A DUI – which is a certain type of criminal case – begins in California court when the prosecuting attorney – the District Attorney, City Attorney or City Prosecutor – files a case in court against someone for committing a crime against the State of California. If you are found guilty of a crime, you face paying fines, probation, jail and/or prison.


An infraction is a minor violation. Many traffic violations are infractions. The punishment for infractions is usually a fine, and if you pay the fine, there is no jail time.


A misdemeanor is a crime with a maximum punishment of either 6 months or 1 year in a county jail, and/or a $1,000 fine.  Some examples are: assault, battery, driving on a suspended license, trespass, drunk in public, disorderly conduct, domestic violence, petty theft, prostitution, shoplifting, solicitation of prostitution, vandalism, violation of protective order, and DUI.


A felony is the most serious kind of crime. California also has a list of serious felonies and violent felonies. If found guilty, you can be sent to county jail and/or state prison. Some examples are: arson, assault with a deadly weapon or instrument on a peace officer, carjacking, extortion, embezzlement, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, kidnapping, robbery or bank robbery, murder, voluntary manslaughter, lewd or lascivious act on a child under 14 years of age, mayhem, rape, oral copulation, sexual penetration, DUI causing injury and DUI with 3 prior offenses within 10 years.

4. Wobblers:

A wobbler is a crime that may be punished as either a misdemeanor or felony.  Some examples are: assault with a deadly weapon, sexual battery, theft, spousal battery, domestic violence cases, burglary, drug cases, and DUI causing injury.

Of the many federal crimes some examples are bank robbery, fraudulent activity affecting interstate commerce, narcotics, wire fraud, mail fraud or tax fraud, any crime in which the United States is defrauded, guns, environmental crimes, and civil rights violations. Some crimes may violate both California and federal laws, such as bank robbery or child pornography. In these cases, the local U.S. Attorney’s Office works with state and local law enforcement officials to decide whether the case will be brought in federal or state court.

There is no fixed bail schedule in federal court. Under the Bail Reform Act, 18 USC § 3141 et seq, the magistrate releases a defendant on conditions sufficient to ensure a defendant’s continued appearance. Therefore, release conditions, including bail, vary dramatically depending on the seriousness of the charges, the defendant’s history, and the defendant’s financial circumstances.

Bail bondsmen are rarely used in federal court. Your federal defense attorney can give you and your family a better feel for the conditions of release that will be required. In every case, however, the more family and community support for the client the more likely release will be granted, but not guaranteed.

The amount of bail is set by a bail schedule in each county. If you fail to appear in court, your bail will be lost and a new warrant will be issued for your arrest. If you cannot post bail, you will be kept in custody. In some cases, instead of paying bail, you might be released on your own recognizance or “O.R.” Your criminal defense lawyer or DUI attorney can make a motion for bail reduction or bail review in court.

You learn what charges the prosecutor has filed against you. You may enter a plea to the criminal charges filed against you. If you have been arrested, you have the right to be arraigned on any charges usually within two court days. At the arraignment, you can plead guilty, no contest, or not guilty, or waive time to enter a plea. Plea negotiations can also take place at the arraignment.

There are many defenses and ways to reduce or dismiss DUI or criminal charges. If you’re considering not hiring a really good criminal defense DUI attorney with a lot of experience, or thinking about choosing a lawyer who dabbles in DUIs, you should think about it some more.

The restricted license allows you to drive to and from work, during the course of your work, and drive to and from activities required in the driving-under-the-influence program.

For help with your with criminal case or DUI, call 714-721-4423 or contact The Law Office of Richard Wagner, A Professional Corporation for a Free Consultation.