Get a DUI Attorney Near Me
Facing a DUI charge in Covina is tough. The sentence can include jail time, large fines and losing your driver’s license. And a DUI conviction can negatively impact your career. But making one mistake doesn’t make you a bad person, and you shouldn’t have to pay for the rest of your life. That’s why it’s so important to defend yourself—and the best way to do that is with a Covina DUI lawyer at your side.
A good lawyer can make a dramatic difference. They can immediately help you fight for your driver’s license, dispute the evidence in your case, and help protect you from the worst penalties. They may be able to help you avoid jail time, save thousands of dollars, or avoid conviction entirely.
How Serious Is a DUI?
DUI is treated as a serious offense in Covina. Every year the area sees 150 DUI arrests and the courts have become increasingly tough in prosecuting them. The district attorney pursues these cases aggressively, in part because they bring in so much revenue. DUI cases involve some of the heftiest fines and fees of any misdemeanor.
California has a range of penalties for DUI charges. They are set forth by the California Vehicle Code, and get worse for each successive DUI conviction on your record. Even for a first time DUI they are not minor. The penalties for a first offense include:
- Up to six months in jail, with a minimum of 48 hours.
- Fines and fees of at least $1,800, which can easily be far more. These costs include the official minimum fine of $390 plus mandatory “court assessments” (fees).
- You’ll lose your driver’s license for at least several months, and often for more than a year.
- All DUI sentences include a mandatory educational program. These cost between $500 and $1,800 in their own right.
If you have any previous DUI convictions, expect the penalties to rise sharply. You could spend a year in jail or even 16 months in state prison. Fines and fees can reach $18,000. Your case could even be tried as a felony.
Anatomy of a DUI Case
Most Covina DUI arrests are made by either the local police, the LA County Sheriff’s Office or the California Highway Patrol. Usually, you’ll be processed and spend the night at the local jail. You’ll be released the next day, but your legal battle is only beginning. Several phases of this battle will come one after another:
- The DMV deadline. Under California law, you can lose your license automatically even before you get your day in court. The DMV will suspend it 30 days after your arrest unless you act quickly. This is known as “administrative suspension.” To avoid this, you need to request a hearing within 10 days of your arrest. If you don’t request a hearing within this time, there is no way to avoid losing your license.
- Arraignment. An arraignment is the preliminary court hearing that takes place a few weeks after your arrest. At this hearing you’ll enter your plea and be given a date for your trial. You should already have a DUI lawyer by your side when you go to your arraignment. They’ll use it as an opportunity to weigh up the prosecution and set the pace for the rest of the proceedings. They can also advise you on how to plead to work toward a good deal.
- Preparation. There can be months between the arraignment and the trial. This is time a DUI lawyer uses to build your defense. They look for holes in the prosecution’s evidence and inconsistencies in the story of the arresting officers. It’s during this period that they’re most likely to negotiate a favorable offer. In some cases the charges against you could even be dropped or downgraded to something less severe.
- The Trial. If your case goes to court, it will likely be heard at the West Covina Courthouse. You will be tried by jury, and your DUI lawyer has a say in the jury selection. They also have a toolkit of courtroom strategies to use to create “reasonable doubt” and defend you. Your case could join the ranks of the many DUIs won outright.
How to Beat a DUI
The case you’re facing is not unwinnable. The evidence used in legal cases is far more ambiguous and open to challenge than most people believe. DUI lawyers are trained to spot holes in the evidence against you, and use this to leverage a good outcome.
The strategies a lawyer uses include:
- Questioning the arrest. Law enforcement officers are legally bound to follow certain procedures when arresting a suspect. But sometimes they slip up. If this was true in your case, it means your rights were violated, and the case against you could be thrown out.
- Challenging the evidence. Even though breathalyzer and blood test results are considered scientific, they are prone to errors. If the machines used were not calibrated properly, or if lab procedures were not followed, your lawyer may be able to get the evidence suppressed. This unravels the prosecution’s case.
- Detective work. Your lawyer will look at witness statements and research every page of your case’s documentation. They’ll search for any subtle inconsistencies and use them to discredit the arresting officers or the evidence.
- Negotiation. Many DUIs never even go to trial. A DUI lawyer is a seasoned negotiator, and might be able to persuade the prosecution that your case isn’t worth their time so that they cut you a deal.
These tactics can completely reverse a DUI case. The charges against you might be reduced to something less severe, or even dropped entirely.
Finding the Right Lawyer
Not all lawyers are experienced in DUI cases. You need a lawyer who has worked on cases exactly like yours and knows the most effective tactics. Here’s what to look for to identify the right lawyer for you:
- Focuses exclusively on DUI. These firms have the most experience in cases like yours, and will provide more value than a generalist. Many are former prosecutors and know exactly what tactics the prosecution will use.
- They have evidence of success in similar cases. They should be able to show you exactly how they took on a case like yours and won.
- Special training or credentials. The most serious DUI lawyers delve deep into their area of practice. They may have received special training on breath machines, taken seminars on defense tactics, or even be qualified to train other lawyers in DUI defense.
- They offer a free consultation. You should be able to meet with an attorney free of charge, and they should discuss your case with interest and empathy, without pressuring you to commit.
Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late
If you’ve been charged with DUI in Covina, you have a limited time to fight for your driver’s license, your freedom, and a Not Guilty verdict. It’s not worth facing your DUI case without a lawyer.
That’s why we’re here. This site exists to put you in touch with the best DUI lawyers in the Covina area. All we need are a few details and we’ll get to work right away, matching you with a pre-screened DUI lawyer who offers a FREE consultation. Simply fill out the form to your right, or call (310) 862-0199 and get your free consultation today.