A DUI in Santa Ana is serious, and you might worry there’s nowhere to turn—or that seeking help is pointless. But many people don’t realize that DUI evidence is rarely as rock-solid as it seems. DUI tests and officer testimony is prone to error, and a lawyer experienced in DUI defense will be able to recognize any weak spots. If you were arrested for DUI, it’s time to talk to a Santa Ana DUI lawyer who can help.
We’ve taken the time to personally find the best DUI lawyers in the Santa Ana and Los Angeles area, and we know where their strengths lie. We’ll connect you with the best DUI lawyer for your specific case, including a FREE case evaluation with them to start. Don’t delay getting the support you need now. Call us at (310) 862-0199 to get matched with the DUI attorney who can strengthen your case.
Is It Possible for Me to Win a DUI Case?
Many people accused of DUI assume there’s no hope for winning and that things can’t possibly get better. While DUI cases are certainly hard to fight, they are absolutely winnable—sometimes even if the evidence against you is strong.
Every day, DUI lawyers in Santa Ana are successful in defending DUI cases. Some possible scenarios include:
- Something that might be considered strong proof, such as a breath test conducted on the scene, doesn’t always make it to court—or hold up in court, if it does. If evidence is found to be not admissible in court, you may even have a chance of walking away free
- The prosecutors are too busy to take on the case or your lawyer is a good enough negotiator to get the case dismissed
- Reduced or minimized penalties or charges, even if the case can’t be won completely. Your lawyer can sometimes negotiate a deal where the prosecutor agrees to request a lesser sentence or reduce your charges
- Your charges are changed from “DUI” to pleading guilty to “reckless driving,” resulting in much lighter penalties
- The defendant’s right may have been violated in the course of the arrest, which a DUI lawyer can bring to light
Any of these scenarios can lead to dropped or reduced charges, you being acquitted (found “not guilty”), or to the case being dismissed completely. Of course, to make this happen one needs to really know California DUI laws. It requires an experienced Santa Ana DUI defense attorney who can improve your odds.
What Does the Legal Process for a DUI Look Like?
As soon as a DUI arrest occurs, the legal process begins. If you don’t know what to expect—as most defendants don’t, especially if they’ve never been arrested for DUI before (or arrested at all)—it can make everything overwhelmed and frightening.
Here’s what each step in the DUI process in Santa Ana looks like:
The DUI Arrest
Most of the time, a DUI arrest begins with the defendant being pulled over or getting into an accident. (Unless you were in an accident and injured. Then, you might have been taken to the hospital.) Two main things occur at this point:
- You’re usually given a blood or breath test to determine whether you’re impaired.
- Your license is taken away and you’re given a pink paper with a temporary license that expires after 30 days. You’ll have to contact the DMV and request a hearing for your license; otherwise, your license will be suspended and you won’t be able to drive at all.
After the arrest, you’re taken to the local police station, processed, and probably kept overnight in jail.
Hiring Legal Support (Optional But Highly Recommended)
California law does not require you to have a lawyer, but it’s highly recommended—especially with DUI cases. Since there are many strict deadlines following a DUI, such as the 30-day license suspension, you want to act fast getting legal assistance.
Depending on your income, you may actually be assigned a free public defender lawyer. While public defenders are helpful, they’re often working long hours and can only devote a certain amount of time to each case. For this reason, they’ll likely encourage you to go along with whatever you’re offered by the prosecution and not pursue further research or negotiation.
A DUI defense lawyer is your best bet, since they will take the time and do the research required to bring about the best outcome for your case. You’ll want to hire them as soon as you can, starting the day after you’re arrested.
As mentioned above, the DMV will automatically suspend your license once you’re arrested for DUI. This “administrative suspension” can only be fought if you act quickly—as in, within 10 days. This is how long you have to file a request for a hearing—your only chance to stop the suspension. Your lawyer can represent you at this hearing and improve your odds. But if you miss the 10-day deadline, there’s nothing you can do. This is just another reason it’s so crucial to hire a DUI defense lawyer as soon as you can.
- Guilty: Admission that you are guilty of the crime and you won’t fight the charge. (Unless you do so under your DUI lawyer’s advise, you should never plead guilty)
- Not Guilty: You intend to fight the DUI charge
- No Contest: You aren’t openly admitting you’re guilty, but you’re not going to fight the charge. Any convictions or sentencing will happen as if you plead guilty
Sometimes during this hearing, the prosecution will offer you a deal if you plead guilty. However, most lawyers will discourage this until they’ve seen the evidence from the prosecution’s side.
During the pre-trial, the prosecution shares all of their evidence. This is where an experienced DUI lawyer will examine this evidence and do some digging. They’ll look at weak spots in how the evidence was collected, whether your rights were respected, how tests were conducted, and more. They’ll negotiate and try to get the best deal for you. Ideally, that would mean reducing your charge to one that isn’t DUI-related.
Many DUI cases are resolved here without the need to go to trial.
In some cases, like if the prosecution won’t negotiate or they have a weak case, your DUI lawyer may encourage continuing to trial. During the trial, a jury is present. Your lawyer will work to convince the jury you’re guilty and ideally, that you should be acquitted.
Hopefully, this is the case, but if you are convicted, the judge will issue a sentence and your lawyer will recommend strategies to pursue as light a sentence as possible.
Speak with a Santa Ana DUI Lawyer Today
Don’t assume your DUI case is hopeless or that you can’t improve your outcome. Many people are surprised at just how shaky their case actually is once they’ve worked with a good lawyer. To get a free consultation with the right DUI attorney for your case, call us today at (310) 862-0199.