Why hire a lawyer for a misdemeanor DUI arrest in California?

Hiring an attorney following their DUI arrest in California may help people to fight the charges against them, and limit their potential penalties.

Numerous people in Vista, and throughout California, are arrested on suspicion of drunk driving each year. According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, there were 172,893 DUI arrests across the state in 2012 alone. Many who face such charges fail to recognize their severity. Following an arrest for misdemeanor drunk driving, however, it may be very important for people to obtain legal representation to deal with DUI criminal and DMV issues and help get the best possible resolution.

The law is complicated

An attorney may have a significant impact on the outcome of a case in defending and negotiating a DUI case. A DUI lawyer knows the defenses as well as the other mitigating factors that are considered in negotiating settlements or plea bargains in these cases which can result in lesser charges or penalties. Additionally, California's driving under the influence laws can be complicated. Depending on the circumstances, people may face not only the DUI charge, but could also face enhanced charges with even greater consequences. California DUI laws allow for enhancements of DUI offenses in the following situations:

  • Refusing to submit to chemical testing
  • Driving more than 30 mph over the posted speed limit in a reckless manner on a highway
  • Driving more than 20 mph over the posted speed limit in a reckless manner on a street
  • Having one or more passengers under the age of 14-years-old when stopped
  • Prior DUI or "wet reckless" conviction

Potentially severe penalties

Those convicted of DUI in the state of California may face a range of penalties. These may include jail time, fines, mandatory participation in alcohol programs or required installation of ignition interlock devices and probation conditions. The types, and severity, of penalties that people may receive if convicted of drunk driving vary based on a number of individual factors and including the circumstances of their arrests and whether they have any previous convictions.

In general, DUI defense lawyers understand the defenses and consequences as well as plea bargain options which may be available for reducing a person's sentence or charge. As such, it is helpful for people to have an attorney advocating on their behalf in order to obtain the best possible outcomes in their criminal case.

Protecting their futures

Even after people in California, and elsewhere, have served their time and paid their fines for DUI convictions, their crimes may continue to impact their personal and professional lives. In some cases, people's livelihoods, as well as their future work opportunities, may be affected by drunk driving convictions. Therefore, those who have been arrested for a DUI charge will benefit in the future from obtaining legal representation. An attorney may help them to understand their rights and fight on their behalf, and work to defend against and/or minimize the impact of such charges on their lives.