Pasadena has cracked down on drunk driving, and the penalties are stiffer than ever. Any DUI conviction, even a first offense, will result in jail time, a lost driver’s license, and heavy fines. The price tag for a single DUI in Pasadena can easily add up to thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars.
We believe these penalties are excessive. That is why we want every person accused of DUI to be represented by a Pasadena DUI lawyer. A Los Angeles DUI lawyer knows how to work within the system to shelter you from the worst DUI consequences.
They may help you keep your license, receive a lighter sentence, get the charge downgraded to something less serious, or even win your case. In many cases, a lawyer can save you thousands of dollars.
How Bad Is a DUI?
There has been a national trend toward making DUI laws tougher. A big part of this trend includes making them cost more. The fines and fees from DUI convictions bring in a lot of money for the 1,200 DUI arrests a year.
The penalties for DUI are determined by the California Vehicle Code. This code classifies DUIs according to a first offense, second offense, and third offense or more. The more DUIs you have, the worse the consequences are—but even for a first-time offender, they are serious.
Some of the minimum penalties include:
- Fines and expenses: A first-time DUI will cost at least $1,800. In addition, you may have to pay the cost of having your vehicle impounded, the cost of DUI school, and increased car insurance rates.
- Jail time: A first DUI conviction requires a minimum of 2 days in jail, but the judge can easily hand out up to six months of jail time instead. If you’ve had multiple DUIs, you could get up to a year in jail or 16 months in state prison.
- DUI school: You will be ordered to take a rehabilitation course, which could be a three-month DUI school, which will cost you $500. Repeat offenders can face a 30-month treatment program that costs $1,800.
- Lost license: All DUIs carry mandatory license suspension as a penalty. The length of the suspension varies widely, and you may qualify for restricted driving privileges to get to work.
Even after you serve these penalties, you will be on probation for three years or longer. You may also have to install an interlock device on your car at your own expense.
How Your Life Will Be Affected by a Pasadena DUI Conviction
Criminal penalties are going to turn your life upside down. If you are found guilty of a DUI in Pasadena, every part of your life will be affected. It is not unusual for people convicted of DUIs to have trouble finding gainful employment due to their criminal record.
You might also be denied career advancement opportunities and have trouble getting approved for anything that requires a background check. DUI convictions also result in a loss of certain rights. If you are found guilty of a felony DUI, you will lose your firearm rights, your right to vote, and your right to federal student aid eligibility.
If you are not a U.S. resident, you risk deportation and losing your green card. Finding housing, retaining child custody or visitation rights, and repairing your reputation could prove challenging if you have a criminal conviction on your record. To avoid these devastating penalties, you need help clearing your name of the charges against you.
What Happens When You Get a DUI
The DUI legal process began when you were arrested by the Pasadena Police, the Los Angeles Sheriff or the local California State Police. You were most likely processed at the Pasadena Jail. You will normally spend only 24 hours or less there before you’re released.
You would only be held longer if you cannot afford bail. If this is the case, your DUI attorney in Pasadena can help you get a temporary bail bond so that you don’t have to stay in jail until your trial.
You may have felt a sense of relief when you were released from jail. You might not realize that from that moment, deadlines for your legal defense are already looming. Several events will happen very quickly after your arrest:
DMV Hearing Deadline
In California, the DMV is authorized to take away your license just for being charged with DUI, even if you haven’t been proven guilty. This is known as Admin “Per Se” Suspension or administrative suspension. From the time of your arrest, you have only ten days to protest against this suspension.
You do this by filing a request for a hearing within that 10-day window. At the hearing, you will have a chance to argue that you should keep your license pending your trial. If you miss this deadline, your license is automatically suspended after 30 days.
An arraignment is a short hearing before a judge. The charges against you are read, and you are asked how you plead (Guilty or Not Guilty). At this point, if all you have is a public defender, they may already be telling you to plead Guilty and beg for leniency.
This is rarely an effective tactic. An experienced DUI lawyer will usually tell you to plead Not Guilty. Your lawyer will then pressure the prosecutor to offer a better deal or drop the charges.
Once your trial date is set, both sides have limited time to prepare their cases. This is the time that a DUI lawyer uses very carefully. They will subpoena data on the equipment or lab that did your blood alcohol test.
They will look for irregularities in your arrest that may indicate your rights were infringed. Basically, they look for every hole they can find in the prosecution’s case. This may allow them to get you a good outcome without even going to trial or even winning your case.
All of these phases require careful navigation of a complex legal system. It is difficult, to the point of nearly impossible, to handle each stage effectively without the benefit of a DUI defense attorney. If you do not work out a deal before your court date, you will face trial in the Pasadena Courthouse.
Beating a DUI
The best way to beat your DUI charge is to hire a Pasadena DUI lawyer. Often, those accused of DUI do not want to hire a lawyer because they worry it will be too expensive. They may think the evidence against them is too strong, especially if there is a blood alcohol test involved.
However, DUI defense lawyers routinely face these kinds of cases and improve the outcome for their clients. In addition, if they can save you thousands of dollars in fines, they may pay for themselves. A DUI lawyer in Pasadena looks at every possible angle in defending your case:
- Legal procedure: Law enforcement officers are not allowed to pull someone over for no reason. They have to follow set procedures from the moment they turn the siren on until the booking is finished, and if the procedure was violated, your rights may have been violated as well.
- Testing errors: Testing machines can malfunction and humans can make mistakes during testing. A DUI lawyer will request the entire testing history of the breath machine used in your case or documentation on the lab that did the blood test.
- Biology: Did you know that people with acid reflux or diabetes could test over 0.08% on a breath test even when they are sober? The same goes for those who eat a low-carb diet and anyone who has used breath spray or mouthwash shortly before their test.
- Inconsistencies and mistakes: Sometimes, the police assume someone is drunk when they are not. These mistakes can be revealed by inconsistencies in their arrest reports and sworn testimony.
Finding the Right Pasadena DUI Attorney
Not every attorney who calls themself a DUI lawyer will have the experience to back it up. Our website exists to pre-screen the best, most experienced DUI attorneys and connect them with people like you. We focus on attorneys who devote their entire practice to DUI, have special DUI defense training, have a history of serving their clients well, and offer a free consultation.
When you provide us with your case information, we will match you with one of these pre-screened attorneys. We provide this service completely free of charge. Your attorney will then offer you a free case evaluation, where you can learn how winnable they think your case is, what approach they will use and what outcome they think you can expect.
This evaluation is free and comes with no obligation. Do not let the prosecutor determine your fate. Fill out our convenient contact form to the right or call us to schedule your free consultation today.