved for infractions, drug crimes, and low level misdemeanors.
The facts of your case will determine which program is available to you. Before taking a plea or agreeing to a particular program, it is best to discuss all of your options with an attorney.Read More
The Decision to plead “Guilty” or “No Contest” can Effect Subsequent Civil Cases in California
We live in a litigious society where civil law suits commonly follow criminal cases. Pleading “guilty” or “no contest” can have an effect on a subsequent civil case relating to your criminal matter. A jury verdict, or a plea of “guilty” in a criminal case can have collateral estoppel effect in a civil case. A plea of “no contest” to a misdemeanor criminal offense may have no collateral estoppel effect in a later civil proceeding. See Pease v Pease (1988) 201 CA3d 29. In contrast, a prior conviction resulting from a criminal trial that litigated the same issues as the subsequent civil case may have collateral estoppel effect.
Collateral estoppel precludes a party from litigating the same issues in a second action against the same party in a later proceeding.
Collateral estoppel is met when (1) A claim or issue raised in the present action is identical to a claim or issue litigated in a prior proceeding; (2) the prior proceeding resulted in a final judgment on the merits; and (3) the party whom the doctrine is being asserted against was a party or in the prior proceeding.
An administrative agency’s (like the California DMV) decision favoring a defendant will be given collateral estoppel effect in a criminal court when the agency decision was reached in a judicial-like adversary proceeding that gave both parties the opportunity to fully litigate the issue with a final agency decision on the merits. For example, the dismissal of a criminal case by the District Attorney’s Office can have a collateral estoppel effect against the DMV license revocation proceeding.
Before entering a plea in any criminal case, it is always best to consult with an attorney who can advise you on your legal rights. Please call our office at (408) 816-2311.Read More
How to Find the Best DUI Defense Attorney
The following holds true if you’re looking for a criminal or drunk driving defense attorney in San Jose, or any other city in California. The most effective way to find the best attorney is to ask him or her the following questions.
Ask how many jury trials they’ve had. Criminal law involves heavy trial work. Taking a case to jury trial verdict provides attorneys with unparalleled experience in understanding evidence, risk management, and case evaluation skills.
Ask how they would handle the details of your case. A good defense attorney should be able to formulate a game plan according to the facts of your case. There could be an evidence suppression issue, a recanting witness testimony issue, an identity issue, rising blood alcohol issue, alcohol test equipment calibration issue, time of driving issue, or a myriad of possible problems with the prosecution’s case. The best defense attorneys identify and attack weaknesses in the case against you.
Ask about experience they’ve had working as a police officer, prosecutor, or a public defender. A large part of an effective defense attorney is knowing the inner workings of the criminal justice system. Experience in the courtroom that your case will be held in is also important. After all, a good attorney knows the law. A great attorney knows the judge.
To speak with a DUI defense attorney today, call 408-816-2311.
What to do when you have to go to court for the first time
Court dates at the Hall of Justice tend to sneak up on people. If you have a court date tomorrow, and you don’t have an attorney, then this article was written for you.
- Get to court early. The doors at the Hall of Justice open at 8:30am. If you are late to your first court date, you run the risk of the Judge issuing an arrest warrant if they call your name and you aren’t there. Of course, if you hired an attorney before your first court date, you may not have to attend court at all.
2. Dress appropriately. Courtrooms in San Jose, Fremont, and Morgan Hill have fairly strict dress codes. People who are wearing shorts, or tank tops have been kicked out of the courtroom. It’s best to wear slacks, a collared shirt, and dress shoes. If you have a tie, or a suit – you should wear it to court.
3. Know what to say, and don’t say the wrong thing. Your first court date is NOT going to determine your innocence or guilt in your case. People often confuse Superior Court with TV Court where cases are resolved in one day. Everything you say in the courtroom can be used against you in your case. Saying the wrong thing can result in harsh penalties. The right thing to say is “I want to talk to an attorney.” Period. Say nothing else. Saying that you want to talk to an attorney will not negatively affect your case in any way.
4. Talk to an attorney. It’s best to talk to a lawyer before your court date. The attorneys at the Bay Area Law Center are available to talk to you – even the night before your court date, or even the same day of your court date. Our call center is open 24 hours a day. Even if you’re reading this at the court house, walk to the hallway and call (408) 816-2311. We might be able to send an attorney down to the courthouse right away.Read More
What to do after you get arrested for a DUI
Getting arrested for a DUI in the Bay Area can be a scary experience, especially when you are unsure what will happen next.
Here’s a rundown of what your first steps should be after a DUI arrest:
1.Call the Bay Area Law Center: Although defendants (ie. people going to court to fight a DUI charge) have the option of representing themselves, it’s best to work with an experienced DUI attorney who is knowledgeable in California law and will be your advocate during this stressful time.
2. Review Your License Suspension Case with Your Attorney: After a DUI arrest in California, the DMV automatically conducts an administrative review to determine the length of your license suspension. If you’re over the age of 21 and this is your first DUI, it’s likely that your license will be suspended without a proper defense. If you have prior offenses, the suspension may be longer. Depending on the circumstances of each individual case, you may be granted a restricted license during the suspension period. However, you and your attorney can fight the DMV’s license suspension decision.
3. Your Attorney Will Request a DMV Hearing: Within 10 days of your arrest, you have the right to request a hearing from the DMV to challenge a license suspension order. Deadlines are extremely important in the driver’s license defense, so if you miss the 10 day window to request a hearing, your license is automatically suspended and it is difficult to reopen the case without good cause.
4. Your Attorney Will Appear at Your Arraignment Court Date: After being released from jail, you will be issued an arraignment court date. This is separate from the DMV hearing. You, or your attorney, must show up to court on that date or risk having the judge issue a warrant for your arrest. Appearing before a judge can be nerve wrecking, but having a lawyer from the Bay Area Law Center on your side will ensure that your freedom is protected, and that the hearing goes smoothly. The lawyer will also help you with necessary paperwork and explain each step of the DUI proceeding. In most cases, your lawyer can represent you at your first hearing without you being present. Your attorney will also work with the District Attorney in an effort to overturn or reduce your DUI charges under California law.
You don’t have to face your DUI arrest alone. The experienced attorneys at the Bay Area Law Center have a deep understanding of California DUI laws and can help you through the next steps of the legal process to ensure you are given the best representation. Call our attorneys at (408) 816-2311 for a free consultationRead More