Facing a DUI charge in Bell Gardens isn’t easy. Judges may impose fines in the thousands of dollars, license suspension, compulsory traffic safety classes, and even jail time. If you have been charged with a DUI, you need a strong defense. That takes knowledge and experience with the legal system—the kind of knowledge that a Bell Gardens DUI lawyer can provide.
A good Los Angeles DUI lawyer will know the strategies that work best in a drunk driving case, and have a strong track record defending drivers like you. They may be able to keep you out of jail and potentially even win your case. And they could save you a lot of money.
Cost of a DUI in Bell Gardens
DUIs are serious. Fines, which generate income for the City of Bell Gardens, are constantly increasing. The Bell Gardens Police Department holds DUI checkpoints at least once a month, catching dozens of drivers at once, each of which may pay thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars in fines.
That isn’t all. California State Law institutes penalties which can be severe even for a first-time offense. These include:
- Jail Time. Potential jail time ranges from two days to six months. The exact amount you receive depends largely on the discretion of the judge.
- Loss of Driver’s License. License suspension may range from several months to one year.
- Mandatory Classes. All those convicted of driving under the influence in California are required to go through DUI school, which you pay for out of pocket. At least three months of traffic safety lessons are required, costing over $500.
- Fines and Fees. When you’re convicted of a DUI, you don’t just pay the fine itself. You also pay a variety of administrative fees. This brings the minimum cost of a first time DUI to about $1,800. It can be much higher. The total cost of a first time DUI in southern California can be up to $15,649.
If you have prior DUI’s on your record within the last 10 years, the penalties will be worse. Jail sentences increase, possibly including up to 16 months of state prison time. Fines rise as well, easily into the tens of thousands of dollars, and license suspension can last years. Finally, the offense may be classified as a felony. This is why you need to act quickly to defend against your DUI.
3 Critical Deadlines in a Bell Gardens DUI Case
All DUI’s follow a set legal process. The process will be similar whether you were arrested by local police, the LA County Sheriff’s Department, or state troopers out of the Santa Fe Springs office. You will typically be held at the Bell Gardens Police Department City Jail for at least a day. Immediately, you face a set of legal deadlines, and you need to prepare for each one.
- Your Hearing at the DMV. To keep your license during the time leading up to the trial, you must request a hearing within 10 days of arrest. If you do not, license suspension is automatically imposed by the California DMV. This is called “administrative suspension.” A DUI lawyer can help you file this request within the deadline, and potentially avoid the suspension. Your lawyer knows what the DMV wants to hear and can represent you at the hearing.
- Arraignment. The arraignment is your first court date. While its official purpose is to hear your plea of either Guilty or Not Guilty, it’s also an opportunity for you to confront the prosecution. They will be studying you to determine if you will likely be an easy conviction. A DUI lawyer sends a strong signal that you’re going to fight. The prosecution may reconsider and offer a deal instead—likely a much better deal than what they offered earlier. The arraignment is typically held within 14 days of arrest. You should speak to a lawyer as soon as possible.
- Date of Trial. The date of your trial is the last and most important deadline. It will be scheduled within 45 days of the arrest and held at the Downey Courthouse. In many cases, however, you may be able to resolve the DUI charge without going to trial. Your DUI lawyer would much rather get the charges dropped or negotiate a win without the risk of facing a jury. They will use the time before the trial to research your case, challenge the evidence and put pressure on the prosecution—and work to secure you a victory without a courtroom trial.
Does a Bell Gardens DUI Lawyer Make a Difference?
The most important thing you can do for your case is to hire a DUI lawyer with a strong reputation. A skilled lawyer has a long list of tactics they can use, including:
- Challenging Test Validity. Breathalyzers, blood tests, and urine tests may be challenged and potentially thrown out.
- Challenging the Arrest. Police can’t just pull someone over without a reason. If the traffic stop or the arrest was illegal, a DUI lawyer will spot it and potentially improve your case.
- Challenging Rights Violations. Likewise, your rights may have been violated. A DUI lawyer will carefully review the interrogation process and may be able to get evidence excluded if your rights were violated.
- Negotiating with the Prosecution. Finally, a DUI lawyer knows how to bargain effectively with the prosecution, often obtaining out-of-court deals or reductions in penalties.
Ultimately a DUI lawyer doesn’t just improve your case, they also make the prosecutor’s job harder. Prosecutors have a busy case load and cannot focus all their time on a single drunk driving case. The harder your lawyer fights for you, the more likely it is that the prosecution will simply offer you a way out. They might even reduce the charge to reckless driving or drop the case entirely.
Talk to a Bell Gardens Lawyer Today for Free
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You could turn your case around today. Don’t miss your chance. Fill out the form to the right or call (310) 896-2724. Get your FREE consultation immediately.