Question: What should I expect to happen at my DUI hearing if I am in California? It’s a 2nd DUI.

Answer: What County is the court in? I practice in Los Angeles county, ventura county, orange county and san bernardino county…so the below is based on handling matters in those counties. Some counties may have different practices.

The first date is called the arraignment. If you are represented by a private attorney, assuming this is a misdemeanor, then the private attorney should be able to appear without you needing to be at the court date in order to pick up the discovery (evidence) and begin negotiations with the prosecutor. If you decide not to retain a private attorney, they will ask if you want a public defender , or if you want to represent yourself. If you decide you want to go the public defender route, it is likely that you have to fill out financial paperwork and be under a certain financial threshold in order to qualify (depending on the county you are in). Also, sometimes you need to pay for public defender services. Unlike retaining a private attorney to handle the matter for you, If you are representing yourself or using the public defender, you would have to be at every court date. If that is the case, you should plan on being at the court all day, although it is possible that you will get out earlier. It depends on the court you are in, and how busy they are. I do not recommend handling the case yourself.

You will then be given the option of entering a plea (guilty, not guilty or no contest), or potentially continuing the arraignment, or setting a pre-trial date if you enter a not guilty plea.

Also, keep in mind that you only have 10 days from the date of the arrest to request a DMV hearing. If you miss that window, it is likely that the DMV will automatically suspend your license for 1 year 30 days after your arrest. A private attorney can request a hearing for you if retained in time, and get an extension for the temporary license, handle the DMV hearing, etc.

The above is a shortened general description to give you an idea of what to expect. A 2nd DUI has serious consequences. I suggest at least consulting a private attorney to get a more specific idea of what to expect. If you are in one of the counties that I handle, give me a call at 818-336-1384 or check out my site at to get some more specifics (free consultation). If you are in a different county, there is a probably a DUI attorney who can provide a free consultation that is more familiar with the Courts in your area and can give you some more specifics on what to expect. Hope that helps.


Phil Hache
DUI & Criminal Defense Attorney
Handling Courts in Southern California including Van Nuys, San Fernando, Burbank, Glendale, Pasadena, Metro, Bellflower, Alhambra, Malibu, Compton, Inglewood and other Courts.
Office in Sherman Oaks