Get a DUI Attorney Near Me
Pasadena is a rough place to get a DUI. Like many other parts of California, 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’s why we want every person accused of DUI to be represented by a Pasadena DUI lawyer. A lawyer knows how to work within the system to shelter you from the worst DUI consequences. They may be able to 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. It should be no surprise that a DUI has become one of the costliest of all misdemeanors.
The penalties for DUI are determined by the California Vehicle Code. This code classifies DUI’s according to first offense, second offense, and third offense or more. The more DUI’s 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. This includes the minimum fine ($390) plus court assessments. It can easily cost more. 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. For a first DUI conviction you will spend a minimum of 2 days in jail. However, the judge can easily hand out up to six months’ jail time instead. Keeping jail time to a minimum is one of the biggest reasons to hire a DUI lawyer. If you’ve had multiple DUI’s, you could easily get up to a year in jail or 16 months in state prison.
- DUI school. You will be ordered to take some kind of rehabilitation course. This could be a three month DUI school, which will cost you $500. Or, for repeat offenders, it could mean a 30-month treatment program that costs $1,800.
- Lost license. All DUI’s carry mandatory license suspension as a penalty. In fact, the first suspension begins even before you have been given your time in court. However, the length of the suspension varies widely, and you may qualify for restricted driving privileges to get to work. This is another reason a DUI lawyer can be invaluable.
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.
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. The only way you would be held longer is if you cannot afford bail. If this is the case, your DUI attorney 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. What you might not realize is that from that moment, deadlines for your legal defense are already looming. Several events will happen very quickly after your arrest:
- The DMV deadline for fighting for your license. 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 10 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 the license is automatically suspended after 30 days.
- The arraignment. 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. You lawyer will then pressure the prosecutor to offer a better deal or drop the charges.
- The “pre-trial” phase. Once your trial date is set, both sides have limited time to prepare their cases. This is 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 to win 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 don’t want to hire a lawyer because they worry it will be too expensive. Or, they may think that the evidence against them is too strong, especially if there is a blood alcohol test involved. But DUI defense lawyers routinely face these kinds of cases and improve the outcome for their clients. And, if they can save you thousands of dollars in fines, they may pay for themselves.
A DUI lawyer looks at every possible angle in defending your case:
- Legal procedure. Law enforcement isn’t 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. If procedure was violated, your rights may have been violated as well, and this could be used to fight the DUI charge.
- Testing errors. Humans aren’t perfect, and neither are machines. 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. If there are errors or the data is skewed, the evidence may be no good.
- Biology. Did you know that people with acid reflux or diabetes could test over 0.08% on a breath test even when they’re 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. If any of these was a factor in your case, your lawyer knows how to turn it into a strong defense.
- Inconsistencies and mistakes. Sometimes the police assume someone is drunk when they’re not. This can be revealed by inconsistencies in their arrest reports and sworn testimony. Discrediting the arresting officer is a very powerful defense.
Finding the Right Pasadena DUI Attorney
Not every attorney who calls himself a DUI lawyer is going to 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.
Don’t let the prosecutor determine your fate. Fill out the form to the right or call us at (310) 862-0199 to get your FREE case evaluation today.