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Asked in Anaheim, CA Oct. 20, 2014 ,  10 answers Visitors: 104
Does a CA DUI criminal trial have the authority to lengthen a DMV-imposed license suspension?
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10 Answers


Posted on / Oct. 23, 2014 20:32:10

The issue of prior convictions before the court and the DMV is quite complicated.
I have seen the DMV change its mind and treat a second arrest in California as a second offense with or without a conviction and even though the DMV first advised that they were treating the arrest only as a first.
Often times the DMV does not know how to handle a situation and will change its mind.
If the Dist. Atty. becomes aware of the Georgia conviction, he or she can move to amend the complaint to charge you with a second offense.
While I think it is unlikely that the court will attempt to interfere with the DMV process, if you are convicted in court, it is not out of the question that the DMV could treat your conviction as a second offense even if your conviction in court is only for a first offense. You should speak with your lawyer sufficiently to have him or her explain these possibilities and uncertainties.


Posted on / Oct. 22, 2014 17:03:02

The DMV may or may not use the Georgia prior against you. It really depends on whether GA is a participant in the "Interstate Driver's License Compact" (Compact). Under the Compact, participant states share your information and will use prior convictions or DMV suspensions to increase punishment. A quick Google search indicates that GA is not a participant (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Driver_License_Compact#States_that_are_not_members). This may be why the DMV told you that the GA prior will not be used against you.

As to your trial, the GA prior must be pled an proved, which means the DA in CA must (1) allege that you have a prior conviction and (2) obtain the certified records of your conviction to prove that you in fact have a prior conviction. You should be on notice if they are going to allege your prior conviction because it should be alleged in your criminal complaint.

Prior convictions are potent character evidence in any criminal trial. If the DA is going to allege your GA prior, you have the option of "waiving jury" on the prior conviction so that the jury does not hear evidence of your prior conviction.


Posted on / Oct. 21, 2014 23:08:52

I would highly recommend seeking legal assistance and consulting with a local attorney to understand which course of action is best for your situation.


Posted on / Oct. 21, 2014 00:20:08

Ms. Einstein has answered your question about as good as one can. Hire an attorney to assist with your case. Clicking on the "find a lawyer" tab above may help with this.


Posted on / Oct. 20, 2014 23:10:25

Yet another example of how DMV has no idea what they're talking about. You'll be seen as a second offense with DMV, or you should be seen as a 2nd.


Posted on / Oct. 20, 2014 22:33:03

The CA DMV can view your GA DUI as a first offense and the CA DUI as a second, creating a longer suspension and requiring the 18 month SB-38 alcohol program, regardless of whether your plead to a "first" offense in the CA Court.


Posted on / Oct. 20, 2014 15:28:42

They are separate parallel processes. The rules are different in the two forums. You should be talking to your own dui defense lawyer, there, in Anaheim, now.

Often people think that because it isn’t a murder case, a drunk driving case is simple. Nothing could be further from the truth. These cases can be among the most complex a criminal defense lawyer handles. The government is willing to spend an incredible amount of money to convict you though. They will have expert witnesses available for consultation and trial. It is certainly not a do-it-yourself situation, nor a situation where you want someone getting on-the-job training.

That you have been charged or that some gizmo says your alcohol level was at a certain level does not mean that you are guilty. It certainly does not mean that you will be proven guilty using competent, valid evidence.

Field sobriety “tests” are designed to give police a reason to arrest. You cannot “pass” them. The police will admit that almost a third of healthy young adults who take these tests without any alcohol will be judged to be “under the influence” – and that assumes they are properly administered!

After even a first drunk driving conviction, you may face employment discrimination. You will certainly be charged higher for insurance. Having such a conviction will also make you a target for drunk driving arrest in future interactions with police. You will automatically become a suspect.

You will want a lawyer who is familiar with field sobriety “tests,” perhaps one who is certified to administer these tests. You will want a lawyer familiar with the weaknesses of the contraptions that are used to report alcohol or drug levels. You want an experienced trial lawyer, used to cross-examining police officers. Police officers are practiced, experienced witnesses.

That is, you want an experienced drunk driving defense lawyer, whether you call the offense DUI, OWI, DWI, OUI, or drugged driving.

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Confidential information should not be disclosed in this Internet forum.

I am an experienced Wisconsin drunk driving (DUI/OWI/DWI) defense lawyer practicing in Madison (Dane County) Wisconsin. The laws in each jurisdiction can be very different. I cannot give legal advice over the Internet nor can I establish an attorney client relationship with you.

If something I say disagrees with what your own lawyer is telling you, you should rely on your lawyer who is familiar with you, your entire case, the local courts and practices.

To deal with a legal problem, nothing is better than to consult with a lawyer who will give you some time and advice. If you cannot afford an attorney, there should be agencies in your area that can provide discounted, or even free, legal services.

This AVVO Answer is provided for general educational purposes only.

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Posted on / Oct. 20, 2014 02:32:59

They are 2 different animals. And if one doesn't get you, the other one may very well.
The Clerk of the Court can run your information at any time. This means that the Judge is
probably going to find out about the GA DUI. Thus, even if not charged and proven, it can
come into play at Sentencing. You may not get mandatory jail time but your question
goes towards suspension. Likewise, the DUI is going to have your history as well (when you
applied for the license did you disclose)...nothing stopping them from imposing a longer
suspension following a conviction by trial .
But if your trial is set for 10 days then you should have counsel by now and he/she should really
be counseling you on all this. Because you should be proceeding under the assumption that
everyone already knows about the GA conviction (except the jury....for now).


Posted on / Oct. 20, 2014 02:13:23

Not all out-of-state priors are counted as prior offenses for purposes of enhancement here in California. This is a very complicated legal issue that even a lot of defense attorneys don't fully understand.

The out-of-state prior must be substantially similar to California's definition of DUI. For example, in some states you can get a DUI for simply being in "actual physical control" of a vehicle. That doesn't work here in California. In California they must prove that you actually drove the vehicle.

If you're having a jury trial in 10 days, the fact that you don't completely understand this, is shocking and frightening. You need to discuss this very important issue with your attorney. Is it your actual trial that's in 10 days? Or is it just your first court appearance? Or is it a "pre-trial?"

Whether or not you got your prior from GA on a California or any other state license is irrelevant. If California finds out about the prior they will count this as a second. It will be your responsibility (with your attorney) to prove to the DMV otherwise. If the court (DA) finds out about the prior, not only do they have to plead and prove it, they have to overcome the burden to prove that the GA statute is substantially similar to CA so as to constitute a prior offense here.

Which court is your case in?


Posted on / Oct. 20, 2014 02:01:39

The Georgia prior can possibly be used against you in the criminal proceeding to enhance any sentence you receive if you lose the trial. However, the prior has to be pled and proved, which means that it must be alleged in the current criminal complaint and then proved up at trial by way of certified copies of dockets from the Ga DUI. A first time DUI here may not result in jail time but a second time DUI surely will. Talk to your current attorney about this important fact.

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