Get a DUI Attorney Near Me
Dealing with a DUI charge in West Covina, California can be daunting. You may have to put your whole life on hold while you face legal ramifications such as fines, a suspended driver’s license, and possibly even jail time. In many cases a DUI can haunt you for years. That’s why you deserve the best DUI defense possible.
The best way to do that is to have a West Covina DUI lawyer fighting on your behalf. Your lawyer will know the intricacies of the legal system, and they will put this knowledge to use to fight for the best outcome for you. They may be able to reduce or avoid fines, help you keep your license, and possibly even have your DUI charge dismissed.
What Can You Expect When You Get a DUI?
DUIs are no laughing matter in West Covina. More than 210 people are charged with a DUI locally every year. The reason for this is simple: the city government views an aggressive DUI policy as a way of bringing in money. Penalties and fees have steadily gotten higher, and defendants can quickly find themselves in over their head.
The penalties for DUIs are determined by California state law. The law assigns heavier penalties for each successive DUI, so that a person with prior DUI convictions will receive a much stiffer punishment than a first-time offender. But even the first time penalties are not light. For example:
- There is a minimum sentence of two days in jail, even for a first DUI. Repeat offenders could face months in jail or even state prison.
- You’ll be paying a fine of at least $390, and that’s only the beginning. When combined with various other fees your minimum bill will be more like $1,800. After several offenses the fines can get into the range of tens of thousands of dollars.
- A DUI conviction carries with it a mandatory education class on the dangers of drinking and driving, or a much more in-depth treatment program. Completing these programs can take between three months and almost three years, and can cost anywhere from $500 to $1,800 in their own right.
And no matter what punishment you get, your license will be suspended or otherwise restricted.
Anatomy of a DUI Case
Getting arrested for drunk driving in West Covina will probably mean spending the night in the local jail, depending on whether the West Covina Police, the California Highway Patrol, or the Sheriff’s Office of LA county arrests you. You’ll be released after processing, but the bulk of a long legal procedure is still ahead.
There are several phases to the DUI process:
- The DMV Hearing. After you’re released you’ll be issued a temporary license, which is a little pink sheet of paper that’s valid for 30 days. Your actual license is suspended until after your trial. You can fight the suspension by requesting a hearing from the DMV within 10 days of your arrest. This is why getting a talented DUI lawyer early in the case is so important—they may be able to help you keep your license until the trial.
- Arraignment. An arraignment is simply an appearance in court during which you enter your plea and are given an official trial date. If you choose not to hire a DUI lawyer you’ll be forced to rely on a public defender, who will often counsel you to enter a Guilty plea. Public defenders are good lawyers but they’re overworked and may not have the time to build a detailed defense for you. A lawyer with experience in DUI cases is more likely to advise you to plead Not Guilty and start pressuring the prosecution to give you a better deal.
- The Waiting Period. You might have to wait months between the arraignment and the actual trial. This can be a stressful time, but your lawyer will use it to your advantage. They will subpoena evidence, do research, find holes in the case against you, and work tirelessly to get the charges against you dropped or reduced. This is the period during which the most favorable deals are typically secured.
- The Trial. While many DUI cases are settled before they go to trial, if your case does make it this far you’ll face a jury at the West Covina Courthouse. This is where your DUI lawyer truly shines. They get to cross-examine the arresting officer, exploit weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, and discredit the evidence against you. A victory is never guaranteed, but good DUI lawyers routinely win on behalf of their clients.
How Does an Attorney Help in a DUI case?
Getting arrested for drunk driving may seem cut and dry—you were either over the limit or you weren’t. But there’s a lot that a DUI lawyer can do to affect the outcome of your case. The law says you aren’t guilty unless proven guilty, and your lawyer can make it very hard to prove.
A good lawyer has several approaches available:
- Examining the arrest. If your legal rights were violated during the arrest procedure the case may be thrown out at the beginning.
- Examining the evidence. Breath tests and blood tests are flawed and don’t always establish your guilt. Your lawyer may be able to question the legitimacy of their results. For example, the breath machine may not have been calibrated correctly or the lab technicians may not have followed procedure.
- Detective work. Your arresting officer may misremember the details of your arrest, or change their story over time. A lawyer will find these inconsistencies and use them to discredit their testimony.
- Negotiating on your behalf. The prosecution has many other pending cases and has to focus on the most important ones. Your odds of getting a favorable deal or having your case dismissed improve once the prosecution realizes you’re serious enough to hire a DUI lawyer. By building up a strong case, your lawyer can bring them to the table and push them to offer you a bargain.
These tactics can mean you pay less money, face no jail time, or even win your case altogether.
Finding the Right DUI Lawyer
There are countless law firms in Los Angeles, and only some of them have the experience to give you the DUI defense you deserve. When deciding which legal counsel you want to represent you, here are a few things to bear in mind:
- Look for firms whose sole focus is DUI work. These lawyers have been through hundreds of cases like yours, and they know the specific tactics that work best.
- Check credentials. A serious DUI lawyer will have training in areas relevant to DUI defense, like breathalyzers or courtroom DUI defense strategies.
- Be sure that they offer a free consultation. You should not have to pay to get an initial assessment of your case and feel out whether the lawyer is right for you.
Time is Running Out
The clock starts ticking when the arresting officer puts you in handcuffs for drunk driving. You only have a small window during which you can make request a DMV hearing, gather evidence, and prepare yourself for court. The sooner you make the decision to get a qualified DUI lawyer, the more they can do to help you.
Our mission is to put you in contact with a DUI lawyer that can handle your case. There’s no charge for this. If you provide us with some basic details we will match you with an attorney from our network of experienced, pre-screened lawyers, and they will give you a FREE and thorough case evaluation.
Once you’re in front of a jury it’s too late. Don’t wait that long. Fill out the form to the right or call (310) 896-2724 to get your free evaluation today.