Facing a DUI charge in El Monte, CA, can be highly challenging. Penalties for DUI convictions are severe and include a suspended driver’s license, time in jail, and paying a lot of steep fines. Many DUI defendants spend years dealing with the legal fallout of their conviction because they did not take steps to dispute the charge when they had the chance.
That is why it is crucial to hire an El Monte DUI lawyer as early in the process as possible. These lawyers devote their careers to turning around cases just like yours. They will work to secure you the most favorable deal possible and may even be able to win your case.
The Cost of an El Monte DUI
DUIs are not taken lightly. Courts in the El Monte area have adopted an aggressive stance on prosecuting DUI charges, in no small part, because these cases bring in a lot of money. The El Monte Police frequently conduct sobriety checkpoints and DUI sweeps to maximize the number of arrests.
The penalties for DUIs are set by California state law, and they get stiffer with each additional DUI charge. Even first-time DUIs can be outrageously expensive, potentially costing over $15,000.
The complete list of penalties for a first-time DUI includes the following:
- Fines: DUI fines begin at a $390 minimum but get closer to $1,800 minimum once you factor in other fees that the court charges every DUI convict.
- Jail time: DUI convictions usually come with jail time. A first offense can get you at least two days in jail but can become as many as six months.
- Suspended license: If convicted, you will not be able to keep your license. It will be suspended for a couple of months or possibly for much longer.
- DUI classes: If you are found guilty, you will be ordered to take three months of classes on the dangers of driving under the influence, at a personal expense of $500, in addition to the other fees that have accrued.
What if This Isn’t Your First Conviction?
The penalties get stiffer if you have had a previous DUI. You could end up spending a year in jail or even longer in state prison, paying tens of thousands of dollars in fees, being unable to drive for years, and being put into DUI treatment classes for as long as 30 months.
To top it all off, a conviction means you will be put on probation, and you may have to put an interlock device on your car.
Criminal Penalties Are Not the Only Cost
Your license suspension and other criminal penalties are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the consequences of a DUI in El Monte. You can expect your entire life to be changed after a guilty verdict. There are many ways your life will be affected, including one or more of the following:
- You could be required to attend a HAM, MADD VIP, or other driver re-training program.
- Your conviction will remain on your criminal record, which could impact your job or housing opportunities.
- You may need to provide your insurance company with an SR – 22 insurance form, which will increase your auto insurance premiums.
- You may be required to complete a minimum number of community service hours.
- You might be ordered to pay restitution to victims who suffered injuries or property damages.
- Your personal and professional reputations could be destroyed.
- Your professional licenses could be suspended or revoked.
Between your criminal penalties and collateral consequences, if you are found guilty, no aspect of your life will be left untouched by the conviction. The best way to protect your future is by working with a Los Angeles DUI attorney who can help you challenge the drunk driving charges against you.
How the DUI Process Works in El Monte
Your DUI case may begin differently depending on whether the arresting officer belongs to the El Monte Police Department, the County Sheriff operating out of Temple Station, or the Baldwin Park branch of the California High Patrol. In almost all cases, you will spend the night in the local jail.
After your release, the hardest part of the process still lies ahead. There are many critical legal deadlines you have to start thinking about immediately, including:
You have to schedule a hearing at the DMV just ten days from the date you were arrested. If you do this, you will avoid what is known as an administrative suspension of your license, even though you have yet to go to trial. If you want to keep your license until your trial, you must schedule and win your DMV hearing, and having a good lawyer present can go a long way toward making that happen.
Arraignment is a court appearance at which you enter a plea and receive a formal trial date. If you have already gotten a lawyer by this early point in the process, that will signal to the prosecuting attorney that you do not intend to give up without a fight. This may be enough to convince them to offer you a good deal.
Between the arraignment and the trial, there will likely be several months that your lawyer will use to prepare. They will probe the case against you, looking for weaknesses. For example, suppose there is evidence that your blood tests have not been analyzed correctly.
Your El Monte DUI attorney can use this to push for a favorable plea bargain.
Many DUI cases do not make it to trial and are settled before they get that far. If you go to trial, it will generally be held at the El Monte Courthouse. While facing a jury can be daunting, remember that DUI lawyers in El Monte do this professionally.
It is not at all unusual for DUI cases to end in acquittal.
How Helpful Is a DUI Attorney in El Monte?
There is simply no question that having an experienced DUI lawyer on your side makes a difference. The evidence against you is not definitive, but challenging it requires legal knowledge. DUI lawyers will use tactics they have seen work in court, including:
- Disputing the chemical tests: The use of mouthwash, medical conditions, and machine miscalibrations can skew the results of a Breathalyzer test. Although blood tests are more reliable, they require skill to perform, and if mistakes are made during analysis, your lawyer might be able to get the results thrown out.
- Checking for rights violations: You are entitled to certain legal rights after being arrested and before being interrogated. If an officer violates these rights at any point during the process, any incriminating statements you make might not be admissible.
- Spotting errors in testimony: When an officer performs an arrest, they must make certain basic assumptions, which are often recorded as facts in the police report. Your lawyer can cross-examine officers and other witnesses, looking for inconsistencies and weaknesses that may cast doubt on the validity of their testimony.
- Offering alternative explanations: Just because you appeared to be driving under the influence does not mean you were. Drowsiness, driving mistakes, distraction, and stress can all affect performance on the road, but that does not mean you should be hit with a DUI charge.
Your lawyer’s job is to help you win your case, and that is what they will try to do. They may secure a reduced sentence, reduce the charge to something less serious, save you thousands of dollars in fines, or bring back a not-guilty verdict for you.
Get a Free Case Evaluation with an El Monte DUI Lawyer Today
You must act quickly to build the most robust defense possible. You have only ten days from your arrest to schedule a DMV hearing and just a few months to prepare a winning case for trial. The earlier you can speak to a lawyer, the more they can do to help your case.
Our site is here to help. We will connect you with a pre-screened, highly qualified El Monte DUI lawyer at no charge. Our network of attorneys focuses exclusively on DUI work, and all of them offer free consultations. This consultation is your chance to determine whether a lawyer can make a difference in your case.
Do not wait until you are out of time. Talk to a legal professional that will go to bat for you. Please fill out our convenient contact form or call our office to claim your free case evaluation today.