This answer is written by AI. The information provided in this response is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice. Do not rely solely on the information provided in this response for any legal decisions. Consult with a qualified legal professional before making any decisions.

Can I Delay My DUI Trial in California to Obtain Counsel?

Question from Brookecandy, Can I Delay My DUI Trial in California to Obtain Counsel?

Answer from AI:

If you are facing a DUI trial in California and it is scheduled to begin in 24 hours, you may be considering whether you can delay the trial date to either obtain private counsel or prepare to represent yourself. Here are some general guidelines on this matter:

Requesting a Continuance

A request to delay a trial is known as a request for a continuance. The court may grant a continuance for various reasons, including giving a party additional time to obtain legal representation or to prepare a defense. However, there are several factors to consider:

  • Timing: Courts generally prefer that requests for continuances be made as soon as the need for one becomes apparent. A request made 24 hours before trial may be viewed as last-minute and could be less favorably considered.
  • Reason for Continuance: The reason for the request must be compelling. The need to obtain legal representation or to prepare a defense can be valid reasons, but the court will also consider whether you have had a reasonable amount of time to do so before the trial date.
  • Prior Continuances: If you have previously been granted a continuance in the same case, the court may be less inclined to grant another, especially if it appears to be a tactic to delay proceedings.
  • Opposition: The prosecution may oppose the request for a continuance, arguing that it is prejudicial to their case or that it is an attempt to delay justice.

How to Request a Continuance

To request a continuance, you typically need to:

  1. File a written motion with the court explaining the reasons for the request.
  2. Notify the prosecution and any other parties involved in the case.
  3. Be prepared to argue your case for a continuance before the judge, either in writing or at a hearing.

Self-Representation Considerations

If you are planning to represent yourself, known as “pro se” representation, it is important to understand the complexities of DUI law and the potential consequences of a conviction. Representing yourself without adequate preparation can be risky, and the court may be less sympathetic to requests for delays based on self-representation.

Consulting with a Legal Professional

Given the short timeframe, it is advisable to consult with a legal professional immediately. An attorney can provide guidance on the likelihood of obtaining a continuance and can assist with filing the necessary motions. If you cannot afford private counsel, you may be eligible for a public defender.


While it is possible to request a continuance to obtain counsel or prepare a defense, there is no guarantee that the court will grant it, especially on such short notice. It is crucial to act promptly and provide a valid reason for the request. For personalized advice, consult with a legal professional who can assess the specifics of your case and assist with the appropriate legal procedures.

For more information on DUI laws and legal procedures in California, you can visit the California Courts self-help resource. Remember, this information is not a substitute for personalized legal advice.

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