You may have a lot of questions about what you should do after a DUI arrest in California. The good news is that there is an experienced DUI defense attorney representing clients in Contra Costa County to answer all your questions and help you fight the charges against you.
Most DUI arrests in Contra Costa County end with you being taken to the police station or sheriff's station for booking. After you are booked, you may be released on bail or on your own recognizance with a promise that you will show up for your court appearance. In some cases, the police will allow you to be released to a sober driver.
If you act quickly and find an experienced Contra Costa DUI defense attorney, your lawyer will appear during your first court appearance and help you keep your driver's license.
Court Appearance After a DUI in Contra Costa County
The first court appearance may be your arraignment. During the arraignment, the judge will tell the defendant the criminal charges they are facing and their rights. You will have a chance to respond to the criminal DUI charges against you. Most initial court appearances for DUI arrests in Contra Costa County will be held at the Superior Courthouse in Martinez, California or the George D. Carrol Hall of Justice in Pittsburg.
Most first-time drunk driving arrests will be charged as a misdemeanor, including violations of California Vehicle Code VC 23152(a); VC 23152(b); VC 23152(c); VC 23152(d); VC 23152(f); and VC 23152(g). However, if you are facing your 4th DUI within the last 10 years or are involved in an injury DUI, your case may be charged as a felony DUI.
Most DUI arrests in Lafayette, Orinda, Moraga, Pleasant Hill, San Ramon, Blackhawk, Danville, Walnut Creek, and Martinez will initially be heard at the A.F. Bray Courthouse in Martinez, California.
1020 Ward Street
Martinez, CA 94553
Business Hours: 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Monday through Friday (excluding court holidays)
Subsequent hearings may be held in the Wakefield Taylor Courthouse. The Superior Court of California Contra Costa County Wakefield Courthouse is located at
725 Court Street
Martinez, CA 94553
The courthouse is located off Court Street, between Main Street and Ward Street. The courthouse is accessible off the 680 freeway, exit 56 for Marina Vista Road toward Waterfront Road, turning left on Court Street.
Parking: There is coin-operated metered parking available on the streets surrounding the Wakefield Taylor Courthouse.
Public Transportation: The Martinez Courthouse is less than ½ mile from the Capitol Corridor Martinez station. A number of bus lines also serve the area, including the Central Contra Costa Transit Authority County Connection buses 18, 19, 28, and 316.
Contra Costa Cities and Towns with DUI cases at the Martinez Courthouse
If you were arrested for DUI just about anywhere in Contra Costa County, your case will likely be handled by the Martinez Courthouse. This includes DUI arrests by the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office, Concord Police Department, Richmond Police Department, or the California Highway Patrol. The criminal court in Martinez handles DUIs from most Contra Costa County cities and towns, including:
- PLEASANT HILL
- SAN RAMON
- WALNUT CREEK
California Driver's License Suspension Hearing at the DMV
When the police book you on DUI charges, the officer will generally confiscate your driver's license and give you a piece of paper that will act as your temporary license. Your ability to drive will be administratively suspended after 30 days of your arrest. This is an administrative process through the DMV that is separate from your criminal case.
You have 10 days after your DUI arrest to request a DMV hearing. If you miss this 10-day deadline to request a license suspension hearing, you cannot challenge your suspension.
If you want to fight to keep your license or stop the automatic suspension of your license, you have to file a formal request in writing for a hearing with the DMV. This is known as an Administrative Per Se (APS) hearing, and is not handled by the criminal court in Martinez.
The good news is that if you hire an experienced Contra Costa DUI defense attorney, your attorney will be able to request a hearing and represent you during the APS hearing. Requesting a hearing can mean that you'll be able to keep your license longer. If your lawyer wins the APS hearing, your license will not be automatically suspended just because you were arrested for a DUI.
License suspension hearings in California are generally handled at the DMV's Driver Safety Offices. Driver Safety Offices near Contra Costa County include locations in Oakland or Stockton.
Oakland Driver Safety Office
7677 Oakport St. Suite #220
Oakland, CA 94621
Appointments and General Information: Phone (510) 563-8900; Fax (510) 563-8950
Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. Wednesday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Contra Costa County District Attorneys
DUI criminal cases in Contra Costa are prosecuted by the Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office. A district attorney, or “D.A.” represents the State of California. The D.A. is responsible for prosecuting the DUI case against you.
After a DUI arrest, the prosecutor will review the records and documents to decide whether or not to file formal criminal charges against you. If the prosecutor finds enough evidence to prosecute the case, the D.A. will try and get a guilty plea, or try and prove their case in court. In most cases, you will not communicate directly with the D.A. Instead, your defense attorney will deal with the prosecutor.
The main Office of the Contra Costa District Attorney is in Martinez, located at
Contra Costa District Attorney's Office
900 Ward Street
Martinez, CA 94553
Phone: (925) 957-2200
DUI School in After a DUI in Contra Costa County, California
As part of your sentencing or to get your driver's license reinstated after a DUI in California, you may be required to complete DUI school. DUI school is an education and substance abuse program that is designed to reduce the number of repeat DUI offenders. It can also help participants address possible drug or alcohol abuse problems. The time and length requirements of the DUI program will depend on the specific DUI offense.
A list of qualifying licensed California DUI program service providers is available through the California Department of Health Care Services.
Can I ask for a lawyer after my DUI?
Many people think that a lawyer will be provided if they are charged with a DUI. However, a lawyer is only provided if you are considered “indigent.” If you are able to show the court that you fall below a certain income level, the court may be able to provide a Contra Costa County public defender. However, a public defender cannot represent you in your DMV license suspension hearing. And once you are assigned a public defender you generally cannot change your lawyer for another public defender.
However, if you or your family contact an experienced Contra Costa County DUI defense attorney, your attorney will be able to show up with you during your court appearance and help you answer any questions you may have. Your lawyer can also represent you at your DMV license suspension hearing and fight to keep your license and keep you out of jail.
Contra Costa County DUI Defense Attorney
At the Gorelick Law Offices, attorney Lynn Gorelick has dedicated her career to defending people charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs throughout Contra Costa County. With more than 37 years of DUI experience, she understands what is at stake for you and your family and how to fight to keep your arrest from ending in a conviction. Contact your local East Bay DUI defense attorney to keep your license to drive and keep your record clear.