For Free Consultation (650) 293-9070

San Mateo DUI Lawyer-Michael Rehm (650) 293-9070


Available for free, confidential consultations 24/7 at (650) 293-9070

If you have just been arrested for a DUI in San Mateo County, undoubtedly you have several questions. Hopefully this website will answer most of them for you. My name is Michael Rehm. I am an Attorney, I practice DUI Defense in San Mateo County. Based on my experience, the questions are as follows:

Where do I go from here?

First, you have to understand the basics of the situation you are in. An arrest for driving under the influence initiates two separate and distinct actions. One of the actions is Criminal Court. You will have a Court date where the District Attorney will, more than likely, file criminal DUI charges against you. This much you have probably already gathered.

The second action, and the one most are unfamiliar with, is what the DMV will now do. If you have been arrested for a DUI, normally, law enforcement will confiscate your driver’s license, and issue you a temporary driver’s license on a pink piece of paper. Many times, law enforcement will simply hand you the paper and it is up to you to figure out what to do next. Here is what you do next: YOU HAVE 10 DAYS FROM THE DATE OF THE ARREST TO SET A HEARING WITH THE DMV. If you do not do this, and there is evidence you were driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.08% or more, you will automatically lose your driver’s license 30 DAYS FROM THE DATE OF ARREST. I provide this service for all clients.

What goes on at the DMV hearing?

I have dedicated a page of this website to the DMV hearing. In general though, the DMV hearing deals with the issues of whether you were driving a vehicle with a 0.08% or more at the time of driving, and whether you were lawfully arrested. The DMV and the Court, although separate, will look at the same elements to determine your guilt. The DMV hearing does not deal with whether or not you will obtain a restricted driver’s license. For more information on how to obtain a restricted driver’s license call me at (650) 293-9070 or click here.

What will happen at Court?

San Mateo County Court handles criminal cases, including DUI’s at two separate locations:
• 400 County Center, 4th Floor Redwood City, CA 94063
• 1050 Mission Road South San Francisco, CA 94080

What occurs at Court will depend on what you are being charged with. But that will be the first thing you should find out at the Court date. The Court will provide you with a “Complaint,” which lists the charges against you and the severity of the charges. The first issue is the severity of the charges, meaning are you being charged with a misdemeanor or a felony? A 1st, 2nd and 3rd Offense DUI will be charged as a misdemeanor offense, assuming there was no accident involved which led to an injury. If this is your 4th offense in 10 years, or you previously had a Felony DUI Conviction within 10 years, or this is a DUI with Injury case, this will be a felony matter.

On Misdemeanor Drunk Driving Offenses, the normal charges are Vehicle Code 23152(a) and Vehicle Code 23152(b). Vehicle Code 23152(a) makes unlawful driving while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Vehicle Code 23152(b) makes unlawful driving with a blood alcohol level of a 0.08% or more.  The District Attorney can also add certain enhancements to a DUI charge. These enhancements include, but are not limited to, high blood alcohol (if you have a .15 or .20 or more), a speeding enhancement, or if you are a multiple offender.

On a felony DUI case, the charges above will also apply if it is a felony based on the number of prior convictions. If it is a DUI with Injury case, the charges will be a violation of Vehicle Code 23153(a) and Vehicle Code 23153(b). The charges are analogous to the 23152 charges above, but they contain additional elements in which an injury occurred to another and it was because of your driving.   When it comes to DUI with Injury cases, please bear in mind that these charges can also be a Misdemeanor offense. Whether the San Mateo County D.A. charges you a misdemeanor or a felony will depend on all of the evidence in the case, but the biggest factor is normally the severity of the injuries. If the injuries are relatively minor, it will usually lead to the misdemeanor charges. The more sever the injury, the greater the odds of a felony being charged. I cannot emphasize enough the need to have competent counsel if you are charged with a felony DUI.

Once you find out the charges, whether they are a misdemeanor or a felony, the case will normally be continued for a Pre Trial Conference, where your attorney and the prosecutor will negotiate the case. In the meantime, your attorney should obtain all outstanding evidence in the case from the District Attorney. This evidence includes, but is not limited to, the patrol car video and the maintenance records of any breathalyzer machine used in the case. The idea is that on the first court date you inform the D.A what evidence you will need, and they will provide it to your DUI Attorney between court dates with plenty of time for your lawyer to analyze all of the evidence in the case.

As stated before, at the first court date, another court date is usually scheduled where negotiations occur, but this is not always the case. If you obtain the discovery in advance of the first court date from the DMV, you might already know a line of attack you will be taking and you can implement that attack at the first court date. If you want to challenge the admission of any evidence in the case, such as the blood or breath test, you can set the case for a Motion to Suppress Evidence at the first court date.

A Motion to Suppress is a Motion asking that the Court suppress certain evidence from being allowed into court, generally because of the illegal way law enforcement acted in collecting the evidence. For example, if you were pulled over for no legal reason, then all of the evidence gathered after you were initially pulled over should be thrown out of court. There are numerous Motions that can be filed at these court dates, it will always be based on the evidence in the case.

In summary, what happens in Court will be based on what you are being charged with and what the evidence shows in your case. Do not be intimated by Court. If you have a capable DUI Lawyer, the Court system can be greatly used to your advantage.

Why do I need to set up a hearing with the DMV?

There are multiple reasons. As just discussed, you will not lose your license 30 days from the date of arrest automatically; you will get the opportunity to contest the DUI at a hearing with the DMV. Now, I understand that not every one desires to contest the DUI with the DMV. There can be multiple reasons for this as well. You might not have a license in the first place, or you may feel as if you are guilty and there is no point.

A couple of points on this issue: First, no harm will come from setting the hearing. You will not be punished more because you exercise your right to a DMV hearing. Second, even if your driver’s license is suspended or you do not plan on contesting the DUI, it still can be invaluable. Here’s how: When you set the hearing up with the DMV, you can also request the evidence in the case be mailed to you, or your attorney, when the DMV receives it. Generally, this will happen before your court date. It can be a major benefit to obtain the evidence before Court. By evidence, I am referring to the results of any breath, blood or urine test, and the police report.

If you do not believe you are going to be successful at the DMV hearing, it will at a minimum allow the status quo to maintain while you deal with Court. What I mean by this is that when you set the hearing up with the DMV, you are then allowed to keep your driver’s license through the outcome of the DMV hearing. The 30 days and suspended rule no longer applies to you. It is extremely common for these DMV hearings to not occur until Court is completed, so you will be able to keep your driver’s license while Court is going on. For many people, this is a major benefit. If your driver’s license is already suspended, at a minimum, it allows the opportunity to contest an additional basis for a suspension. The less holds on your driver’s license the better.

Once again, a page of this website is dedicated to discussing the pros and cons of the DMV hearing, but for now, please realize that not only will it benefit you if you fight your case; it will also benefit you if you do not plan on contesting the DUI, and you are simply looking for damage control.

Am I going to Jail?

I have a San Mateo County DUI penalties page on this website. Feel free to look it over to understand what you are possibly facing. Once again, every sentence depends on the evidence in the case. In my experience, on a 1st Offense DUI, you should not go to jail. If you are convicted of a 1st, or even 2nd Offense, DUI in San Mateo County, you will be sentenced to a number of days in jail. The Judge will give you the option of doing the jail time on the Sheriffs Work Program. You have to go and sign up for the Sheriffs Work Program. If you are accepted into the program, you would serve your days through that program as opposed to actually in custody.

For example, if you are sentenced to 2 days of jail on a 1st Offense DUI, and you are accepted to the Sheriffs Work Program, you would instead of custody time, do 2 days of the Sheriffs Work Program. The Sheriffs Work Program will generally set up a schedule to complete the days. The jobs can be picking up trash on the side of road, raking leaves, washing the Sheriff’s cars, etc. The work will not be intellectually stimulating, but it will be better than custody time.

If you are facing more than a 2nd Offense, or you are facing a felony, you are at serious risk of custody time. There is no guarantee of course, but the risk is there.

Anything Else?

Review the information on this website, and feel free to call me at (650) 293-9070 if you have any questions. The process is less intimidating once you understand it. If you are going to hire an Attorney, once again, try and do it within 10 days of the arrest. I offer free, confidential consultations. Stay positive. Good luck.

San Mateo County DUI Attorney Michael Rehm represents individuals throughout San Mateo, South San Francisco, Redwood City, Belmont, Millbrae, San Bruno, San Carlos, Foster City, East Palo Alto, Daly City, Burlingame and Brisbane. The Law Office of Michael Rehm practices DUI Defense throughout California. For information on how these charges are defended in Santa Cruz County, view Attorney Rehm’s Santa Cruz DUI Lawyer website.

The Law Office of Michael Rehm
333 University Avenue – Suite 200
Sacramento, CA 95825
(650) 293-9070