Court Process

DUI Court Process

Larry understands better than most how the Los Angeles criminal court system works. In all likelihood, he has worked with the prosecutor and the judge you will be facing, and knows their preferences, quirks, and the best ways to interact with them. This combination of experience and intuition can be priceless when it comes to your criminal case.

Although no two DUI cases are exactly the same, they typically involve the same basic steps. These are summarized below so that you can better understand what is involved.


This is your first court appearance, typically scheduled within a few days of your arrest. If you have been charged with misdemeanor DUI in Los Angeles, your attorney can appear on your behalf. This is the opportunity for either you or your attorney to enter a plea of “guilty,” “not guilty,” or “no contest.” If you plead “guilty” – and we do not recommend that you do – you will be sentenced and the case will be closed. If you plead “not guilty,” you will be given access to all of the prosecution’s evidence and your attorney can begin developing a defense strategy for your trial. The more experience your attorney has, the more tools he or she will have to build your defense.

Pre-Trial Motions

This is typically the longest phase of your court process, and it may last weeks or months. A dedicated, experienced DUI attorney will spend this time aggressively examining every detail of the case against you. This may involve visiting the scene, evaluating the efficacy of the testing equipment, or any number of other investigatory techniques.

“Pre-trials” are court dates that allow your attorney to check in with the judge and negotiate in person with the prosecutor. These motion hearings take place before the trial date to address any questions or concerns that have come up through your attorney’s investigation. Examples of pre-trial motions include hearings to investigate the validity of your initial traffic stop, to suppress evidence that may have been obtained illegally, and to learn more about the arresting officer and his/her complaint history.

Plea Bargaining

After your attorney has thoroughly investigated all of the evidence against you, consulted with expert witnesses, and conducted pre-trial motions, he or she will begin to negotiate on your behalf. A skilled DUI attorney will successfully emphasize the flaws in the case against you, causing the prosecution to re-think its position. This is another area in which the experience of a dedicated DUI attorney comes into play. Having been through the process countless times, Larry understands the psychology of negotiation, the personalities involved, and many other “intangibles” which will influence the outcome of plea bargaining. The goal is to get the prosecution to offer reduced or even dismissed charges.


The vast majority of DUI cases can be resolved without going to trial. Should your case go to trial, you have the choice of a jury trial or a bench trial (one in which the judge determines the verdict). The process may be extremely lengthy, and can be broken into the following phases:

  • Jury selection
  • Opening statements
  • Prosecution case
  • Defense case
  • Closing statements
  • Verdict

Get Help Now

Clearly, DUI criminal charges are not something you want to handle on your own. Even a competent, well-intentioned attorney or public defender may not have the experience, resources, or time required to achieve the optimal outcome. You need an insider working for you. Call Larry Wolf at (310) 277-1707 today and avoid the devastating consequences that can result from a mishandled DUI case.

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Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Disclaimer: The felony, misdemeanor, traffic, criminal defense, drunk driving, DUI, theft, drugs, three strikes law, juvenile law, or other legal criminal defense information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice, nor the formation of a lawyer or attorney client relationship. Any results portrayed here were dependent on the facts of that case and the results will differ if based on different facts.