When you get charged with a criminal offense, you have the right to counsel. Many people question their need for a lawyer for certain offenses, as they are worried that the costs may be more than what they’ll face from the penalties of a conviction.
The penalties of a DUI are quite severe. You may end up spending $15,000 in costs over 10 years because of a first-time DUI conviction. For multiple offenses, or for those facing felony charges, those costs can be even higher.
That figure doesn’t include hard to quantify repercussions of a DUI conviction. What price would you put on your ability to drive? How about the increased difficulty of finding a new job, applying for funding assistance for college, or getting an apartment? These are all factors you must consider when you face a possible DUI conviction.
You can speak with a DUI lawyer for free to learn more about the impact your DUI charge might have on your life, as well as the defense options that are available to you. For your free case evaluation, call us today at (310) 862-0199.
Types of Penalties for a DUI Conviction
Whether you’re facing your first DUI accusation in California or your fourth, the general types of penalties you face are the same. These penalties will include:
- Incarceration (county jail or state prison)
- Court and other processing fees
- Mandatory DUI school (at your expense)
- License suspension
- The possibility of requiring an ignition interlock device (IID) for your vehicles
- Three or more years of probation
These penalties don’t include other repercussions of a DUI, such as:
- Increased insurance premiums
- Possibility of losing your job because of the conviction or its penalties
- Difficulty obtaining a new job (even though the 2018 Fair Chance Act prohibits asking about your criminal history on applications, it can be used to deny you a job)
- Reduced availability of student aid
- Denial of apartment rentals
If your DUI charge is a felony, you face additional repercussions. These include:
- Inability to get the charges expunged from your record, even after you’ve completed your entire sentence
- Temporary loss of voting rights
- Permanent revocation of the right to bear arms in the state
The above penalties can be substantially worse if there were other factors involved in your DUI arrest. You can face enhancements to your penalties if you:
- Were substantially over the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit
- Drove with a child under the age of 15 in your vehicle
- Committed traffic infractions while under the influence
- Injured or killed someone during a traffic infraction
- Refused to submit to a chemical test after you were arrested (or whenever you were asked if you were on DUI probation or under 21)
Choosing a Private DUI Lawyer Over a Public Defender
The right to counsel means that you can have the court appoint you an attorney if you can’t afford one. If you seek a public defender in Los Angeles, you are much more likely to be better off with any lawyer working there than trying to represent yourself in a DUI case.
Unfortunately, research has shown that the Los Angeles Public Defender Office is overloaded with cases. Each public defender handles more than a thousand misdemeanor and felony cases per year, with defendants facing many different types of criminal charges. If you have a public defender representing you, you may not get much time with your lawyer to prepare for the case and they may not have much experience handling DUI cases.
The availability and expertise of a private DUI lawyer means that you can have a zealous advocate in your corner who can take the time to build the defense you need. Private DUI lawyers have more time available to sit with clients to discuss how their case is going. They also know how to challenge the evidence in DUI cases.
Your DUI lawyer’s skills are likely to lead to better outcomes as well. Challenged evidence and more time to negotiate means that you have a better possibility of reducing the penalties you face and an increased chance that the prosecution will agree to a lesser offense. It may even be possible to have the charges against you dropped.
Contact a DUI Lawyer for Free Today
Once you’ve been arrested for a DUI, you should understand that the process moves quickly. The DMV’s administrative suspension happens within 30 days and may only be contested via a request submitted within 10 days. The trial will come quickly, though misdemeanor charges will see the inside of a court sooner than felony charges.
A DUI lawyer can help you with all these aspects of a DUI charge. You can arrange your free consultation with a leading DUI lawyer in Los Angeles by calling (310) 862-0199.