Law enforcement in Buena Park does not go easy on crime – and that includes driving under the influence. DUIs are treated as serious criminal charges, and the legal process is often long and complex. You need a good Buena Park DUI attorney on your side.
DUI defense attorneys are trained to handle tough drunk driving cases, and they know how to examine prosecutor evidence and poke holes in it. Their goal is to keep you out of jail, save you money, and possibly even get all your charges dropped.
Is Fighting a DUI Charge Worth It?
A DUI conviction in California includes a suspended driver’s license, jail time, crushing fines and fees, and more that can affect you for the rest of your life. Thus, if you were arrested for DUI, it’s in your best interest to fight the charge. There are various ways to reduce or eliminate your charge that you might not know about.
While you will have to pay lawyer fees if you decide to fight your charge, it could be much more expensive to not fight it. Past fines, increased insurance, and possible jail time, a DUI can cost you in other hidden ways. You could lose your job and your driver’s license, causing months of lost wages.
A Buena Park DUI attorney will know what to do to get you the best deal possible. With the help of a lawyer, you could negotiate with the prosecutor and the judge to reduce the consequences of your DUI.
Does a DUI Arrest Show Up on My Criminal Record?
Usually, a DUI arrest does show up on your criminal record. This can make it hard to get jobs, loans, and other opportunities that we take for granted. However, there are ways that your lawyer can keep your record from showing your arrest.
By sealing your arrest record, your DUI attorney in Buena Park can keep anyone looking at your criminal record from knowing about your arrest. This can be done in a few different circumstances.
Your attorney can get your arrest record sealed if:
- You did not receive any criminal charges
- Your criminal charges were dropped
- You were acquitted of your charges
- You completed certain pre-trial programs that kept you from receiving your charge
If there is a chance that your DUI lawyer in Buena Park can seal your arrest record, then they will work to overturn your criminal charge. At your free consultation, your attorney can tell you if they think your arrest record can be sealed.
What Happens After a DUI Arrest in Buena Park?
After being arrested for DUI, most people end up spending a night in jail at the Buena Park Police Department. As soon as you’re detained, the legal process begins and it’s time for you to take action.
There are three crucial deadlines (that can carry potentially life-changing consequences) involved in the DUI process you need to be aware of if you want to fight your charges.
1. Driver’s License Suspension
As soon as you’re arrested for the DUI, police will take your driver’s license and you’ll get a slip of paper that acts as a temporary license. Then, your local California DMV starts putting an administrative suspension on your driver’s license that will take effect 30 days after your arrest—unless you fight it within 10 days.
You’ll need to contact the DMV and request a hearing. If you don’t request the hearing within 10 days of your arrest, you’ll lose your chance of fighting your license suspension – so act quickly. A DUI lawyer can contact the DMV for you and handle the DMV hearing, which will be an opportunity for you to plead your case in keeping your license.
2. The Arraignment
This is a short hearing held anywhere between a few days to a few weeks following your arrest. The main purpose of this hearing is for you to plead “guilty” or “not guilty.” However, it’s also a chance for the prosecution to determine whether it will be easy to convict you of DUI.
For this reason, it’s a good idea to have a DUI defense lawyer on board well before this hearing. You’ll be able to demonstrate to the prosecutor that you plan to fight your charge and it won’t be an easy win for them.
3. The Trial
If you do go to trial, a jury will look at the evidence and decide whether you’re guilty or not. However, most DUI cases don’t get this far. If all goes well, your lawyer will be able to secure a fair plea bargain or get your charges dismissed well before the trial date.
This is why it’s so crucial to speak with a DUI lawyer as soon as possible after your arrest: they can get started on working your case early to improve your chances of winning and never having to face trial.
The Penalties of a DUI Charge in Buena Park
California cities are especially tough on DUIs. Beginning in 2011, the state of California has a policy automatically suspending your driver’s license if you are suspected of DUI. This is known as an administrative suspension or admin per se suspension.
Although this penalty begins as soon as you’re arrested, you do have a chance to fight your license suspension, as mentioned above, if you contact the California DMV within 10 days of your arrest to request a hearing.
With DUIs in Buena Park, the exact penalties depend on whether it’s your first offense or you have a prior record of DUIs. The degree of penalty can also vary depending on the situation, and if you work with a good DUI lawyer in Buena Park, you can potentially avoid many of them if they get you a fair bargain or a lesser sentence.
First Offense DUI Penalties
- Driver’s license suspension for at least four months
- Up to six months of jail time
- Minimum fine of $390 to $1,000 (with total cost or fines and fees up to $15,649)
- Three months of mandatory DUI school
- 3-5 years probation
- Possible installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) on your car
- Increased car insurance rates
Second Offense DUI Penalties
- Driver’s license suspension for up to two years
- Up to one year in jail
- Fines and fees up to $4,000
- Between 18 months and 30 months of DUI school
- 3-5 years probation
- Mandatory installation of IID device on your car
Third Offense DUI Penalties
- Driver’s license suspension for up to three years
- Up to one year of jail time or up to 16 months of state prison time
- Fines and fees up to $18,000
- 30 months of DUI school
- 3-5 years probation
- Mandatory installation of IID device on your vehicle
Fourth Offense DUI Penalties
- Driver’s license suspension for up to four years with a possible permanent suspension
- Up to 16 months of state prison time
- Fines and fees of up to $18,000
- 30 months of DUI school
- 3-5 years of probation
- Mandatory installation of IID on your vehicle
After a fourth DUI offense, you’ll be considered a convicted felon. A felony is the most serious criminal charge for DUI.
Can I Refuse a Chemical Test For a DUI?
You can face penalties for refusing to submit to a chemical test after being arrested for a DUI. There is sometimes confusion around this. You can refuse a roadside breath test ONLY if you haven’t been arrested.
Once you’ve been arrested, it is illegal to refuse a chemical test of any kind. You might be asked to submit to any of the following:
- Breath test
- Blood test
- Urine test
You can request one test over the other, but if that choice isn’t available, you must take the one that is available. If you refuse to take the required test, you can face an extra 1-3 years of driver’s license suspension depending on how many DUI offenses you have.
Talk to a Buena Park DUI Lawyer Today
California cracks down on DUIs, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have a chance in fighting yours. A DUI lawyer knows how to look at the evidence against you and find weak spots, such as ways your rights were violated during your arrest process and more.
For a FREE consultation with a top Buena Park-area lawyer, contact us today. Call us by phone or fill out the form to the right for your free consultation.