Facing a DUI charge in Calabasas, CA, can be daunting. The penalties for a DUI conviction include jail time, severe fines, and a suspension of your driver’s license. If you do not defend yourself, you may be dealing with legal fallout for the rest of your life.
That is why speaking to a Calabasas DUI lawyer as early in the process as possible is essential. A qualified DUI lawyer in Los Angeles can probe for weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, work to get you the best possible deal, or potentially win your case.
The Cost of a DUI Conviction in Calabasas
A DUI conviction carries a high price tag. Because DUI cases bring in a lot of money, courts in this tiny city have dozens of DUI arrests yearly.
The penalties for DUIs are set by California state law and get harsher with each subsequent conviction. Even first-time DUIs can be expensive and cost over $15,000. For a first-time DUI, you face the following minimum penalties:
- Fines: Fines begin with a $390 minimum, but when combined with court assessments and other fees, they end up closer to $1,800. This is the low end of DUI fines.
- Jail time: DUI convictions often carry jail time. A first-time offender will face at least two days in jail, potentially six months to one year if there are aggravating factors.
- License suspension: If convicted, you will lose your license, period. The suspension will last at least a few months and potentially much longer.
- DUI school: If convicted, you will be ordered to take a three-month DUI class at a personal expense of $500, in addition to whatever other fines and fees you incur.
Repeated offenses bring harsher penalties. A second or third DUI conviction could cost tens of thousands of dollars, a year or more in jail or state prison, and multiple years of license suspension and mandatory DUI classes. Even when your sentence is served, you will remain on probation, and you may have to drive with an interlock device on your vehicle.
Other Consequences of a DUI in Calabasas
In addition to fines, DUI school, suspension of your driver’s license, and incarceration, there are other ways your life will be affected if you are convicted of a Calabasas DUI.
Many people need to consider the impact of exorbitantly high insurance rates. Insurance companies will consider you a dangerous driver with a DUI conviction.
Companies will increase the amount of your auto insurance premiums because they have concerns that you will cause a collision in the future. SR-22 insurance is often required for several years before they will return to the rates you paid before your DUI conviction.
You might also be at risk for deportation, community service hours, probation requirements, and reputational damages. Furthermore, if your professional license is suspended or revoked, you may be prohibited from continuing to work or practice. This could have a devastating impact on your ability to provide for yourself and your family.
The best way to avoid these severe penalties is by working with a Calabasas DUI attorney who could help you craft a compelling defense. Your lawyer can also work with the district attorney to get you into a pretrial diversion program.
How the DUI Process Works in Calabasas
Most Calabasas DUI cases begin with spending the night in the Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station. The booking process may vary depending on whether the local sheriff or the California Highway Patrol arrested you, but the legal process is the same.
As soon as you are put in handcuffs, you are under several tight legal deadlines, each of which affects the outcome of your case:
A Hearing with the DMV
There is only one way to keep your license until your trial date: scheduling a hearing at the DMV to discuss your case. You have only ten days after your arrest to file this request. If you let the deadline pass, you will face “administrative suspension” of your license even though you have not been convicted yet.
Ask a DUI lawyer to represent you at this hearing. They know how to make a case for letting you keep your license.
Arraignment is a court appearance where you enter a plea and get a trial date. It is vital to have a DUI attorney in Calabasas at this hearing. Their presence sends a clear message to the prosecution that you will be a challenging case.
This gesture is sometimes enough to secure a favorable plea offer, especially if your attorney is well respected as a DUI lawyer in Calabasas.
You will have to wait one or more months for your trial, which is the time your attorney will use to prepare your defense. They will work to strengthen your case and weaken the evidence against you. This is when the best deals are typically offered.
If you go to trial, it will likely be at either the Van Nuys Courthouse West or Chatsworth Courthouse. Many DUI cases resolve without ever going to court, but sometimes it is the best option to fight for a good outcome. The most competent DUI lawyers are experienced courtroom advocates, and many cases end in acquittal.
What Can a Calabasas DUI Attorney Do to Help You?
There is no question that an experienced Calabasas DUI lawyer will make a difference in your case. The evidence against you is not fool-proof, but it takes knowledge and special training to spot the weaknesses and use them to your advantage. Your DUI lawyer can employ the following tactics.
Disputing the Chemical Tests
Medical conditions, mouthwash, diet, and machine miscalibration can throw off a breath test, and blood test results become questionable if the sample is not handled according to state protocols. If there was an irregularity in your chemical test, your lawyer could get it excluded from the evidence.
Checking for Rights Violations
You have rights throughout the process of being arrested and questioned. If an officer broke protocol or violated these rights, your statements might not be admissible, including anything incriminating you may have said.
Spotting Errors in Officer Testimony
Police officers often act on guesses and assumptions when they make an arrest, which may be stated as facts in the police report. Your lawyer will be able to cross-examine statements made by the arresting officers and any other witnesses. If your lawyer spots inconsistencies, it casts doubt on the strength of the testimony.
Just because a person seemed drunk does not mean they were. Drowsiness, stress, or basic driving errors can all give the appearance of driving under the influence.
Your lawyer’s job is to win your case, and they will try every approach to achieve this goal. Even when a win is impossible, they can often negotiate a deal that reduces the charges, the penalties, or both.
Pretrial Diversion for DUIs in Calabasas
Many believe that fighting for their freedom in court when accused of a DUI is the only way to avoid a conviction. However, with help from your Calabasas criminal defense lawyer, you can explore alternative options. One of the top options available is entering a pretrial diversion program.
These are not available for everyone. If you are a habitual drunk driving offender, the prosecutor will unlikely be willing to allow you to join a pretrial diversion program. Likewise, if someone was injured or killed due to your alleged drunk driving, the state may move forward with your DUI case and other related charges, such as vehicular homicide or Watson murder charges.
Requirements of a Diversion Program
If you are eligible for a pretrial diversion program, there are specific criteria you must meet. Failure to adhere to these requirements means you will no longer be enrolled in the program and will instead face the initial DUI charges against you. This means you could be at risk for jail or prison time, fines, and other criminal penalties.
Some of the top requirements you must prepare to follow include the following:
- Attending group therapy
- Completing a driver training program
- Completing a drug treatment program
- Attending mental health counseling
- Attending a MADD or VIP program
- Installing an ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicle
- Paying court fines and fees
Contact Us for a Free Case Evaluation Today
The most robust possible legal defense would be best to avoid a conviction. It would help if you acted quickly to get an attorney. The earlier you speak to a lawyer, the better. Our site is here to match you with an experienced Calabasas DUI lawyer at no charge.
We draw on a network of talented attorneys who focus exclusively on DUIs. They will evaluate your case at no charge. Please complete our online contact form or call us for your free consultation today.