Have There Been Any Recent Developments In The DUI Diversion Program In Marin County?
In the middle of this year in the Marin County Superior Court, Judge Chernus began granting DUI diversions on a wider range of cases, especially first-offense DUI cases. Likely, this was due to a lack of guidelines from appellate courts regarding certain eligibility parameters for DUI diversion (e.g., blood alcohol level, the level of egregiousness).
I have handled a number of these cases recently, and I am finding that as long as the client has been proactive in demonstrating their willingness to receive treatment since the arrest (e.g., via rehabilitation programs, AA meetings, DUI school), then they will likely be granted diversion, even if they had an alcohol concentration that was three times the legal limit.
For context, it’s important to know that DUI diversion motions are only being heard by one courtroom in the Marin County Superior Court, usually on Thursdays at 2:30 pm via Zoom. The judge is allowed to hear only 10 of these cases per week, which means hearings can be scheduled for a couple of months out. As of August 2021, these hearings are being pushed out even further.
My concern is that at some point, it’s going to take about a year to get these motions heard, unless the court in Marin County decides that the judge can hear more of these cases per week, or allows a second judge to hear these cases. There are fewer than 300,000 people in Marin County, and there aren’t many judges available to hear these cases. The excellent news is that for those who do get arrested for a DUI and find an attorney who understands how to handle diversion motions and what it’s going to take to get one granted, the chances of being granted diversion are high.
Unfortunately, many attorneys who are not familiar with Marin County are advising their clients to accept plea deals rather than pursue a diversion motion, resulting in criminal convictions that could have been avoided. This is why it is so important to find the right DUI lawyer. Anyone who gets arrested for a drunk driving offense in the San Francisco Bay Area needs to find an attorney who specifically focuses on DUI defense, and therefore understands how the courts work, and how to avoid a driver’s license suspension through the DMV process.
In Marin County, all DUI diversions that have been granted to date have been for two years; within those two years, a certain amount and combination of community service, DUI school, and restitution will be required. A diversion will save the defendant almost $2,000 in fines.
Over the past few months, I have had at least 15 DUI diversions granted in Marin County, which has made for a lot of happy clients. Potential or current clients, as well as fellow attorneys who are reading this and believe they could benefit from more information should feel free to reach out and contact me; I would be happy to answer any and all questions.
For more information on DUI Defense In Marin County, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (415) 886-6333 today.