San Fernando takes DUIs seriously. A DUI saddles you with consequences that can last years, including loss of license, mandatory DUI school, fines and fees reaching thousands of dollars, and potentially even time in jail. Your top priority must be defending yourself.
The best way to fight a DUI is with a San Fernando DUI lawyer on your side. Your DUI lawyer in Los Angeles can guide you through the legal system, challenge the evidence against you, bargain with the prosecution, and potentially resolve your case without going to court. They may even reduce the charge to a less serious one or win your case altogether.
Consequences of a DUI in San Fernando
A DUI is one of the most expensive charges you can face. It is also a source of revenue for the city of San Fernando, and the city heavily enforces it. San Fernando police have secured a grant to maximize DUI enforcement, and they compete with other police departments to get the most arrests.
These penalties include:
- Fines and fees. The fine for DUIs starts at $390. But “administrative fees” are also added, bringing the total to at least $1800—and potentially much more.
- Jail time. You may be incarcerated from as little as two days to as long as six months.
- Losing your license. Suspension of driving privileges is mandatory for all DUs. Suspension may last from four months up to one year.
- DUI school. You must take at least three months of traffic safety courses. You pay for this out-of-pocket, at more than $500.
- Probation. You will spend a period of three to five years on probation and may also be ordered to install an interlock device in your vehicle. This prevents the engine from starting if you are intoxicated.
California state law is even stricter with repeat offenders. If you have a prior DUI on your record within the last ten years, you may spend up to one year in jail or sixteen months in a state prison. License suspension may extend to several years, or your license can even be revoked permanently.
DUI school can last nearly three years, and you may have to undergo addiction treatment. In these cases, costs may rise to more than $10,000. Finally, the charge may become a felony, and felonies stay on your permanent criminal record for life.
Increased Insurance Rates
As if this were not enough, all DUI convictions carry broader implications. For example, your car insurance rates will likely increase, and jail time and DUI school may disrupt your work schedule. A social stigma may follow if you are convicted. It is crucial to fight to resolve your case as favorably as possible.
Talk to a San Fernando DUI attorney before you run out of time and lose your driver’s license.
What Happens After a DUI Arrest
The San Fernando Police Department may have picked you, the LA County sheriff, or the West Valley division of state troopers and likely spent time in the San Fernando Jail. But no matter how your case began, you now face three important legal deadlines. These deadlines include:
You must file a request for a hearing within ten days of arrest, or the state DMV will suspend your license. This “administrative suspension” is different from court suspension, and happens even if you are not convicted. You should ask your DUI lawyer to handle the hearing for you.
There are particular things the DMV wants to hear to let you keep driving, and your lawyer will know how to make a strong case.
The arraignment is a short hearing where you plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest. It usually happens within 14 days of arrest. This hearing is especially important because it is your first encounter with the prosecution.
Their eyes will be on you to see if your case will be an easy win. They do not want to waste precious resources on difficult cases. Your lawyer will show them that you will be a tough conviction, and the prosecutor will likely offer a much more favorable deal.
You will be scheduled for trial at San Fernando Courthouse, but your lawyer will work to settle your case out of court. You should speak to a lawyer as early as possible—the trial can be as little as 30 days from the date of your arrest.
If you are found guilty of the crime, you will then attend a sentencing hearing. Your sentence will be based on the number of DUI convictions you already have on your record.
A first-time offender faces up to six months in jail and a suspension of their driver’s license for more than four months. A second-time offender faces up to one year in jail and a suspension of their driver’s license for no more than two years. A third-time offender faces up to one year in jail or 16 months in state prison with a license suspension of no more than three years.
Do You Need a DUI Lawyer in San Fernando?
Getting a strong lawyer is the most important step for beating a DUI. Your DUI lawyer in San Fernando, CA, will use specific tactics to fight the evidence and try to win your case. These tactics may include:
- Challenging the test results. Breath tests can be inaccurate if poorly calibrated, and blood test samples may be mishandled or stored improperly. Your lawyer can challenge the test results and potentially have them thrown out.
- Objecting to rights violations. Arrests often involve errors in procedure, such as searching your vehicle without permission or failing to read you your rights. These mistakes are ammunition for your lawyer to fight the case against you.
- Finding mistakes in reports. Police reports and testimonies also frequently include inconsistencies. Your lawyer will spot such errors and leverage them in your favor.
- Negotiating a deal with the prosecution. You want a favorable deal without a trial, so you need a trained expert. Your lawyer will systematically fight their evidence against you, then lean on them for a deal.
These are just a few of the advantages of a DUI lawyer. The legal system is complicated, and negotiation is difficult. You need an expert to win your case.
A good lawyer may get your charge reduced to Reckless Driving or dropped altogether. A DUI attorney in San Fernando, CA, can answer all of your questions about the law, collect evidence that benefits you, and build a defense to the charges so you can worry about other things in life.
Talk to a San Fernando DUI Lawyer for Free
You deserve a strong defense, and we can help. Let us match you with a reputable DUI lawyer in the San Fernando area. Every attorney we work with focuses exclusively on DUI and offers a FREE case evaluation.
Do not wait. Fill out the form to the right or call our office to get your free consultation today. The sooner you speak with an experienced San Fernando DUI attorney, the sooner you can have your life return to normal following a DUI charge.