If you are facing a driving under the influence (DUI) charge, there are tough odds against you. You face the possibility of jail time, and you could lose your driver’s license. You are also on the hook for substantial fines, which can easily total thousands of dollars. It is a severe charge—but only if you are convicted.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to improve your case. We firmly believe that every DUI defendant should go into their case with an experienced Burbank DUI lawyer helping them. The right lawyer can help you fight to avoid fines, stay out of jail and even keep your driver’s license. They can often help you walk away acquitted of all charges.
The Cost of a DUI in Burbank, CA
California Law has taken an increasingly tough stance toward DUI offenses. 350 people are charged with DUI in Burbank each year, and the District Attorney’s office prosecutes these cases aggressively.
This is not only out of a concern for public safety—the fines and fees associated with DUI are a vital source of income for local governments. DUI costs have soared recently, making it one of the most expensive misdemeanors.
The penalties for DUI in California depend on whether it is a first, second, or third+ offense. All convictions, even first-time offenses, carry mandatory jail time. The penalties for a first DUI include the following:
- Minimum two days of jail, and up to six months in many cases.
- Fines and fees totaling at least $1,800. This includes the minimum fine of $390. If the judge chooses to make an example, the penalty can be much more significant.
- Mandatory license suspension for anywhere from four months to several years.
- Probation, mandatory DUI school, and potentially an interlock device. You pay the costs of DUI school and the interlock yourself.
If you have had prior DUIs, the costs will be even steeper. You can face over a year in state prison and up to $18,000 in fines and fees. Your case could even be tried as a felony.
Your Life After a Drunk Driving Conviction in Burbank
Burbank DUI convictions are known for being life-changing. Sadly, once you have fulfilled the terms of your criminal sentence, you still need to worry about how your drunk driving conviction will haunt you for the rest of your life.
Although DUIs could be expunged in limited circumstances in California, generally, this will remain on your criminal record indefinitely. This means any time you need to submit to a background check, your conviction will show up on your record.
In addition, you may have your professional license revoked or suspended, lose your job, lose your visitation or child custody rights, or have trouble finding work.
Furthermore, you could be required to install an ignition interlock device (IID), lose your right to bear arms, and be ineligible for federal student aid.
What Happens After You Get Arrested?
You may have been arrested by the Burbank police, the California Highway Patrol, or the LA County Sheriff’s office. In most cases, they will book you, and you will spend up to 24 hours in the Burbank Police Station.
The next day you will be processed and released. Deadlines for your case start counting down immediately, and you need to be ready for each one:
The DMV Hearing
Your DMV hearing is your only chance to keep your driving rights over the next few months. Unfortunately, many drivers do not realize they have to request this hearing and that there is a strict ten-day window.
If you miss this deadline, your license will be on administrative suspension until your trial. A good DUI lawyer in Burbank, CA, is already essential. They can help you file the request with the DMV, represent you at the hearing, and improve your odds of keeping your license.
The arraignment is an initial court hearing within a few weeks of your arrest. At this hearing, you will enter your plea, and you will be given a date for your trial. If you already have a DUI attorney in Burbank, CA, before your arraignment, they can use it as an opportunity to pressure the prosecution to negotiate.
The gap between the arraignment and the trial can be several months or more. Your lawyer will assemble the most robust case during this time.
They will conduct extensive research, review all relevant evidence, and find the prosecution’s weak spots. This is also when the most favorable deals are offered. In many cases, you will not need to go to trial.
If you proceed to trial, it will be held at the Burbank Courthouse. Remember that you do not have to prove you are innocent. Instead, your lawyer must only create “reasonable doubt” in the jury’s mind.
They do this by discrediting the evidence against you or suppressing it where possible. Many DUI cases end with an acquittal.
The Best Thing to Do for a DUI
When you are charged with drunk driving, the court may offer you a free attorney, known as a public defender. Public defenders are good lawyers, but they have a large caseload and need more time to dig through the evidence against you.
In many cases, they will advise you to plead guilty and take the prosecution’s first offer. This can be disappointing. Hiring your own DUI attorney makes a difference.
These attorneys will go through every possible strategy for defending your case. They may be able to win your case for you or get the charges dropped to something less severe than DUI. Frequently, they can negotiate a much better deal for you—a real deal that will improve your outcome for years after your case.
DUI attorneys are skilled at taking apart even the most complex cases. There are several ways your lawyer might work to turn things in your favor:
Questioning the Legitimacy of the Arrest
Sometimes the police slip up or even intentionally break protocol. This violates your rights as a defendant. If your lawyer finds evidence of this in your case, they may be able to get the entire DUI charge dismissed.
Questioning the Evidence Against You
DUI evidence is rarely as conclusive as you might think. Even data from breath tests can be inaccurate. Your DUI lawyer will know how to call the evidence into question and, in some cases, have it suppressed from the trial altogether.
Police officers may change their story after an arrest, even if they do it unconsciously. If their statements at a hearing or in court contradict their initial statement, their credibility is questioned. In other cases, your lawyer may be able to find video footage or a witness that contradicts the police statements.
The prosecution may be open to a deal. This is most likely when you have a DUI lawyer because it makes your case harder to prosecute. Sometimes the entire charge will be dropped.
DUI lawyers use these tactics to create the best possible outcome for you. This could include being acquitted, dismissing the case, or reducing the DUI to a lesser crime. It can also mean saving thousands of dollars in fines and fees.
Consider Alternative Options
Going to trial is not the only way to protect yourself and your future. In some instances, working out a plea agreement may be well advised. In a plea agreement, first-time DUI offenders and those that did not cause severe bodily injury or death could qualify for pretrial diversion.
In entering pretrial diversion, you can avoid prosecution by fulfilling court requirements that might include:
- Completing an alcohol or drug treatment program
- Abstaining from drug or alcohol use
- Completing mental health counseling
- Fulfilling work and housing requirements
- Staying away from individuals who could cause you to violate the terms of your pretrial diversion program
- Agreeing to drug or alcohol testing
How to Find the Best DUI Lawyer in Burbank, CA
Burbank has countless law firms. Not all of them focus on DUI cases, however. With your future on the line, you should hire only the most qualified DUI defense attorney:
- Look for a lawyer who focuses exclusively on DUI cases. A generalist will not have the same experience.
- Ask what special training or credentials they have in DUI defense. The most dedicated lawyers continually take classes and special training to improve their knowledge of DUI law.
- Make sure you are offered a free consultation to assess your case. You should have a chance to get to know the lawyer before you agree to hire them.
Do Not Let Your DUI Ruin Your Life
If you have been arrested for DUI, you need to act fast. Deadlines are already looming that will determine the future of your career, your freedom, and your ability to drive. Having a professional at your side is the only way to meet your arrest head-on.
Our site exists to connect you with the top DUI attorneys across California. This service is completely FREE. We need a few basic details, and we will get to work immediately matching you with a pre-screened Burbank DUI attorney.
Every lawyer we work with offers a 100% free, no-obligation consultation.
Do not take a chance with your future. Please fill out our confidential contact form, or call our office to get started immediately.