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DUI Criminal Process

As good starting point, the laws on the books regarding " driving under the influence", often referred to as DUI,  or "driving while intoxicated", have completely revolutionized the nature, implications, and honed legal defense skills required of drunk driving cases.  An attorney or law firm that spreads
their defense practice across a broad spectrum of crimes cannot possibly be prepared for all the scientific aspects, technicalities, and delicate intricacies regarding this complex branch of law.  DUI Defense in itself is now considered a specialization by The American Bar Association.

Exclusive Placer County DUI Defense Specialization: As a member of the
California DUI Lawyers Association/span> and a Member of the National College for DUI Defense, The DUI Defense Law Firm of Michael Phillips is unparalleled in its qualifications, competence, and proven consistency in successfully
challenging drunk driving cases in Placer County.

The following information is provided to prepare my clients to potentialize the most favorable outcome in their battle against the state of California.

DMV Side of Your Placer County Drunk Driving Case:

If you have retained our DUI Specialized Defense services to represent your driving under the influence case, we will do the initial DMV contact to arrange an Administrative Per Se Hearing and challenge the projected suspension of your driver's license.


In opposition of almost every Drunk Driving case, unlike most attorneys who appear By telephone, we appear personally at the hearing. We will subpoena the arresting police officer to your DMV hearing to cross-examine him or her and challenge their background, related training, experience concerning DUI cases, particular testing methods and implementation, their procedural adherence, as well as any other factors that could impact the validity of the DUI charges against you. In most driving under the influence cases there will be only one DMV hearing session, however, depending on unusual criteria, extenuating circumstances, or the number of witnesses to be heard, there could be several DMV hearings necessary to address special issues in your particular case. Your attendance at the DMV hearing is optional.

Criminal Side of Your Placer County DUI Case:

Your first court appearance concerning the criminal DUI charges against you will be for an "arraignment". At this initial hearing, you will be formally advised of the Complaint against you By the State, and you will be requested to enter a plea; guilty, not guilty, or no contest. At the arraignment, our office will either enter a "not guilty" plea on your behalf, or we may decide it advantageous to continue your arraignment to allow us more time to investigate and analyze specific circumstances surrounding your case.

At this first court session, we will obtain copies of the Complaint against you, as well as the police report taken at the time of your DUI arrest.

Extenuating Circumstances:   In concluding your DUI arraignment, the judge could exercise his or her prerogative to impose conditions on you while your case is pending, although this is not typically customary in first time DUI cases in Placer County unless there are enhancements or allegations for accidents, injuries, or high blood alcohol levels. For defendants who have prior DUI convictions and are considered multiple offenders, vehicular manslaughter cases, felony or aggravated DUI charges, the judge could opt to subject you to court ordered attendance at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings or a rehabilitative treatment program, impose a higher bail amount, require an ignition interlock device be installed in your vehicle, or take some other measure of jurisdiction over more serious drunk driving crimes.

Pretrial Conference:   Following your DUI arraignment, we will schedule the next sequential court appearance for your case; a pretrial conference. The pretrial conference, as its name implies, precedes your court trial and provides an opportunity for us to request and be provided the evidence against you, negotiate the strengths and weaknesses of your case, and schedule future court appearances. It is not unusual for there to be several pretrial conferences over a several month time period.

The DUI Discovery Process:   Following your initial pretrial conference, in preparation for your court trial, we will implement a discovery process which includes investigative requests on the law enforcement agencies, crime labs, witnesses, and prosecution entities involved in your drunk driving case. This discovery process may encompass several court appearances and span several months. The objective of this phase of your case is to secure all significant elements of evidence against you, study the strength of the prosecution's case, and where beneficial for you, explore a pretrial resolution of your charges. These pretrial discovery objectives can be met in one, or up to a dozen conferences, depending upon varying factors pertinent to your case's particular circumstances.

Pretrial Motions:   At the Pretrial Motions hearing of your DUI case, our primary purpose will be to challenge the admissibility of the prosecution's evidence against you, with the objective of having it excluded from permissible evidence during the Jury Trial phase of your case. Evidence we will seek to prevent disclosure of will include some or all of your blood and breath test results, your observed performance when subjected to field sobriety tests, any adverse statements or admissions you may have made at the time of your arrest, and any contraband confiscated during a search of your vehicle. A strong Pretrials Motions filing on your behalf could compel the prosecution to offer an advantageous plea bargain resolution of your DUI charges, or result in a complete dismissal of the drunk driving allegations against you.

THE PLACER COUNTY DUI JURY TRIAL:   In summation, if an attractive settlement of your DUI case has not yet been proposed By the prosecution and agreed upon By your Defense Team, a Jury Trial date will be scheduled. Our first trying objectives will be the suppression and elimination of admissible evidence against you; if the facts surrounding your DUI arrest are excluded from the Jury's consideration, then they cannot be taken into account when deliberating your guilt or innocence. Typically, the DUI jury trials fought By our firm will last from three to five days, and are considered lengthy due to their scientific and technical nature. Our primary objective will be to exclude, preclude, and limit the evidence presentable to the Jury. Consecutively, we commence Jury selection, otherwise known as "voir dire process".

Jury Selection:   In the State of California, your Jury will consist of twelve carefully selected persons, and one or two alternate jurors, as substitutes, should the need arise. In order for the prosecution to obtain a conviction in your case, all twelve jurors must be in accordance in the belief that you are guilty of DUI beyond a reasonable doubt. If one juror maintains any reservation at all about your probable guilt of DUI, a "hung jury" will result and your case will be declared a mistrial. During the Jury selection process, questions are posed to prospective jurors to reveal possible bias or prejudices, and to assess their fitness to help fairly weigh the legal factors in your DUI case.

Burden of Proof:   Once a jury is seated, opening statements By both the prosecutor and your defense attorney commence, and the prosecution will begin to call testimony from their witnesses, as they bear the burden of proving your guilt for DUI. Typically, your arresting police officer will be the first to take the witness stand, followed By the witness whom administered your blood or breath alcohol test, and then the State's forensic toxicologist to provide the jury with expert testimony regarding alcohol's physiological effects, and the proper methods and procedures for administering the chemical tests used to measure your blood alcohol concentration.

Cross Examination:   Once the prosecution has rested its case, our skilled cross-examination of your arresting police officer and the forensic toxicologist will embark us on a rigorous and convincing process of discrediting your DUI charges to the court.

Defense Testimony:   As your defense team, we will successively call to the stand our own witnesses, such as your companions or passengers at the time of your arrest, police officers or witnesses not called on By the prosecution, our own forensic toxicology expert, and perhaps a private investigator, to shed an incredulous perspective on the State's case against you.

Closing Arguments:   Following our testimony, the prosecution will be allowed to call rebuttal witnesses preceding the Judge's instructions to the Jury for discerning your case. After the closing argument between the prosecution and your defense counsel, the jury will commence deliberation of your case in an attempt to reach a verdict, either guilty or not guilty. If the twelve jurors fail to reach a unanimous decision regarding your guilt or innocence based on the facts presented during your trial, a mistrial will be declared, otherwise known as a "hung jury".

Please feel free to contact our office at 800.978.0186 or for answers to any questions you may have about DUI charges or arrests.