Get a DUI Attorney Near Me
Facing a DUI charge in South Gate, CA is not easy. The penalties for DUI have risen substantially and you could find yourself sentenced to jail time, massive fines, and years of DUI school. In California a DUI conviction also means losing your license, often for years. It is a very serious charge and one that you should fight a hard as possible.
The best way to do that is to have a good South Gate DUI lawyer at your side. DUI lawyers bring years of knowledge and experience with the legal system. They know which defenses work in a DUI case and they can make a dramatic difference in your outcome. In many cases, a DUI lawyer will save you thousands of dollars in fines—and possibly even keep you out of jail.
DUI Penalties in South Gate
The City of South Gate takes a hard stance toward DUI. There is a strong public demand for more DUI arrests, and crackdowns are lucrative for the city—every DUI conviction brings thousands of dollars in revenue. As a result, both law enforcement and the courts have prioritized drunk driving cases. The city routinely uses DUI “checkpoints” to nab as many drivers as possible.
The penalties for DUI are determined by California state law and depend on whether you have previous DUI convictions (or related charges). There are separate penalties for first time, second time and third time+ DUI offenders. Even first time penalties are tough. Penalties for a first time DUI include:
- Fines. The minimum you’ll end up paying if convicted of drunk driving in South Gate is about $1,800. This includes a $390 minimum fine, and a variety of court fees that every conviction must pay. This is a minimum—the fines and fees can easily soar toward $10,000.
- Jail time. Generally, a first time DUI will carry at least two days in jail. It can be much longer. You could face up to six months.
- Losing your license. All DUI’s carry a license suspension. This includes a “hard” suspension where you cannot drive at all and, in some cases, a “soft” suspension with restricted driving privileges. The hard suspension for a first offense will be at least four months.
- DUI School. You will be ordered into a class known as DUI School which is supposed to teach you to be a safer driver. The class takes at least three months and costs $500 minimum.
If you’ve had a previous DUI conviction in the last 10 years, you will face far more severe penalties. You could be in jail for up to a year or even be sent to state prison. Fines can reach into the tens of thousands of dollars. Both the license suspension and the court-ordered treatment program can also last years.
What to Expect in a South Gate DUI Case
Most DUI cases follow a similar arc. The process may vary depending on who arrested you. South Gate is patrolled by the South Gate Police, the LA County Sheriff, and state troopers out of the Santa Fe Springs office. In most cases you will be booked and processed at the South Gate Jail.
For many drivers the first 24 hours are the most harrowing. You will spend a night in jail and likely have to post bail to be released. However, your case is only beginning. You face a long legal road and at each step you need to take action to defend yourself. A single mistake during the process could result in years of penalties. Legal advice during this process is invaluable.
The milestones in a DUI case include:
- 10 Days – Request a DMV Hearing: As soon as you’re arrested you’re on a very tight deadline that many drivers don’t even know about. The police will take away your driver’s license and tell you that you have to talk to the DMV to get it back. But you have only 10 days to do this. In those 10 days you must request a formal hearing with the California DMV and prepare your case as to why you should keep your license. Not just any reason will do—they’re looking for legal grounds to believe your DUI charge might not result in conviction. The best way to handle this is you ask a qualified South Gate DUI attorney to handle the hearing. If you miss the 10 day deadline, there is no way to keep your driving privileges before the trial.
- 14 Days – the Arraignment: Early on in your case, usually within two weeks, you will have to go to a court hearing called an Arraignment. This is not a trial. It’s a short hearing before a judge where you enter a plea of Guilty, Not Guilty or No Contest. It is extremely important to have a DUI lawyer before you go to this hearing. Your lawyer will lay the foundation for why you should not be found guilty, and start to put pressure on the prosecution to offer you a way out. The sooner the prosecution sees you have a lawyer, the better.
- 45+ Days – Your Trial: If you were arrested in South Gate, your trial will likely be scheduled in the Downey Courthouse. However, many DUI cases never actually proceed to trial. You will have up to 45 days, and sometimes longer, to prepare—and this time is crucial. A good DUI lawyer will use this time to gather evidence, find holes in the case against you, and bargain with the prosecution. They may be able to secure you a deal with a light sentence. They could even get the charges against you lowered to something less than DUI or dropped entirely. This is where a DUI lawyer shines.
Does a South Gate Drunk Driving Lawyer Really Make a Difference in My Case?
Hiring a DUI lawyer is the single most important thing you can do for your DUI case. There simply is no substitute for knowledge of the legal system and the history of DUI cases. Thousands upon thousands of defendants have worked their way through the California DUI process, and some approaches work while others fail every time. A DUI lawyer knows the difference.
Some of the ways a good DUI attorney can make a difference in your case include:
- Challenging the validity of a breath test or blood test, and getting it removed from the case
- Discovering officer bias or inconsistencies in the officers’ reports
- Uncovering violations of your rights, and having confessions removed from the case
- Proving alternate reasons for why you appeared inebriated or failed a breath test
- Putting heavy pressure on the prosecution to offer a bargain early on
All of these techniques can improve the outcome of your case and save you money. Taken together, they might mean not going to court or even walking away with no DUI on your record. You should not face a DUI charge without a good lawyer.
Talk to a South Gate DUI Lawyer for Free
We believe every driver has a right to a strong defense. That’s why we help match people accused of drunk driving to skilled, experienced DUI lawyers. We do not charge for this service, and every lawyer we work with offers a 100% FREE case evaluation. This evaluation is your chance to find out how “winnable” your case really is, and what strategies a lawyer would recommend. Whether you hire the lawyer or not is completely up to you.
Don’t wait until you’re being led off to jail. Get the help you need today. Simply fill out the form to the right or call (310) 862-0199 and get your FREE case evaluation TODAY.