While the number of DUI arrests has dropped in California, there are over 100,000 people who are charged with this offense each year in the state. A DUI conviction can be a life-changing event that can both take away your freedom and even your ability to earn a living. Therefore, you need legal representation from the minute that you are charged with an offense.
In California, the penalties for even a first-time DUI conviction can be quite severe. The exact punishment depends on the county, but you can usually expect one or more of the following:
The penalties can escalate if this is a subsequent DUI arrest. For instance, on the second offense, the maximum fine can be doubled, and the license suspension will be much longer. A second DUI conviction will result in a sentence of no less than 96 hours of jail time. Often, the prison sentence is even longer.
The above sentences are for misdemeanor DUI offenses. The penalties for a felony DUI are even more severe. Drivers will be charged with a felony DUI when any of the following apply:
Legal representation can help you at every stage of the DUI criminal justice process. Starting at the very beginning of your case, when evidence is being collected and charges are filed, your attorney will help protect your legal rights.
Any DUI defense starts with the decision of whether to fight the charges filed against you. This is where you need a lawyer who knows how to think like a prosecutor. Electing to contest the charges when a plea bargain has been offered is a decision not to be taken lightly.
You always have the option of contesting the charges and going to trial. You would do this when:
In order to effectively fight the charges, you need an experienced DUI attorney who knows how to expose the flaws in the prosecution’s case.
While many DUI cases will end up in convictions, this does not tell the entire story. Your attorney can help you resolve your case by securing a favorable plea deal or even a diversion program in exchange for your guilty plea. This will minimize the consequences to you of a conviction. In many cases, this is actually the best possible outcome for you.
Even if the prosecutor makes an initial plea offer, there may be room for negotiation. You should never just accept the deal that the state is offering without getting a lawyer’s opinion.
In addition to the criminal justice process, you may also have a parallel proceeding with the Department of Motor Vehicles about the status of your driver’s license. It is important to have legal representation during this process too. There may be room to receive a shorter license suspension or no suspension at all.
DUI charges are scary because they are many people’s first introduction to the criminal justice system. All the while, the future consequences that color you may face can color your judgment when it comes to making key legal decisions. The sheer stress of a DUI charge compounds the difficulties that you are already facing. Trying to handle your own legal process could only add to the angst that you are facing while leaving you practically defenseless if your rights are violated.
When you are hiring a Riverside DUI attorney, you need a trial attorney who also knows how to work with prosecutors when necessary. Daniel DeLimon is a former prosecutor who thinks like one in defending his clients. He knows when the prosecutor may have room to make a better plea offer and how to spot the weaknesses in a case because he has been in those shoes. Call us at (951) 777-9104 to schedule your initial consultation or contact us online today.