Law enforcement in North Hollywood has been cracking down as part of a citywide effort to reduce drunk driving. The penalties for a DUI are severe—jail time, a suspended driver’s license, and massive fines are just part of standard sentences. If you have been charged with DUI, you need to defend yourself.
The best way to do that is by having an experienced North Hollywood DUI lawyer on your side. DUI lawyers understand how prosecutors approach these cases and what to do to turn the tide in your case. A strong DUI lawyer may be able to get you a light sentence, help you keep your driver’s license, or even have the charges against you dropped. In many cases, they will save you thousands of dollars.
Penalties for DUI in North Hollywood
Like most of the state, North Hollywood has seen a stricter stance on DUI in recent years. This is in no small part because DUI carries massive fines and fees. All these arrests and convictions bring in a lot of money to the government.
Local courts see DUI convictions as a source of revenue, and the city now has over 2,000 DUI arrests a year. Prosecutors argue for considerable penalties in most of these cases. The price tag for a first-time DUI can now be around $15,000.
Your penalties depend on whether you have previous DUIs on your record. California law sets increasingly harsh sentences for repeat offenders, but even a first offense is not minor. Mandatory penalties include:
- You will spend at least two days in jail in most cases and up to six months.
- There are about $1,800 in fines and court assessments. This includes a minimum $390 criminal fine. If the judge goes with a higher fine, the total can be many thousands of dollars.
- You will face license suspension lasting at least several months and often about a year.
- You must attend DUI “school,” which requires three months of classes (minimum) and a cost of at least $500 that you pay out of your own pocket.
Penalties Can Get Worse Over Time
Again, these are first-time penalties. Second or third DUIs face much steeper sentences. Jail can last up to a year or be converted to sixteen months in state prison.
Driver’s suspension and DUI treatment can continue for years, and the fines will likely add up to tens of thousands of dollars.
Other Consequences You Need to Plan For
Collateral fallout can often be just as devastating, if not more so, than the criminal penalties you face. Unfortunately, completing the terms of your sentencing is not the end of your DUI case.
Although you may be out of jail or prison, there will also be other consequences you need to consider, such as:
- Being required to complete an anger management program
- Having community service hours to complete
- Attending mental health counseling or group therapy
- Earning your MADD VIP or HAM certificate
- Completing DUI school
- Attending regular meetings with court officials, such as probation officers
- Completing random drug or alcohol test
- Securing gainful employment
- Finding safe and affordable housing
- Risking deportation or loss of green card rights
- Suspension or revocation of your professional licenses
- Losing your firearm rights
- Purchasing SR – 22 insurance
You can expect the impact of your DUI conviction to follow you for years to come. You can avoid these hassles by getting the charges against you reduced or dismissed through a pretrial diversion program or successfully defending yourself at trial. You can learn more about which options are most suitable for your case when you contact your North Hollywood DUI attorney for help.
What Happens When You Get a DUI in North Hollywood
It is essential to understand the DUI process you face. The LAPD most likely arrested you out of the North Hollywood station, but North Hollywood is also policed by the Sheriff’s office and the Southern Division of the state Highway Patrol. In most cases, you will be processed at the Hollywood Area Jail regardless of who arrested you.
You may be required to post bail to be released from jail. If this has happened to a loved one, your North Hollywood DUI attorney can assist with finding a way to bail them out.
As soon as you are arrested, the legal process begins and will move quickly. Each stage of your case requires you to make fast decisions that may impact the rest of your life. The most crucial steps of your case are:
The DMV Hearing
You may not realize it, but the battle to keep your driver’s license begins immediately. The state DMV will suspend your license automatically unless you file a request for a hearing. This is an administrative suspension and you have only ten days to request your hearing.
If you do not, or if you lose at the hearing, you will lose your license before you even go to trial. A DUI lawyer in North Hollywood can represent you at this hearing.
Several weeks after your arrest, you will be given an arraignment, a hearing in front of a judge where you are read the charges and are asked to enter a plea. Sometimes the prosecution will already have offered you a “deal,” but these early deals are seldom better than just taking the standard sentence from the judge. This is the first point at which your DUI lawyer can begin to bring pressure to bear on the prosecutor.
There will be approximately one month between the arraignment and your trial date. In most cases, you will never have to go to trial, but this time must be used carefully. Your DUI attorney in North Hollywood will probe the prosecution’s evidence, carry out research on your behalf and move to throw out evidence that has holes.
This is when they are in a position to negotiate the best possible offer for you because the prosecution rarely wants to go to trial.
The Trial Itself
Your trial will likely be held at the Hollywood Courthouse and will be a trial by jury. This is a DUI defense lawyer’s natural element. No lawyer can promise you a victory, but they will draw on years of experience to weaken the evidence against you and persuade the jury to return a verdict of not guilty.
How Does a DUI Lawyer Win a Case?
Many people who face a DUI charge think the case against them is unbeatable. You may have failed a breath test or even admitted to drinking. However, a skilled DUI lawyer knows that no evidence is ironclad and that even the toughest cases can be turned around.
Some of the ways they do this include:
- Excluding the breath or blood tests: Police and labs must precisely follow procedures set down by the state. If any protocol was violated, the evidence against you could be thrown out.
- Reviewing the arrest: If you were not read your rights, or other procedures were broken, key evidence could be excluded from court—including statements where you admitted drinking.
- Finding alternative explanations: A jury conviction rests on “reasonable doubt.” If other factors were at play in your arrest, such as mouthwash that contains alcohol, they might doubt whether you were intoxicated.
- Showing errors in officer testimony: Police make mistakes, which can be spotted by reviewing other evidence or comparing statements from other witnesses.
Talk to a North Hollywood DUI Lawyer
We believe that you deserve the best defense possible in your DUI case. That is why we want to connect you with an experienced DUI lawyer. We work with only the most reputable lawyers, and we can match you with someone with experience with cases like yours. You will receive a free consultation and be able to make an informed decision about whether a lawyer’s services could help you.
Do not let a DUI conviction ruin your life. Please fill out our convenient contact form or call our office and get your free consultation today.