If you get charged with a DUI, the consequences can be devastating.
You could pay a hefty fine, lose your drivers license, or even face months of jail time. Even after your time is paid, you could be on probation for up to five years.
So it pays to hire a good defense attorney.
But to find the right attorney, you’re going to need to know what questions to ask.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the four most important questions to ask while looking for an Orange County DUI attorney.
1. Are you an experienced Orange County DUI attorney?
A DUI is a heavy charge. So you’re going to want to go with an attorney with experience.
Hiring a less experienced attorney may be less expensive, but they will not be as familiar with the applicable laws. They will be less able to negotiate on your behalf.
On the other hand, an attorney with DUI experience is aware of the nuances of DUI stops. They may be able to negotiate less severe charges.
They may even be able to point out police errors that can get the case thrown out.
2. How many cases have you won?
It may seem rude to ask about this. But when your future is at stake, you deserve to know an attorney’s track record.
If you forget to ask about their record, you could end up with an attorney with a long losing streak. And you might be next.
Make sure you’re clear with your definition of “winning.” Your attorney may include plea bargains with acquittals. If you aren’t willing to take a plea deal, it’s helpful to know this.
3. What are my options?
When you’re arrested for a DUI, a number of different things can happen.
A first time DUI in California carries at least a $390 fine and up to six months jail time. However, a good lawyer may be able to convince a judge to a less severe alternative sentence.
Some of these sentences include:
- House arrest: You will serve your time confined in your own home instead of in prison.
- Ignition interlocks: Your car will be fitted with a device that will keep your car from starting unless you pass a Breathalyzer test.
- Mandatory DUI classes: These discuss the dangers of drunk driving as well as what to do when you are drunk. As part of your sentence, you will need to provide the court with a certificate of completion.
You may decide the best thing is to plead guilty in return for a lesser sentence.
Or, if you feel you have a strong case, you can fight the charge and seek an acquittal. An Orange County DUI attorney will be able to counsel you toward the best choice for your case.
4. What will it cost?
Hiring an attorney can be expensive. But it beats the cost of trying to fight a DUI without legal counsel.
Many attorneys work on a flat fee or hourly rate. However, there may be a number of other costs to consider.
If you wish to submit to additional blood tests or provide your own witnesses, these may have additional fees involved.
If you are in Southern California and have been charged with a DUI, you need the best attorney you can find.
Contact us today for a free case evaluation.
How much will you spend to hire an attorney to defend your DUI charge? The answer depends upon a number of factors.
Cost versus benefit
Why should you spend anything? Some people think it is less expensive to pay the fine than it is to hire an attorney who can help them avoid conviction. In reality, DUI convictions are more expensive than people realize.
The best DUI tip for any DUI defendant is to hire an experienced attorney. A conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) in California carries costly penalties. Fines vary, depending upon whether this is your first or subsequent offense, the nature of the offense, and your blood alcohol content. The base fine for a first offense DUI ranges from $390 to $1,000 but the amount you pay is significantly higher after court costs and assessments are added.
Base fines increase if you are convicted of DUI causing injury. You also face higher fines if you are convicted of additional crimes, such as hit-and-run or other traffic offenses.
Yet fines are only part of the cost you will incur if you are convicted of a DUI. You will pay fees to participate in a DUI alcohol program. You will pay fees if you are eligible for and obtain a restricted driver’s license. You may be required to pay jail or probation fees.
As the result of incarceration, the loss of your driving privileges, or the conviction itself, you may lose your job. You may also jeopardize your future, as a DUI will disqualify you for some jobs (such as commercial driving). A conviction — particularly a pattern of convictions — might make you ineligible to obtain certain professional licenses (such as a real estate license).
You are also likely to face travel restrictions. Many people have been refused entry to Canada and other foreign nations because they have suffered a DUI conviction. If your career requires international travel, a DUI conviction might end that career.
Even if you keep your job, you will pay substantially more for auto insurance after a DUI conviction. You may also face premium increases for health insurance and life insurance policies. In short, there are substantial costs associated with pleading guilty that prosecutors and judges will never explain to you.
It pays to fight a conviction
Given all the hidden costs of a DUI conviction, it pays to fight for a dismissal, acquittal, or reduction of the charge. The amount you pay for attorney’s fees will be a small investment compared to the money and aggravation you save by avoiding a conviction.
Some attorneys charge a relatively small fee to help you plead guilty. Clients think they are saving legal fees by hiring those attorneys, but the savings are illusory. You still end up with all the expensive consequences of a conviction.
You pay more to hire a top DUI defense attorney, but you also give yourself a fighting chance to avoid a conviction. An experienced DUI defense lawyer will provide aggressive representation at every stage of the case. That includes challenging the arrest and the initial stop of your vehicle in an effort to get test results and other evidence against you thrown out. It includes bargaining with prosecutors from a position of strength. It includes taking your case to trial if it is not dismissed at an earlier stage.
The best DUI defense lawyers earn their reputations for excellence by winning acquittals and dismissals. When prosecutors know a case is being defended by a lawyer who has track record of success, they are more likely to offer plea bargains that do not include DUI convictions. The extra money you spend to hire an experienced DUI advocate assures you of a fair opportunity to walk away from the charge without a financially devastating conviction.
Computing the attorney’s fee
The fee for a DUI defense depends upon a number of factors. Those include:
- Is this a first, second, third, or subsequent DUI offense?
- Is the charge a felony or a misdemeanor?
- Are you charged with other crimes in addition to the DUI?
- Can the charges be resolved without a trial, through plea bargaining or by dismissal after a suppression hearing?
- If your case will go to trial, how long will the trial last?
- Will you need an expert witness to bolster your challenge to test results?
When you pay for quality, there is no one-size-fits-all fee for DUI representation. Quality lawyers do not charge everyone the same flat fee to enter the same guilty plea.
While our fee to defend a DUI charge will depend upon the factors described above, we can explain our fee structure and give you a good estimate of the fee you will incur after we learn more about your case. By the end our initial consultation, we will be in a position to quote a fee (or a range of fees) and to answer all of your questions about the cost of a high quality DUI defense.
Facing a DUI charge is a serious matter that leaves most individuals wishing they had used different judgment before getting behind the wheel. Despite the initial fear that follows an arrest, having a drunk driving charge does not have to be the end of the world. An experienced attorney can help you resolve a drunk driving charge so that you can get on with your life. Once you pay the penalty for driving while intoxicated, that should be the end of the story and no one should hold that against you.
Unfortunately for some, their drunk driving charge does not stop affecting them after their case has been resolved. For those with little to no knowledge about the subject, legitimate concerns keep them from applying for certain jobs or pursuing certain opportunities. Their drunk driving offense becomes a horrible fear that restricts their upward mobility. Finding out whether an offense can be found during a background check becomes a matter of supreme importance. (more…)
While the majority of the population will never know what it is like to be arrested for driving under the influence, there are a number of others who will receive a 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or even 4th conviction for this offense. For many repeat offenders, alcoholism or other personal problems inhibit their ability to stay sober behind the wheel, and it can have devastating results on their personal life, their employment, and the general safety of themselves and those around them.
When referring to 3rd offenses specifically, defendants often ask me whether they will serve jail time. Many hope that the answer is no and that they could instead be sentenced to house arrest. While it seems like a longshot that a 3rd DUI offender can be sentenced to home confinement, with help from a DUI attorney, some defendants have been successful in doing so. (more…)
The Orange County Sheriff’s Department was busy this weekend conducting roving DUI patrols in San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, and Dana Point. The patrols are one of several actions taken as part of the department’s traffic safety campaign and resulted in sixty nine vehicle stops and five arrests. The DUI task force responsible for the arrests consisted of about 50 officers.
All five motorists taken into custody were due to suspicion of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs and/or suspicion of drug possession. The vast majority of stops and arrests occurred in Dana Point, which authorities say is the location of two bars have created problems for authorities in the past. According to sources, 37 vehicles were stopped in Dana Point, 19 vehicles were stopped in San Juan Capistrano, and 13 vehicles were stopped in San Clemente. (more…)
Drunk driving is a major cause of accidents throughout California. Most DUI crimes are misdemeanors, but there are instances where a felony offense is warranted. A misdemeanor crime is usually punishable with a fine that is less than $1000 and a jail term that is less than one year. A felony crime on the other hand is a crime that can be punishable with a fine that could exceed $1000 and a jail term of more than 1 year.
To be charged with a California DUI offense, a person’s blood alcohol concentration must be 0.08 percent or more. Under California law, driving under the influence is generally a misdemeanor crime. However, the person can be charged with felony DUI if bodily injury is caused to any other person, the person responsible has a prior felony DUI on his or her record, or if it is the fourth time the person is being arrested for DUI in a ten year time period. (more…)
If you or someone you know has been involved in a driving under the influence incident, you may be worried about the outcome. The good news is that with the help of a lawyer, the legal process will be less intimidating, and the chances of lower or alternative sentencing will be much higher.
Here are a few examples of alternative sentencing options, besides jail time:
The lawyer can push for a house arrest, where confinement is restricted to the perimeters of the defendant’s own home – rather than in a small jail cell. A few celebrities who have received the alternative sentencing of DUI house arrest include Lindsey Lohan or Bobby Brown. Non-celebrities also have the option for house arrest too.
Installing Ignition Interlocks
As the name suggests, an advanced interlocking system is attached to the driver’s car, where he or she will need to submit a Breathalyzer test before the ignition is able to start. No one else is able to submit this test on the driver’s behalf, given that personal recognition feature implemented. In the event that a friend or family member aims to dupe the test, law enforcement is alerted immediately.
Ignition interlock devices are credited as helping DUI offenders or alcoholics keep on the straight and narrow, while making the roadways a little safer. Even though this is an alternative sentencing however, a monthly rental fee is one of the added responsibilities drivers may face.
First-time DUI offenders may be sentenced to pay up to one thousand in fines in the state of California. The minimum fine however is $390 for first time defendants.
The school is responsible for educating drivers about the dangers of intoxicated driving, and how to exercise responsible drinking – by calling a cab or arranging a designated driver for instance. The driver will need to submit a certificate of completion to the court.
A DUI sentence may include one or more penalties. It’s imperative to get in touch with an expert DUI attorney to learn about the best ways to defend the case.
With the latest reports that Colorado has passed a bill with stringent stipulations for a THC legal limit in the blood, where does California stand on the issue? In the past DUIs of drugs or controlled substances did not have a set legal limit.
This is still the case in California.
In Colorado however, the legal limit is now 5 nanograms of THC, and any driver caught above this legal limit faces the same charges as an alcohol intoxicated arrestee.
A per se limit for marijuana intoxicated driving would create a multitude of disputes including the following facts:
- Marijuana can stay in the system for as many as 30 days
- THC consists of more than one ingredient which has varying effects. Scientists call these the active and inactive ingredients
- What about marijuana patients who have become immune to impairment side effects?
There are more arguments to this story. For defendants in California Marijuana DUI cases, if per se limits were established it could mean good news or bad news depending on whom you’re asking. Currently there is a zero tolerance policy for being under the influence of marijuana while driving in California. So any trace could potentially lead to a DUI. On the other side of the coin, the prosecution must prove that the driver was impaired by the substance. These rules apply to even Marijuana patients.
If you or someone you know has been arrested for Marijuana DUI in California or Marijuana Possession, contact a DUI Defense Attorney right away. There are varied safe access guidelines in each county or city that a lawyer can help to clarify. And based on the specific circumstances of the case, a defense attorney who’s versed in DUI is able to compose a defense for getting the best case outcome. Contact MacGregor and Collins at 949-250-6097 today.
Stay in the know about new DUI laws in California by bookmarking this blog.
Sobriety checkpoint laws vary from state to state. While some states deem this practice as entirely legal, a DUI case stands the possibility of dismissal if it’s found that a checkpoint was the source of an arrest.
Currently most states operate DUI roadblocks legally. There are 12 states where this is regarded as an illegal practice.
Which States Outlaw DUI Checkpoints?
- Rhode Island
In addition, some states conduct these at varied frequencies including weekly, biweekly, monthly or even as many as ten per month in states like Nebraska. That being said, California does conduct sobriety checkpoints under state and federal laws. More details on California DUI checkpoints include:
- These are conducted at least 2,500 times annually – which means at least 100 per month spread throughout the state.
- Checkpoints must be scheduled in advance as well as announced to the public ahead of time.
- A supervisor must be present during the checkpoint.
- California police must ensure that everyone is safe during the checkpoint, which means setting up the base in a well-lit area, that proper signals are used when stopping drivers without incident and more.
- California police must be unbiased when making stops, which means using a sequence to determine which vehicles are pulled over. This could mean every second or third car as an illustration.
- California police when conducting DUI stops should make this as brief a session as possible to adhere to the rights of individuals.
These are just a few examples of some of the rules used in DUI checkpoints – for California. The rules vary in other states.
Get Help with California DUI
Do you need help with a recent DUI arrest or pending trial? Contact a defense lawyer now at 949-250-6097.
Some of the most important Highway Safety Laws in California include:
Cell Phone Bans While Driving – This is an infraction and includes using handheld devices, texting and driving. School bus drivers are additionally prohibited from using cell phones while on duty.
Child Seats – or booster seats are required for children under eight. The highway safety laws also require that children less than eight years old sit in the back seat. Adult seat belts are however permitted for ages eight to fifteen, and anyone who fails to comply with this law faces fines of up to $490 as well as one point deducted from their driver’s license.
Drugged Driving – or DUI is strictly prohibited. Being under the influence of drugs carries the same fines as being intoxicated by alcohol.
DUI Checkpoints – are legal in California. The Governor’s Highway Association reveals that at least 2,500 are performed each year.
Motorcyclists Safety – all motorcyclists are required to wear a helmet when driving. Segways are also permitted in this state.
Speed Limits – the speed limit for cars on rural roads are 70 MPH, while trucks are required to drive at no more than 55 miles per hour. In city roadways cars and trucks are required to drive at no more than 65 miles per hour.
Work Zone Fines – If a driver violates important highway safety laws in a work zone, he or she will face double fines.
Adult Driver’s Licenses – these are renewable every five years. The Graduate Driver Licensing for California or GDL is permitted at fifteen years of age for the learner stage. Intermediate stages are available for 16 year olds where no passengers are permitted in the vehicle, with the exception of family members.
If you or someone you know has been issued a traffic offense or a DUI, the DUI defense attorneys at MacGregor & Collins can help you. We will bring superior legal experience to aid you in this challenging time. Call us today at (949) 250-6097.