Get a DUI Attorney Near Me
Facing a DUI charge in Whittier is intimidating. Potential jail time, heavy fines and the loss of your driver’s license are all on the table. But you shouldn’t have to pay for years for a single mistake. That’s why you need to fight your DUI charge from the very beginning—and make sure you have a knowledgeable Whittier DUI attorney at your side.
Your lawyer can substantially improve your odds and help you get the best outcome. They will work to protect you from the worst penalties of DUI, potentially helping you avoid jail time, keep your license or even walk away with a Not Guilty verdict. They routinely save their DUI clients thousands of dollars in fines.
How Bad is a DUI in Whittier?
Whittier has gotten stricter on DUI. Each year there are over 288 DUI arrests in the area. The authorities enthusiastically prosecute these cases, in part because they provide a significant source of revenue. The fines and fees associated with DUI can easily be in the tens of thousands of dollars.
The penalties DUI in Whittier are determined by the California Vehicle Code. They are tough even for a first time DUI, and only get tougher for repeat convictions. Minimum penalties for a first offense include:
- At least 2 days in jail. Depending on the judge and the details of your case, jail time can be up to 6 months.
- A minimum fine of $390, plus a laundry list of fees. Altogether they will add up to around $1,800—and can easily be more.
- You’ll lose your license. In a best case scenario this suspension will last four months. In many cases it will last more than a year. Your car insurance rates will also be affected by your DUI.
- Mandatory DUI school, lasting three months and costing $500.
These are first time, minimum penalties. If you have previous DUI convictions you might end up going to jail for a year, or to state prison for up to 16 months. The financial penalties can reach $18,000. License suspension can drag on for years and mandatory treatment programs can last 30 months at a price tag of $1,800. This is why it’s imperative to have a good lawyer fight for you, no matter what the circumstances of your DUI.
What Happens When You Get a DUI
You may have been arrested by the local police, the LA County Sheriff’s Office or the California State Highway Patrol. In most cases you’ll spend the night at the local jail. The next day you’ll be released, but your legal difficulties have only just started. You will have to deal with several landmarks in your case, each one rapidly approaching:
- DMV Hearing. California law gives the DMV the power to suspend your license following your DUI arrest, even if you haven’t been convicted. This is called administrative or “per se” suspension and kicks in 30 days after your arrest. You only have one chance to fight this suspension. To do so you must request a hearing no later than 10 days after your arrest. A lawyer can represent you at this hearing, and can call on the arresting officer to speak at it. A good DUI lawyer will not only work to let you keep your driver’s license, but will use this hearing as a first opportunity to find holes in the officer’s statement.
- Arraignment. This is a preliminary hearing where you’ll enter your plea and get a definite date for your trial. A competent DUI lawyer can be invaluable at this stage. They’ll usually advise you to plead not guilty, whilst feeling out the case against you and probing it for any potential weaknesses.
- Trial Preparation. There is often a wait of several months or more between the arraignment and the trial. Your lawyer will make the most of this time, preparing a robust defense. This is the time when the prosecution is most likely to offer you a favorable deal, especially if your lawyer can get some of the evidence against you thrown out. In some cases, your case could be dropped altogether.
- The Trial. Since the Whittier Courthouse closed in 2013, DUI cases are typically heard at the Bellflower or Downey courthouses, depending on which agency arrested you. Many DUI cases never go to trial, and are resolved before this date arrives. If you do go to trial, however, your lawyer will use a wide variety of strategies to weaken the evidence against you and get the jury to question whether you were really intoxicated. Countless DUI cases end with victory for the defendant each year.
Will a DUI Lawyer Really Help?
DUI cases are tough and you may feel like you can’t win. But any experienced lawyer knows that no case is unwinnable. Here are a few tactics your lawyer might use:
- Challenging the arrest. Arresting officers are bound by various procedures when conducting traffic stops, breathalyzer tests and arrests. If they didn’t follow these procedures they may have violated your rights, which calls the entire case into question. Your lawyer may be able to get your case dismissed on these grounds.
- Looking for holes in the evidence. No evidence used in court is infallible. Breath test machines can be mis-calibrated, lab technicians make mistakes and there is a margin of error on even the most scientific processes. Your lawyer will carefully examine blood or breath test data and see if there is ground to have this date suppressed in court.
- Investigating. Your lawyer will compare testimony from the arresting officers in their original report, at the DMV hearing and during court proceedings. They’re looking for inconsistencies that could discredit these statements. They’ll also look for eyewitness accounts or video footage that undermines the prosecution’s case.
- Negotiating. Many DUIs never even reach the courthouse. Prosecutors are overworked and don’t have time for long shot cases. If your lawyer can make their job tough enough, they may offer a very favorable bargain.
These tactics can make a world of difference to your case. The prosecution might downgrade the charges against you, or even drop the case entirely.
How to Find the Right DUI Lawyer for You
Not all lawyers have extensive experience with DUI cases, even if they say they offer DUI defense. It’s important to choose a lawyer who will know how to fight for you and use every tactic available. At a minimum, your lawyer should:
- Focus exclusively on DUI. DUI law firms will have more experience and knowledge than those that take on any kind of case. That translates to better representation for you.
- Offer proof of past successes. They should be able to explain how they have taken on other cases similar to yours, and what they did to secure a victory.
- Have DUI training or special credentials. The most dedicated DUI lawyers take classes regularly to improve their skills, and may even hold special certification in DUI defense.
- Offer a free consultation. You should be able to meet with the lawyer with no obligation, and get a feel for how they will handle your case before you hire them.
Make Sure You Have the Best Defense
The purpose of this site is to connect you with the best DUI lawyer for your case. All we need are a few basic details and we’ll match you with a lawyer who offers a FREE consultation.
A DUI is a charge that could change your life forever. The sooner you have a DUI lawyer on your case, the more they can do to help you. Just fill out the form to the right, or call us on (310) 862-0199 to get your free consultation today.