Get a DUI Attorney Near Me
If you stand accused of a DUI charge in Lakewood you face tough odds. The penalties for DUI include incarceration, steep fines and a suspended driver’s license. In many cases, a DUI can even affect your career. That’s why we believe every DUI defendant deserves the best possible defense. One mistake should not derail your life.
The best way to protect yourself is to get a Lakewood DUI lawyer. They have the knowledge and experience necessary to defend your case and improve your chances of winning. They may be able to help you avoid jail time and keep your license. They also routinely save their clients thousands of dollars in fines.
The Cost of a DUI
Lakewood treats DUI seriously. Local law enforcement makes over 100 DUI arrests a year. These cases are prosecuted with vigor, as they represent a major source of revenue for the courts. Fines and fees for DUI have spiraled out of control and it has become one of the most expensive misdemeanors on the books.
The penalties for DUI are set forth by the California Vehicle Code. They’re stiff even for a first offense and only get worse for repeat offenders. The penalties for a first time DUI include:
- Jail time. If you’re convicted you will be sentenced to at least 48 hours in the county jail, and you could face up to 6 months.
- Fines and fees. You’ll end up at least $1,800 worse off—including the minimum fine of $390 and a staggering variety of court fees.
- Loss of your license. You will lose your right to drive for a minimum of four months, and easily a year or more.
- Mandatory DUI school. This will take months to complete and cost at least $500.
If you have any previous DUI conviction the penalties could become much harsher. You might face jail time of up to a year, or more than a year in state prison. Financial penalties can rise up to $18,000. Depending on the circumstances, your case could even be tried as a felony—affecting your job prospects for life.
What Happens When You Get a DUI?
Lakewood doesn’t have its own police department. Instead, you were most likely arrested by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, or the local branch of the California State Police. Most DUI cases are then booked at the Lakewood Sheriff’s Station. After you’ve been processed you’ll be released and the next phase of your legal battle will begin. There are several hurdles before you, each with a deadline:
- The DMV Hearing. In California your license will be automatically suspended even before you’re convicted of DUI. This suspension takes effect 30 days after the date of your arrest. You have only one chance to fight this suspension, and it requires acting fast—you might request a hearing with the DMV within 10 days of your arrest. It is strongly recommended that you have a DUI lawyer represent you at this hearing. They can also file the request for you and help make sure you don’t miss the deadline.
- The Arraignment. This is a preliminary hearing that will happen a few weeks after your arrest. During the hearing you will enter your plea and get a date for your court trial. It’s important to hire your DUI lawyer before the arraignment if possible. They will advise you on what plea to enter and work to pressure the prosecution, hopefully securing you a better outcome.
- Trial Preparation. There is a gap of several months or more between the arraignment and the trial. Do not waste this time. This is time your lawyer can spend communicating the prosecution, reviewing their evidence, subpoenaing evidence of their own, and preparing your case. It is during this time that a DUI lawyer is most likely to force the prosecution to offer you a better deal or drop the case.
- The Trial. Your trial will most likely be held at the Bellflower Courthouse. In many cases you will not actually go to trial, as your lawyer will help you resolve your case favorably before the court date. If you do go to court, however, your lawyer will work tirelessly to get you acquitted. DUI defendants win their cases all the time, going home a free person.
Do You Need a DUI Lawyer?
If you were arrested for DUI you may feel like your case is hopeless, but it isn’t. DUI lawyers regularly turn around even the toughest cases, often despite very strong evidence. They use a variety of strategies to do this:
- Challenging the validity of the arrest. Sometimes the police make mistakes when they arrest a driver. They may have broken procedures designed to protect your rights. If that’s the case, your lawyer may be able to get the whole case thrown out.
- Finding holes in the evidence. Breath and blood test data is not always right. These tests can be performed incorrectly, both in the lab and on the roadside. Your lawyer will know what to look for to question the accuracy of the evidence against you, possibly getting it suppressed in court.
- Research. How do the arresting officer’s statements today match up with what they said the night of the arrest? Are there any inaccuracies in their report? What about video evidence—does it support what they say, or contradict it? An experienced DUI lawyer will look for any weakness in the case against you and exploit it.
- Negotiation. Many DUI cases end without ever going to court. If your lawyer can weaken the prosecution’s case enough, they may drop the charges against you or downgrade them to something less serious.
These tactics can transform your case. Although no lawyer can guarantee a win, they can navigate the legal system for you and give you the best chance of success. Even in the toughest case, it’s possible that you will get a generous deal or be found Not Guilty.
How to Find the Best DUI Lawyer
The public defender appointed by the court is likely short on time and resources, and they don’t focus exclusively on DUI cases. You need a DUI lawyer to maximize your chances of success—and the more knowledgeable they are, the better. Here’s what to look for to find a lawyer you can trust:
- They focus on DUI. You want a lawyer that works on nothing but DUI cases and related charges. They will have far more experience than lawyers who only dabble in DUI.
- They’ve won cases just like yours. A strong track record speaks for itself, and a good DUI lawyer should be able to explain how they’ve represented clients in similar cases and won.
- They have the credentials to back it up. In law, extra training or certification really does make a difference. A DUI lawyer who is truly devoted to their practice will regularly attend seminars and classes and have other credentials showing that they’ve honed their skills.
- They offer you a free consultation. You should have a chance to meet with a lawyer, learn how they would handle your case, and get to know their approach—without getting a bill. A free consultation is a must.
Take Charge of Your Case
This site exists to connect you with the right DUI lawyer for your case. We do not charge for this, and we work only with qualified, Lakewood area DUI lawyers. You just provide us with a few basic details and we’ll pair you with a top lawyer who offers a FREE consultation.
The sooner you have a lawyer, the more they can help your case. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Fill out the form to the right call us at (310) 862-0199 and get your free consultation today.