Despite a wild reputation, West Hollywood does not go easy on crime. If arrested for DUI in West Hollywood, you would face a serious criminal charge and a complicated legal process. If convicted, you may be sentenced to jail time and lose your driver’s license. You’ll also be ordered into a DUI education program and owe thousands of dollars in fines and fees. You need to fight the charge with the help of a seasoned Los Angeles DUI lawyer.
The best defense is to have a good West Hollywood DUI attorney on your side. DUI attorneys spend years learning every strategy that can work in a drunk driving case—and when to use each one. They routinely take on even the toughest DUI cases with good results. They may be able to keep you out of jail, save you big money, and even get the charges dropped.
The Cost of West Hollywood DUI
Driving under the influence has become one of the most expensive misdemeanors on the books. Even a first-time DUI conviction can cost you up to $15,649. To West Hollywood, these excessive penalties are a source of income.
- Jail. Even a first-time DUI offender may face jail time ranging from two days to 180 days.
- “DUI School.” This is a mandatory class that all DUI offenders have to take. The shortest version lasts three months and costs hundreds of dollars.
- License suspension. Your license will be suspended for up to a year for a first offense.
- Fines and court assessments. The base fine for a first DUI offense is $390, which rises to around $1,800 with the other mandatory fees. This is a minimum—it can go higher.
- DUI probation lasts three to five years after your sentence is served.
California state law requires even tougher penalties for repeat offenders. This can include a year in jail, prison time, three years without driving, and substantially higher fines and fees—often over $10,000. In some cases, a DUI can even be charged as a felony.
What Happens After a West Hollywood DUI Arrest
West Hollywood is policed by the County Sheriff and State Troopers out of the Central Los Angeles office. Typically you will spend a night in jail at the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station. But the arrest is only the beginning. As soon as you are booked, a legal process is set in motion, and you must be ready to act.
Three very important deadlines mark the DUI process. Each one comes quickly, and all three have potentially lifelong consequences. You should not face them without professional legal counsel. These deadlines are:
- The DMV Hearing. As soon as you’re arrested for DUI, the California DMV starts a procedure to suspend your license, the Admin Per Se suspension. You have only ten days to fight this suspension, starting from the date of your arrest, but you cannot fight the suspension if you don’t request a hearing in this ten-day period.
- The Arraignment. An arraignment is a short court hearing from a few days to weeks after the arrest, and you’re officially there for one reason: to plead guilty or not guilty. This is when the prosecutor sizes you up to see if you have a lawyer and whether that lawyer has a good reputation for DUI defense.
- The Trial. West Hollywood’s DUI cases are heard at the Hollywood Courthouse. However, you may never have to go to trial. Your West Hollywood DUI lawyer will try to resolve the case for you before your trial date.
Evidence that Can Be Used Against You in a DUI Case
The prosecution can use different evidence against you in a DUI case. Some of the most commonly used pieces of evidence include:
- A police officer’s testimony. The police officer who arrested you may argue that they had probable cause to arrest you for a DUI. They may have witnessed you swerving in and out of the lanes.
- Open containers of alcohol. If police officers search your car and find open containers of alcohol, that can be used against you.
- Breathalyzer test results. A police officer can request that you breathe into a breathalyzer. If your results are at .08% or higher, they can use that evidence against you.
- Eyewitness testimony. If other witnesses viewed your accident, their testimony could be used against you.
How a Lawyer Beats a DUI Charge
Drunk driving law is extremely complex. But the strategies a lawyer uses to beat a DUI charge are simple. The goal is to look at the prosecution’s evidence and go piece by piece, discrediting each item. This can include blood or breath tests, police officer testimony, or statements you made during questioning.
Lawyers can object to any of this evidence and may even be able to get it excluded from the case. As the evidence against you gets weaker, your position grows stronger. Your lawyer will try to win the case in one of three ways:
- Getting it dropped. Prosecutors will sometimes drop the charges altogether. It’s uncommon but happens when their key evidence is thrown out.
- Getting it dismissed. More often, if the evidence is whittled down, your lawyer can ask the judge to dismiss the whole case. If this happens, you are free to go.
- Getting it reduced. The prosecution is often willing to bargain and may even reduce your DUI charge to something less serious, like reckless driving.
The power of negotiation is substantial, and a good attorney may be able to keep you out of jail and avoid massive fines.
Determining Which Evidence Is Credible
A good lawyer knows how to question the validity of evidence. A police officer is just as capable of making mistakes when collecting evidence. A good DUI lawyer knows how to determine whether evidence is:
- Admissible. Not every piece of evidence is admissible. If the evidence was illegally collected, it might not be admissible in court.
- Relevant. The evidence used against you must also be relevant. It may not be used in court if it doesn’t determine whether a fact against you is credible.
- Legal. Evidence against you must have been collected legally. If laws were broken or your rights were violated, that evidence would not be admissible in court.
You Can Speak to a DUI Attorney in West Hollywood for Free
We believe every driver deserves the best defense possible. We have identified the best DUI lawyers in the West Hollywood area, and we can match your case to a lawyer who’s right for you. Every attorney we work with focuses exclusively on DUI and offers you a FREE consultation to help you decide on the next steps in your legal defense—with no obligation.
Don’t become the next victim of California’s DUI laws. Fill out the form to the right or call our office and get your FREE consultation today.