Get a DUI Attorney Near Me
It’s frightening to be charged with a DUI in Downey, especially if there’s a strong case against you. Jail time, heavy fines and a suspended license are all very real possibilities. In some cases, a DUI conviction can derail your entire life.
But it doesn’t have to. Getting a DUI doesn’t make you a bad person, and you shouldn’t have to spend years paying for it. We believe everyone is entitled to the best DUI defense possible—which is why getting a talented Downey DUI lawyer makes such a big difference. Your lawyer knows the legal system, and they can use their knowledge to get you the best possible outcome. DUI lawyers have helped thousands of people save their driver’s licenses and avoid hefty fines. You could even be found Not Guilty.
What Happens When You Get a DUI in Downey, CA?
In 300 individuals are charged with DUI every year. This is no accident: besides wanting to make the streets safer, the city sees DUI charges as a source of revenue. Fines and fees for DUI have spiraled upward. This is bad news for defendants, and means that your DUI can become very expensive very quickly.
The penalties for DUI are set by California state law. The severity of the penalties depends on your record. If you’ve had prior drunk driving convictions, the penalties will be much steeper than for a first conviction. For example:
- Even first time offenses mean some jail time—a minimum of two days, and easily up to six months. Repeat offenders can face state prison.
- You’ll pay a fine of at least $390. Add that to other fees, and you’ll end up paying at least $1,800. For second, third or fourth offenses, it can be tens of thousands
- Every DUI conviction carries some kind of mandatory alcohol education, taking from three to 30 months and costing another $500 to $1,800.
On top of all this your driving license will be suspended or restricted no matter what.
The DUI Legal Process
If you’re arrested for a DUI in Downey you’ll probably spend the night in the local jail. This depends on who exactly arrests you. It could be the local police, the California Highway Patrol, or the LA county Sheriff’s Office. After being processed you’ll be released, but this is only the beginning of a long legal process with several phases:
- The DMV hearing. After your initial arrest and release, the police will give you a small pink piece of paper. This is a temporary license to replace your confiscated real one and is valid for 30 days. After that your license is suspended pending the outcome of your trial—unless you appeal. The only way to do this is to request a hearing from the DMV, and you only have 10 days to request it. That means the clock is already ticking on your case. Hiring the right DUI lawyer at this stage can give you the best possible chance of success at this hearing, potentially allowing you to keep your license until the trial.
- Arraignment. Within a few weeks after the arrest the arraignment will take place. This is a court hearing where you’ll enter your plea. You will also be given a date for your trial. Unfortunately, if you only have a public defender—the free lawyer given to you by the state—they may suggest you plead guilty. A dedicated DUI lawyer is much more likely to find holes in the evidence against you and fight to get you acquitted.
- The long wait. The gap between the arraignment and the actual trial can be months. Having a top DUI lawyer during this period can significantly reduce the anxiety surrounding it. They’ll make sure they put together the strongest case in the time available, conducting research and subpoenaing evidence as well as putting pressure on the prosecution to drop or reduce the charges.
- The Trial. Many DUI cases never go to trial, especially if your lawyer can get your case dismissed or negotiate a favorable plea bargain. Otherwise, you’ll face a trial by jury, held at the Downey Courthouse. The trial can be a slow, stressful process, but a good lawyer will use it as an opportunity to shred the prosecution’s case and get you acquitted. No lawyer can guarantee a win, but DUI lawyers frequently win trials for their clients.
What Can an Attorney Do for a DUI?
A DUI case is not hopeless. Hiring a lawyer makes a real difference in your case. They may be able to save you thousands of dollars in fees, more than paying for themselves. And they will help you get the most favorable outcome possible.
A good lawyer will use a variety of strategies to fight for you:
- Examine the legitimacy of the arrest. If any of your rights were violated by the arresting officers, the case against you can collapse.
- Question the evidence. The prosecution will typically rely on a breath test or blood test to “prove” you were drunk. These tests aren’t always accurate, however, and they can be challenged.
- Sleuth work. Arresting officers are not infallible. Often, they make mistakes, or their story changes. A lawyer’s skilled eye will spot inconsistencies and know how to use them to your advantage.
- Negotiation. The prosecution may be overworked or have bigger cases to deal with. Or, they may realize the case against you just isn’t that strong—especially once you have an attorney. Your DUI lawyer might be able to negotiate a favorable deal, or even have the case dropped altogether.
These tactics can make a dramatic difference. The case against you might be downgraded to something less serious, like reckless driving. Or you may win your case outright.
Finding a Downey DUI Lawyer You Can Trust
There are countless law firms in Downey, and not all of them are experienced with DUI. Here’s what to look for to make sure you get a lawyer you can count on:
- Make sure they focus primarily on DUI. Ideally, you want a firm that has fought hundreds of DUI cases.
- Ask about their credentials. A good DUI lawyer will have special training relating to breathalyzers, DUI defense, or other relevant areas.
- Make sure they offer a FREE CONSULTATION to discuss your case, and that they treat you with respect and empathy during that consultation.
Take Action Before It’s Too Late
From the moment you’re arrested for DUI, the clock is already ticking. There are deadlines to appeal your license suspension, to request evidence and to get your court case ready. These deadlines arrive quickly and the sooner you have a lawyer, the more they can do to help you.
Our purpose is to connect you with the right DUI attorney for your case. We do not charge for this. All you do is provide us with some basic details, and we’ll match you with an experienced, pre-screened lawyer. They will give you a complete case evaluation free of charge.
Don’t wait until you’re sitting in front of the jury. Fill out the form to the right or call (310) 862-0199 and get your FREE evaluation today.