Get a DUI Attorney Near Me
Getting arrested for drunk driving in Bell, California is not a joke. A DUI charge can follow you around for years, and that’s after you’ve dealt with the immediate pressures of fines, a suspended driver’s license, and jail time. For these reasons it is in your best interest to hire a qualified Bell DUI lawyer from the very beginning.
The legal system is vast and intricate, and good legal counsel will help guide you through it and pursue the best possible outcome in your DUI case.
No one can guarantee that you’ll win in court, but a DUI lawyer might be able to get fines reduced or dropped, could save you from having your license suspended, and can sometimes even get the charges thrown out.
The Aftermath of a DUI Charge
The 170 people face a DUI there every year. And there’s no mystery as to why: every successfully prosecuted DUI case brings the city money, and a tough stance on DUI’s is a popular maneuver for local politicians. As a result penalties and fees have steadily risen, and a defendant can quickly find themselves out of their depth.
California state law determines the penalties for DUIs. The penalties get harsher with each successive DUI, but even first-time penalties are nothing to laugh at.
- Jail Time. Everyone, even first-time offenders, faces a minimum penalty of two days in jail. Offenders with prior DUI convictions could be looking at months in jail or state prison.
- Fines. You will be facing a face of at least $390, but that’s just the start. In combination with other fees your bill is probably going to be closer to $1800. As with jail time, repeat DUI offenses result in stiffer punishments, and the fines for repeat offenders can climb into the range of tens of thousands of dollars.
- Education. If you’re convicted of a DUI you’ll be sentenced to a mandatory education class on the dangers of driving under the influence, and some defendants have to enter a more in-depth treatment program. Completing these courses can take between three months and thirty months, and cost between $500 to $1800 by themselves.
Additionally, your license will be suspended and in some cases you may be ordered to put an interlock device on your car.
Mechanics of a DUI Case
You should have a working knowledge of the phases that a DUI case passes through, as there are a number of important deadlines you need to be aware of.
You may have been arrested by the local police, the Sheriff for LA county, or the California State Police. Depending on who brings you in and processes you there’s a good chance you’ll be spending the night in the local jail, though you will typically not spend more than 24 hours there. You can be released if you’re able to make bail, or “on your own recognizance,” which is a legally-binding promise that you’ll come back for trial.
After being released, there are three additional deadlines you must prepare for:
- The arraignment. An arraignment is a court appearance during which you enter a plea of “guilty” or “not guilty.” You should hire a DUI lawyer before you get this far, because they will be able to provide valuable assistance even at this early stage, and also because it sends a message to the prosecution that you’re serious about your defense.
- The DMV hearing. From the moment you’re arrested you have a 10-day window in which you can file for a hearing with the Department of Motor Vehicles. If you don’t do this, you automatically lose your license even though you have yet to go to trial and thus have not been found guilty. A lawyer can represent you during this hearing, and fight to keep your license.
- The trial. In addition to entering a plea at your arraignment you will receive a trial date. Cases are often heard at Metropolitan Courthouse. Your lawyer will work to get your charges dropped or reduced before this date, but if you do go to trial, they will fight to win. A DUI lawyer will know how the local judges operate, how to appeal to a jury, and how to discredit the evidence against you.
How Does Hiring a DUI Lawyer Affect Your Case?
Many DUI defendants think that they don’t need a lawyer. They may worry that their case cannot be won and think that having a lawyer won’t make a difference. But there is a lot that a lawyer with experience in DUI cases can do to help. Remember, it’s not enough for evidence to suggest you’re guilty, it must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
Your lawyer can create that doubt:
- Questioning the arrest. Officers of the law must follow certain rules when arresting someone, and if they fail to do so, the statements you made during questioning may be thrown out.
- Questioning the evidence. After your arrest you were required to take a breath or blood test to determine your blood alcohol concentration. But these tests are not infallible. When a machine is incorrectly calibrated or a technician deviates from lab procedure, a DUI lawyer can weaken the case against you.
- Playing detective. If the arresting officer changes their story over time or misremembers some detail of your arrest, your lawyer can utilize these inconsistencies to poke holes in their testimony.
- Going to the negotiating table. It is almost guaranteed that the prosecution has many other cases vying for their attention, and yours may or may not be the most important one. Knowing this, your legal counsel can try and get a reduced sentence or have your case dismissed.
These and other tactics could mean you lose less money, face less jail time, or even win your case.
What Should You Look for in a DUI Lawyer?
While there are many law firms in and around Los Angeles, not all of them will have the experience to give you the best possible legal defense. During your search, you need to find one you can trust:
- The law firm should focus on DUI work. There is a big difference between a general practitioner and a lawyer who has faced hundreds of DUI cases. Experienced DUI lawyers know which arguments are most successful and which to use in your case.
- Verify credentials. DUI lawyers can get special training in areas relevant to DUI cases, such as in how breathalyzers work. Ask what training or credentials a lawyer has.
- Get a free consultation. Quality DUI firms will not expect you to pay for a basic assessment of your case.
Time Matters in a DUI Case
There’s no reason you should spend the rest of your life trying to cope with a DUI sentence. The second you feel the handcuffs closing, you should be thinking about hiring a lawyer to help you navigate the DMV hearing, gather evidence for your trial, and prepare for your day in court.
Our goal is to help you find a DUI lawyer fit to deal with your case. We don’t charge for this. With just a few simple details we can put you in contact with a pre-screened attorney from our network. They will be happy to give you a FREE consultation and to discuss your case.
Don’t wait until you’re staring down a jury. Fill out the form to the right or call (310) 896-2724 for a free evaluation, today.