Get a DUI Attorney Near Me
DUI is not an easy charge to face in Norwalk, CA. The penalties for DUI are far from a slap on the wrist. A single drunk driving conviction can result in jail time, a suspended driver’s license, mandatory alcohol treatment, and fines that range into the thousands of dollars. It’s a serious charge, and one that you need to defend yourself against.
The most effective way to do that is to have a Norwalk DUI lawyer fighting for you. DUI lawyers routinely deal with even the toughest cases. They know how to help you navigate the system to achieve the best possible outcome in your case. They may be able to get the charge reduced or even win your case outright.
The Cost of a DUI in Norwalk
DUI penalties have risen year after year, to the point that drunk driving is now one of the most expensive misdemeanors you can get in California. In fact, the maximum cost of a single first time DUI conviction is now estimated at over $15,000. With fines and fees so high, it’s no wonder that the City of Norwalk has cracked down on DUI. It’s not uncommon for Norwalk to hold sobriety checkpoints to maximize arrests.
The exact penalties for a DUI depend on whether you have previous alcohol convictions on your record. California state law sets down different sentences for a first time, second time, and third (or more) DUI conviction. These sentences can be confusing, but as a guideline, let’s look at the basic penalties for a first time DUI:
- Massive fines. On paper, the minimum fine for a first time DUI is $390. But the court adds a variety of “assessments” or fees on top of this, making the bare minimum about $1,800. It can easily be far more if the judge is not feeling generous.
- Jail time. Most first time DUI drivers will face at least 48 hours in jail and can spend up to 6 months.
- No more driving. Your license will be suspended if you’re convicted of DUI. For a first time DUI this suspension will range anywhere from a few months to a year.
- Mandatory DUI school. All DUI sentences include “DUI school,” a classroom style treatment program. It will last at least three months and cost you another $500 out of pocket.
- Other penalties. You may also have to put an interlock device on every vehicle you own, and you will be placed on probation after your initial sentence.
These penalties escalate quickly if you have prior DUI’s or if there are aggravating factors in your arrest. You could spend a year in jail, or more than a year in state prison; have your license suspended for years; face 30 months of DUI treatment at a cost of $1,800; and pay tens of thousands of dollars to the court.
What to Expect After Your DUI Arrest
The DUI legal process is long and confusing, but it moves fast. From the second you’re arrested the timer is counting down toward a number of hearings and legal deadlines—each of which will affect your future.
Norwalk does not have its own police department, so you were most likely arrested by the LA County Sheriff out of the Norwalk Station, or the state troopers operating out of their Santa Fe Springs office. Either way, you will most likely spend a night in jail at the Sheriff station. But this is only the beginning of your case.
You must immediately begin to prepare for each phase of your case, which include:
- The DMV hearing. The California DMV intervenes in all DUI cases, automatically suspending your driver’s license within thirty days—unless you win at a hearing first. But many drivers accused of DUI don’t even know about this hearing until it’s too late. You have only 10 days from the date of your arrest to request your DMV hearing. Your best bet is to speak to a DUI lawyer before then and ask them to handle it for you.
- The arraignment. At your arraignment you will be brought before a judge at the Norwalk Courthouse and asked to enter a plea. This is the first time you will be pressured to plead Guilty by the prosecution, often with an offer of a quickie deal to get the whole process over with. Beware: these initial deals are rarely good offers. It’s best to show up at your arraignment with a reputable DUI lawyer at your side, and start working right away to make the prosecution improve their offer.
- Your trial. If you go to trial, it will be before a jury of 12 people drawn from the community. However, most DUI cases don’t ever go to trial. Instead, your lawyer will work to secure you the best offer possible beforehand. This could include a reduced sentence, changing the charge to something less than a DUI, or potentially even dropping the charges altogether.
How Does a Norwalk DUI Lawyer Affect Your Case?
DUI lawyers do a lot more than just represent you at hearings and in the courtroom. Their job is the build the absolute strongest defense for you, and shred the prosecution’s evidence to pieces.
One of the most important ways they do this is by challenging the evidence from a blood test or breath test. These tests appear scientific but can be skewed for many reasons, involving the equipment itself, the way it’s handled, lab procedures and the way police administer the test. A DUI lawyer is trained to review this evidence and if they find problems with it, it can be thrown out of the case altogether—as if you were never tested.
Other tactics your DUI lawyer will use include:
- Comparing police testimony to other witnesses and video evidence
- Exploring alternate explanations for your driving or the appearance of drunkenness
- Seeking a medical explanation for a high breath test score
- Examining arrest procedure to see if your rights were violated.
All of these tactics are difficult for a layperson to pursue on their own, but any of them could be the one that saves you from jail time, a lost license, and a DUI on your record.
Talk to a Norwalk DUI Lawyer for Free
If you’ve been arrested for DUI in Norwalk, the best thing you can do is talk to an experienced Norwalk DUI lawyer. Our site exists to connect you to a top lawyer for free—and get you a FREE initial consultation. This consultation is your chance to find out what a lawyer thinks of your case and what your odds are, with no obligation.
You deserve legal representation—and the sooner you get it, the more of a difference it will make. Fill out the form to your right or call (310) 862-0199 to get your free consultation today.