The prospect of facing a DUI charge in Inglewood, CA, can be daunting. The penalties for a DUI conviction are very serious and include jail time, steep fines, and a mandatory suspension of your driving license. Many DUI defendants decide not to fight their DUI charge, only to deal with the legal fallout for the rest of their lives. This does not have to be you.
Instead, you should speak to a DUI lawyer in Inglewood immediately. These lawyers are skilled at detecting and exploiting the cracks in the case against you. They may be able to negotiate a favorable deal on your behalf or win your case for you.
The Penalties for DUI in Inglewood
The price tag for a DUI is constantly going up. The courts in Inglewood have an aggressive prosecution policy where DUIs are concerned, partially because these cases bring the city a lot of money. Because of this, Inglewood police routinely conduct city-wide DUI crackdowns.
The penalties for DUIs in California are set by California state law, and they get stiffer for each successive DUI charge on your record. But even first-time convictions can be expensive, possibly totaling over $15,000.
The comprehensive list of penalties for a first-time DUI includes the following:
- Fines. These start at about $1,800 minimum. This includes the $390 minimum fine and a stack of mandatory court fees in every DUI case. If the judge does not choose the minimum fine, the total can cost thousands more.
- Jail Time. If convicted, you will likely spend time in jail. This is at least two days for a first offense but can be as high as six months.
- Losing your license. A conviction means your license will be suspended for at least four months and potentially much longer.
- DUI School. If convicted, you will be ordered to take a three-month class on the dangers of driving under the influence, at $500, on top of the other fees you must pay.
Insurance companies can also punish you for a DUI conviction. You may not be eligible for special driver discounts when applying for insurance.
Your insurance rates may also increase. You may be considered a high-risk driver, no matter what insurance company you go through. In some cases, your policy may be canceled, and you may have a harder time searching for the right insurance policy in the future.
You may need to partner with an insurance company specializing in high-risk insurance policies, which can be expensive.
The penalties only get harsher from here. If you’ve had other DUI convictions in the past ten years, this new charge could cost you tens of thousands of dollars in fines, lead to a year in jail or 16 months in state prison, suspend your license for years, and require 30 months of DUI classes. Beyond all this, you will be placed on probation and may even have to install an interlock device on your car.
Understanding the DUI Process in Inglewood
DUI cases can begin differently depending on whether you were arrested by the Inglewood police, the LA County Sherriff’s Department, or the West Los Angeles office of the California Highway Patrol. No matter which department arrests you, you’ll most likely stay in jail at the Police Department Detention Facility overnight.
As soon as you are released, there are several important deadlines you have to prepare for, including:
- The DMV Hearing. After your arrest, you have only ten days to schedule a hearing with the DMV, else you will face what’s known as an “administrative suspension” of your license. The only way to keep your license until your trial is to request this hearing and convince the DMV that there’s reason to believe you weren’t driving drunk, and the best way to do this is to have a DUI lawyer handle the hearing for you.
- Arraignment. At your arraignment, you will appear in court to enter a plea and receive a trial date. If you already have legal representation, this will signal to the prosecuting attorney that you take your defense seriously which may be enough for them to offer you a favorable deal.
- Trial Preparation. There will be several months between the arraignment and the trial, and your lawyer will spend this time preparing your case. They will examine the evidence against you, looking for things like irregularities in the analysis of blood tests or breath tests that they can use to strengthen your position which is when the best deals are typically offered.
- Trial. Your case will be heard by a judge and jury at the Inglewood Courthouse. If you are going to trial, it is imperative to have the most reputable DUI attorney in Inglewood possible representing you, as DUI cases defended by an experienced attorney will frequently end in acquittal.
A Police Officer’s Evidence Is Not Always Credible
Many drivers accused of a DUI automatically assume that they can not defend their actions. But the actions of the police officer can be questioned throughout the case. There are occasions where the results of field sobriety tests and drug tests are unreliable.
If the police officer violated your Fourth Amendment rights to unreasonable searches and seizures, that can be used against them. If the police officer fails to follow proper protocol when administering a field sobriety or drug test, that can be used against them.
These actions can cause the police officer’s evidence to be inadmissible. They won’t be allowed to use that evidence against you during your case.
How an Attorney Can Help Your Case
Many people believe that results from breath, blood, or urine tests are conclusive, but they aren’t. Regardless of these test results, many DUI charges are dropped or defeated in court. Experienced Inglewood DUI lawyers have ways to rebut almost any evidence that could come up—and can often turn around even the most difficult cases.
The tactics your lawyer may use include:
- Challenging chemical tests. Objecting to the test results will be your lawyer’s highest priority. Many things, including diet, mouthwash, machine miscalibration, and simple laboratory errors, skew blood and breath tests. If your lawyer finds out any reason to call the test results into question, they may be able to have this evidence tossed out.
- Protecting your rights. You are entitled to certain legal rights during an arrest and questioning. If these rights are not respected, your statements to the police might not be admissible.
- Finding errors in testimony. Police officers make mistakes. A lawyer can cross-examine officer or witness statements and try to find where the story is inconsistent, thereby casting doubt on its validity.
- Alternative Explanations. There are a variety of reasons a person might appear to be intoxicated even if they aren’t, including stress, distraction, or just plain making a mistake. The fact that a police officer believes you were driving drunk doesn’t mean that you were.
Your lawyer’s highest priority is to win your case. They may be able to get the charge reduced, the sentence reduced, or even the charges dropped altogether. They will not rest until they have achieved the best outcome.
The Time to Act Is Now
You deserve the best defense possible but must act quickly to get it. The legal process moves quickly; the first deadline is only ten days after your arrest. The earlier you hire a lawyer, the more they can do for you.
Our site exists to match you with an experienced Inglewood DUI attorney. We have cultivated a network of the most talented local attorneys. Each of these attorneys focuses exclusively on DUI cases and offers a FREE consultation.
Don’t wait until it’s too late. Fill out the form to the right or call our office for your free case consultation today!