Get a DUI Attorney Near Me
Being charged with DUI in Santa Clarita can be intimidating, especially if there’s a strong case against you. You face the possibility of jail time, large fines, and potentially losing your driver’s license. Although this is intimidating, there are steps you can take to improve your situation. The right Santa Clarita DUI lawyer can help protect you. With professional legal help, there’s a chance you can avoid jail, keep your license, and save thousands in fines. Your lawyer may even be able to prove you not guilty. Although a DUI is a bad mistake, it doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. You deserve the chance to move on with your life. With a competent DUI attorney, you can fight to keep the costs to a minimum.
The Cost of a DUI in Santa Clarita, CA
DUI is a serious offense under California law – and it’s heavily punished. In Santa Clarita, over 370 people are charged with DUI offenses each year. And like elsewhere in the country, California’s DUI penalties have gotten tougher. This crackdown is not just about making the roads safer. It’s become a source of revenue for local government. A DUI can become a very expensive misdemeanor. In California, the severity of the penalties will depend on any previous DUI charges. Even first time offenses mean jail time and fines. The minimum stay in jail is two days, and the fine is $390. Beyond the fine, however, if you’re convicted you’ll face court fees that will total around $1,800. In the case of a second, third or fourth conviction the jail time and fines rise rapidly up to $18,000 in fines and fees and potentially over a year in state prison. Plus, each DUI conviction leads to mandatory alcohol education or treatment. This is a course that ranges from 3 to 30 months, depending on previous convictions, and costs between $500 and $1,800. In addition, your driver’s license will be suspended or restricted no matter what.
What Happens after You’re Arrested?
After you get arrested in Santa Clarita you’ll most likely spend a night at the local jail. This can vary depending on whether you were arrested by the local police, the LA county Sheriff’s Office or the California Highway Patrol. You’ll be processed and released, but your case is only beginning. The legal road ahead of you is complicated. You need to take action from the beginning, and understand each phase of the process:
- DMV hearing. After getting arrested, your license will be confiscated and you’ll get a small pink piece of paper as a temporary license. This is valid for only 30 days. After that your license will be suspended, known as “per se” or administrative suspension. You’ll be told that you have the right to challenge this license suspension with the DMV. But you only have 10 days to request this hearing, after which your license is forfeit. If you want to keep your driving rights, it’s important to act quickly—and having the right lawyer will make a difference.
- Arraignment. An arraignment will follow a few weeks after your arrest. This is the court appearance where you’ll enter your plea. The best advice you can receive is to get a DUI lawyer before the arraignment. They will already be working to make the prosecution’s job tougher and increase the chances of a good offer or having the charges dropped.
- Now we wait. Your trial date may be months away. During this time your lawyer will focus on putting together the most robust case possible in your defense. They’ll need to review all the available evidence and conduct extensive research. Interviewing witnesses and liaising with the prosecution are also crucial in this phase. A DUI defense lawyer will handle all this and more for you.
- The trial. If you’re lucky your lawyer might be able to get your case dismissed or negotiate a favorable plea bargain. If not, you’ll have to go to trial, and your lawyer will work to win for you. The trial will be by jury, and will likely take place at the Santa Clarita Courthouse.
What Can a Lawyer Do for Your DUI?
Many DUI defendants don’t think about getting a lawyer because they don’t believe their case is winnable. This is a mistake. Not getting the right legal help can mean a far less favorable outcome and cost you fare more money. You need someone who knows how to navigate the complex legal system, dig into the evidence, and exploit weaknesses in the prosecution’s case. Although the court may provide you with a public defender, there’s a big difference between this and getting a dedicated DUI lawyer. Most public defenders are short on time and resources. They’ll often push you to plead guilty as soon as possible and might not give your case the backing it deserves. A DUI lawyer on the other hand can find ways to turn your case around. For example:
- Was the arrest legitimate? The case can vanish if any of your rights were violated.
- Is the evidence sound? The prosecution will likely use blood test or breath test data in their case against you. But this data is not always accurate, and the testing methods are not full proof. Your lawyer will know how to challenge it.
- Detective work. There may be subtle inconsistencies in the case against you, such as between witnesses or in the statements of arresting officers. These will jump out to a skilled eye and could mean the difference between Guilty and Not Guilty.
- Negotiation. Prosecutors have to focus their time on their most important cases. Your DUI lawyer may be able to make your case harder for them to win, and force them to offer a good deal.
These tactics can make a dramatic difference. Your case might be dropped or the charge against you may be downgraded to something less severe. If the case does end up going to trial your lawyer will work to give the jury “reasonable doubt,” increasing the odds of your case becoming one of the many DUIs that end in acquittal.
How to Find the Best DUI Lawyer in Santa Clarita, CA?
Although there are countless lawyers in the Santa Clarita area, not all of them have equal experience with DUI cases. You want a lawyer who knows the process, knows the best defenses, and cares about your case. Here’s what to look for:
- They focus exclusively on DUI law and related cases
- They can offer proof of past success in cases just like yours
- They offer a FREE consultation to assess your needs
- They listen to you and seem to show true empathy toward your situation
Don’t Let Yourself Be Found “Guilty”
We believe you have a right to a truly aggressive defense. The purpose of our site is to connect you with a highly qualified and experienced DUI attorney. They will give you a completely FREE case evaluation, and could transform your case. Just provide us with some basic details and we’ll get to work matching you with a professional that can help you when you need it most – today. Ready for your free consultation from a DUI lawyer? Just fill out the form to your right to get started, or call us at (310) 862-0199 now.