Informational Guide For San Francisco


Possible DUI Charges And Punishment

Legal Defenses

Obtaining The Best DUI Defense Attorney

Obtaining Police Report

Keeping Driver’s License

Blood Alcohol Estimate

California Drunk Driving Law

This Informational Guide is brought to you by the authors of California Drunk Driving Law, a two-volume treatise referred commonly to by lawyers as "the Bible of DUI Defense in California."


An Informational Guide to the Prosecution, Defense and Sentencing Practices in the Superior Court of San Francisco County, California

Things have changed a lot in the way that California DUI prosecutions are handled by the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office.  For years, misdemeanor drunk driving cases were randomly assigned to one of four or five different departments at the criminal Hall of Justice building at 850 Bryant Street.

March 3, 2015 - We lost our beloved courtroom clerk in Department 17 today, David Jones.  While many courtroom clerks are often too busy to interrupt what they are doing, David will always be remembered as the perennial friendly clerk who would immediately swivel in his chair to help no matter what else he had going on.  Always friendly, always smiling, and always competent.  I am mad at David today because he's gone and I am really going to miss him.  Thank you for being such a great guy David, and I hope you are at peace my friend.

Now, all misdemeanor DUI cases are assigned to Department 17 on the Second Floor on Bryant Street.  The calendar is tightly controlled and the second court appearance will sometimes mandates the defendant’s personal appearance with a date no more than 30 days away.  Sentencing offers are much tougher than they used to be, and they are sometimes withdrawn if not accepted by the second court appearance.  Failure to accept a proposed disposition by the second court appearance may trigger an increase on the terms of the sentencing offer.  If you proceed to trial and you lose, you are likely to face what defense attorneys refer to as a “trial tax” (an increase in punishment for exercising your constitutional right to a trial).   

The key to handling a DUI charge in San Francisco is to retain a lawyer who specializes in this field and has good experience in dealing with the San Francisco prosecutors and judges.   Ideally, you want a Board Certified DUI defense attorney who will intelligently and realistically evaluate your case and give you professional advice and representation.  Not all cases should be set for trial, but not all offers should be accepted without counter proposals and terms.

You want an attorney who fully understands the ramifications of a DUI conviction and how the California DMV treats a drunk driving conviction. If you have one or more prior convictions for DUI or DWI (some states refer to it as "driving while impaired"), you want an attorney who is knowledgeable about the ways to attack prior convictions and the sufficiency of out-of-state convictions.

The area of DUI defense has become increasingly technical over the years, and you want a lawyer who is up on the most recent developments in this field. Feel free to review the contents of this entire website for further information about DUI prosecution and defense in San Francisco. You may wish to order a copy of California Drunk Driving Law, a two-volume treatise co-authored by two of California's most pre-eminent DUI defense lawyers (one of whom has an office in San Francisco). You do not have to be an attorney to order this book---just go to and they will overnight it to you for $129.00 plus S&H.

San Francisco Superior Court
S.F. Hall of Justice
San Francisco Police Department
San Francisco County Sheriff
San Francisco District Attorney
San Francisco County Crime Lab
San Francisco DMV Office

Court fines, fees, and assessments that may arise from a drunk driving conviction include vehicle towing and storage; booking, fingerprinting and photo; driver’s license reinstatement; car insurance increase; community service fee; DUI victims’ fund; alcohol abuse education fund; DUI classes; DUI victim’s impact sessions; and time payment charges.

Copyright February 2015