Get a DUI Attorney Near Me
A DUI in Malibu, CA is not a small offense. Almost all DUI convictions now result in jail time, and they will always result in losing your driver’s license, even for a first time offender. In addition, you face thousands of dollars in fines, mandatory DUI school and a year or more of probation. A DUI can even affect your career. That’s why you need to take action to fight the charge before it’s too late.
The best way to do that is to have a Malibu DUI lawyer on your side. Your DUI lawyer will help you navigate the legal process, fight to keep your driver’s license, and work to get the prosecution to drop or reduce the charges.
The Penalties for DUI in Malibu
The more than 100 arrests for DUI in Malibu every year, and prosecutors are eager for convictions. This is because DUI cases represent revenue for the courts and local government. A single first-time DUI conviction can end up costing you over $15,600.
Penalties for DUI are determined by California state law. They follow a “three strikes” approach where the penalties are bad enough for a first offense, but get worse for a second or third (or subsequent) offense. That means the exact penalties you face will depend on your record as well as the circumstances of your arrest.
As an example, let’s look at a first time DUI offender, who did not cause an accident or have any other aggravating factors. The penalties they could face include:
- Jail time, from 2 days in jail to a full six months.
- Losing their license. First time DUI offenders get up to six months hard suspension (no driving at all) followed by five months restricted driving (to and from work and alcohol treatment only).
- Massive fines. On paper the minimum fine for DUI is “just” $390. But the court adds a variety of fees to this, that bring the minimum up to $1,800. Many first time DUI offenders pay far more.
- Mandatory DUI school that lasts at least three months and that you pay at your own expense (minimum $500).
You may also have to install an interlock device on your vehicle, and you will remain on probation, typically for a year, after your sentence is served.
Second and third DUI’s carry much steeper penalties. Jail time can go up to a year in the local jail or 16 months in state prison. License suspension can drag on for years. And the fees can easily end up in the tens of thousands of dollars. In some circumstances, a DUI can even become a felony.
Malibu’s DUI Process
Malibu does not have its own police department. Instead, you were most likely arrested by either the Sheriff’s Department out of their Malibu/Lost Hills Station or the West Valley Division of the California state troopers. In most cases you will be released the following day, either on bail or on your own recognizance—a promise that you’ll appear in court. If you are held and cannot make bail, you should ask your DUI lawyer to assist you. They may be able to help you secure a bail bond or even get the bail waived.
Immediately upon your arrest the clock is ticking. You face several legal deadlines and hearings which include:
- The DMV hearing. The California DMV automatically suspends the license of anyone arrested for DUI, 30 days after the arrest. There is only one way to stop this from happening, and that’s to act fast. You have to file a request for a hearing within 10 days of your arrest. These hearings are short and difficult, and they’re looking for very specific reasons to stay your license suspension. Your DUI lawyer can represent you at your hearing.
- Your arraignment. At your arraignment you will appear in court and enter a plea. It’s best to already have a DUI lawyer on your side before this happens. Court-appointed lawyers will often suggest you plead guilty and take the first offer the prosecution gives you—but this is seldom any better than just taking the standard DUI sentence. A dedicated DUI attorney will help you negotiate a better deal.
- Your trial. In most cases DUI’s never go to trial. Instead, your lawyer will build a strong case and work to dispute the evidence against you. If they can make the prosecutor’s job difficult enough, you’ll likely be offered a much more satisfying deal—which could even include dropping the DUI charge altogether. If you do proceed to court it will be at the Van Nuys Courthouse before a judge and a jury of your peers.
A Malibu DUI Attorney Makes a Difference
If you’re facing a DUI charge you might believe your case is unwinnable. That is not true. DUI attorneys have seen even some of the most unlikely cases turn out well—cases involving a high blood alcohol level, a serious accident or repeat offenders. There are many ways a lawyer can fight your case for you.
The first thing a DUI lawyer does is look at the evidence against you. The strongest evidence in most cases is “proof” of your blood alcohol level from either a breath test or a blood test. But there are many ways this evidence could be wrong. For example:
- When were you tested? If police waited hours after the arrest, your blood alcohol level was not the same as it was while you were driving. It may have gone up, because your body was still absorbing the alcohol you drank.
- Was the breath machine properly maintained? These machined must be calibrated and maintained on a schedule set by the state. If not, their results are faulty.
- Does the machine skew high? The lawyer can analyze its data across hundreds of cases and find out.
- How was the blood test carried out? Blood samples have to be drawn, stored, transported and tested just right. If procedures are not followed the results are meaningless.
When any of these conditions apply, the judge may exclude the evidence. That means your chemical test cannot be held against you.
A good DUI lawyer will know these and dozens of other strategies, and can turn even a difficult case around.
Talk to a Malibu DUI Lawyer for Free
It’s foolish to plead guilty to a DUI or face a judge if you haven’t at least spoken to a DUI lawyer. That’s why we help people like you connect with the most experienced DUI lawyers in California. We can take basic details of your case and match you with a lawyer who has the experience necessary to help you. And they will give you a complete, in person case evaluation for FREE.
Don’t wait until you lose your license. Talk to a DUI lawyer you can trust. Simply fill out the form to the right or call (310) 896-2724 and get your free case evaluation today.