Being falsely accused of driving under the influence can have devastating long-term effects: large fines and jail time as well as impacting future employment and housing can make DUI one of the most difficult charges to move past. If you have been falsely accused of driving under the influence in California, a DUI attorney can help you through the legal process, explain plea-bargaining and prevent or decrease large fines and jail time.
They Help Innocent Defendants Avoid Convictions
A California DUI lawyer can help you with a DUI charge in several ways:
- Plea bargaining
Some defendants who are arrested for DUI may feel pressure to accept a plea bargain where they plead guilty to DUI in exchange for a lesser penalty, although they may not understand the full implications of doing so. Pleading guilty can have serious long-term consequences and should not be considered without the counsel and advice of an experienced DUI attorney.
- Limiting or avoiding jail time and fines
A felony or misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence can result in large fines and serious jail time. For a breakdown of each type of DUI charge and the corresponding penalties, see below. An experienced DUI attorney can prevent you for receiving jail time or lessen the amount of time you actually serve, as well as circumvent large fines and bail amounts.
They Help Defendants Understand The Penalties They Face
If you are charged with a DUI, there are immediate and permanent legal consequences that can negatively impact your life. The types of DUI charges and their corresponding penalties in California are:
- First offense misdemeanor DUI: up to six months in county jail, a $390 – $1,000 fine, 6 – 10 months of driver’s license revocation or suspension and three or nine months of DUI school
- Second offense misdemeanor DUI: 96 hours to one year in county jail, a $390 – $1,000 fine, two years of revocation or suspension of driver’s license and 18 or 30 months of DUI school
- Third offense misdemeanor DUI: 120 days to one year in county jail, $390 – $1,000 fine, three years of revocation or suspension of driver’s license and 30 months of DUI school
- Misdemeanor DUI with injury: five days to one year in county jail, $390 – $5,000 in fines plus monetary restitution to the injured party, one to three years of driver’s license revocation or suspension and three, 18 or 30 months of DUI school
- Felony DUI with injury: 16 months to 16 years in county jail, $1,015 – $5,000 fine plus restitution, five years of a suspended or revoked driver’s license and 18 or 30 months of DUI school
- Felony DUI: 16 months, 2 years or 3 years in county jail, $390 – $1,000 in fines, four years of suspended or revoked driving privileges and 18 or 30 months of DUI school
If you have been accused of driving under the influence in California, contact a qualified DUI lawyer immediately to help you understand the legal process, protect your rights and prevent significant jail time and large monetary fines.
But Do They Really Help?
There is no doubt that defendants facing DUI charges should consult with an experienced attorney. There are numerous important dates and decisions to adhere to and ponder throughout the course of any case. Without an experienced legal professional, those facing these charges can easily misunderstand their options or the laws surrounding their case and make decisions that have devastating consequences.
Public defenders are often assigned to those that are arrested for DUI, but public defenders rarely have the time and/or energy needed to defend an innocent defendant. They are often overloaded with more clients than they can handle, leaving defendants with sub-par representation. Dedicated private attorneys help to provide those who have the financial means to fight their case with the time and resources necessary to do so.
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