The penalties for drunk driving in Mission Viejo are steep. The city is proud to be one of the safest cities in Orange County, so law enforcement takes handling crimes seriously, including DUIs. A conviction could mean losing your driver’s license, jail time, and thousands of dollars in fines.
To defend yourself against the worst consequences of drunk driving, having the law on your side with knowledgeable legal representation is essential. A Mission Viejo DUI lawyer can challenge the evidence against you and work to get your charges lessened – or even, in some cases, dropped entirely.
What Happens When You Get a DUI in Mission Viejo?
Once you are pulled over for DUI and arrested in Mission Viejo, you will likely spend the night under local police services. The time after your arrest is what feels the longest and most nerve-wracking. That is because a DUI case can take months to fully resolve.
However, this time can be used to your advantage, allowing you to prepare a defense case and fight for your rights. The following are some things you will need to keep in mind and some actions you will need to take in the days and months following your DUI arrest.
Within 10 Days of the Arrest
You will lose your driver’s license almost immediately unless you act within ten days of arrest. Something called an “admin per se suspension” kicks in, and unless you try to prevent it, your license will be suspended 30 days after your arrest.
To try and fight this, you must contact the California DMV and request a hearing. You only have one chance at this hearing to get your license back. No appeal is allowed.
You can contact the DMV for this hearing or have your DUI lawyer in Mission Viejo, CA, do it for you.
Within Weeks of the Arrest
You must appear at your arraignment. This is a hearing where you will enter your plea. Typically, your plea will either be Guilty or Not Guilty.
If a DUI lawyer was appointed to you by the state, that lawyer will often instruct you to plead guilty – but this is rarely the best option for you. If you have a DUI attorney in Mission Viejo, CA, on your team, they will use this arraignment hearing to challenge the prosecution and seek a better deal instead.
Within 45 Days of the Arrest
During this time, a trial will usually be scheduled at the Mission Viejo courthouse. However, if you have a DUI lawyer working to resolve your case in your best favor, you will probably not need to appear at this trial.
The time after a DUI arrest is precious, and every decision can positively or negatively affect your outcome. Having an experienced DUI lawyer can make all the difference in several ways.
How to Get Your License Back After a DUI in Mission Viejo
Unfortunately, there is no handy trick to getting your driver’s license back sooner after a DUI. You will have to jump through all the hoops set out when convicted of your offense. After a DUI, to get back your license, you will have to:
- Wait for your license suspension to end
- Serve any required jail time or another prison sentence
- Finish DUI school
- Get a specific type of car insurance
- Apply to get your license reinstated
These steps can sometimes be complicated. A DUI attorney in Mission Viejo can help you through the process. They can also lessen your sentence, so you have less of a burden to reinstate your license.
A DUI Lawyer in Mission Viejo Can Help Your Case
Many people who are arrested for drunk driving assume their case is hopeless and there is no reason to hire their own lawyer. This could not be further from the truth! DUI lawyers improve the outcome for defendants in DUI cases all the time – even allowing them to walk free.
Factors that seem like concrete evidence against you, including blood or breath tests and the testimony of the officer who arrested you, are not necessarily as solid as they seem. A DUI lawyer in Mission Viejo, CA, knows how to look at all the evidence and identify holes that an untrained eye would not catch.
The following are some tactics a DUI lawyer might use in your case.
Examining How You Were Arrested
A DUI lawyer will look at the police report from your arrest and determine if any of your rights were violated. Some statements or confessions made might not be allowed in court if they were.
Scrutinizing Officer Testimony
Sometimes, the officer who arrested you might say one thing in their report and another during your DMV hearing. Your lawyer will find any areas that conflict with each other or other pieces of information that do not match up, such as a witness testimony differing from the officer’s.
Police officers are human and can make mistakes just like the rest of us. A DUI attorney will remember this and point out any errors they notice.
Challenging Breath or Blood Test Results
To determine your blood alcohol content (BAC), the arresting officer might administer a breath test during a DUI traffic stop or after your arrest. Blood tests are another way of testing the amount of alcohol in your system.
Law enforcement likes to think their roadside and other DUI tests are scientific and foolproof – but this just is not the case in many situations. For example, studies have shown errors in the blood draw of a blood test can result in a false positive analysis as much as 50% of the time. Several things can go wrong with breath or blood tests, such as:
- Improper administration of the test
- Equipment malfunction
- Miscalibration of a machine
- Improper handling of evidence in the lab
In many cases, these types of details can allow your lawyer to get test results suppressed in your case. Your lawyer will also look at other possible explanations, such as officers only assuming you were intoxicated or other factors causing an accident instead of drunk driving.
Getting Approval for Pretrial Diversion
One of the best ways to avoid bringing your DUI case to court is by entering a pretrial diversion program in Mission Viejo. However, not every person accused of drunk driving will be eligible. In fact, generally, only first-time and non-violent offenders will be eligible.
Upon entering a pretrial diversion program, there are specific requirements you must meet before the district attorney reduces the charges against you to a lesser offense or dismiss your case altogether. Some examples of these stipulations could include the following:
- Completing an alcohol or drug treatment rehabilitation program
- Attending regular meetings with a probation officer
- Agreeing to random drug and alcohol testing
- Installing an ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicle
- Attending regular sessions with a counselor or group therapy
- Paying court fines and restitution to any victims
What to Expect if You Are Convicted
If you are charged with drunk driving, your DUI lawyer in Mission Viejo, CA, it is essential to discuss the potential consequences if you are convicted. Every person’s case is different, but the penalties you could be subjected to are relatively the same.
You can expect to pay fines, have your driver’s license suspended or revoked, and potentially spend time in jail or prison. However, if you are a first-time offender, the court may be willing to allow you to forgo jail time and instead enter a mental health or pretrial diversion program.
Habitual offenders may not be so fortunate. For this reason, if you hope to reduce a conviction’s impact on your life, getting an experienced DUI lawyer working for you could be in your best interests.
How Much Does a Mission Viejo DUI Lawyer Cost?
Our lawyers do not charge anything upfront. Most DUI attorneys in California work hourly, but the amount they charge can depend on the details of your case and the services they provide.
For example, a more experienced or skilled lawyer will most likely charge more. Be wary if you see a DUI lawyer with a very low rate. They could have less experience and, therefore, would be less likely to win your case.
Lawyer fees also depend on expenses like medical tests, rides to and from the courthouse, and subpoena fees. After a free consultation with one of our Mission Viejo DUI lawyers, we can tell you what extra expenses you might encounter in your case.
Speak with a Mission Viejo DUI Lawyer Today
Do not assume all hope is lost in your DUI. You need the best defense on your side, and you would be surprised just how much of a difference it can make in the outcome. Call us today or fill out our online contact form to get a free case evaluation with a dedicated Mission Viejo DUI attorney for your case as soon as possible.