Get a DUI Attorney Near Me
San Fernando takes DUIs seriously. It’s not just a ticket, it’s a criminal offense. 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 to fight a DUI is with a San Fernando DUI lawyer on your side. Your lawyer can guide you through the legal system, challenge the evidence against you, bargain with the prosecution, and potentially get your case resolved without going to court. They may even get the charge reduced to something less serious, 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’s 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. The total cost of a first-time DUI could be as much as $15,649.
But the consequences go beyond finances. Courts level stiff penalties, even against first-time offenders. These penalties include:
- Fines and fees. The fine for DUIs starts at $390. But there are also “administrative fees” added on top, 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 a cost of more than $500.
- Probation.You will spend a period of three to five years on probation. You 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 penitentiary. 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. Felonies stay on your permanent criminal record for life.
As if this weren’t enough, all DUI convictions carry broader implications. For example, your car insurance rates will likely go up, and jail time and DUI school may disrupt your work schedule. A social stigma may follow if you are convicted. It’s crucial to fight to get your case resolved as favorably as possible.
What Happens After a DUI Arrest
You may have been picked up by the San Fernando Police Department, 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:
- DMV hearing. You must file a request for a hearing within 10 days of arrest or the state DMV will suspend your license. This “administrative suspension” is different from court suspension, and happens even if you aren’t 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.
- Arraignment. 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’s your first encounter with the prosecution. Their eyes will be on you to see if your case will be an easy win. They don’t want to waste precious resources on difficult cases. Your lawyer will show them that you will be a tough conviction, and the prosecutor is likely to offer a much more favorable deal.
- Trial. 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.
Do You Need a DUI Lawyer in San Fernando?
Getting a strong lawyer is the most important step for beating a DUI. Your lawyer 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. 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 on your side. Your lawyer will systematically fight their evidence against you, then lean on them for a deal.
Tcese 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.
Talk to a San Fernando DUI Lawyer for Free
You deserve a strong defense. 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.
Don’t wait. Fill out the form to the right or call (310) 862-0199 to get your FREE consultation today.