Unfortunately, after leaving the bar and committing a minor traffic violation, an officer arrests you for allegedly driving under the influence. You hope to reduce trial costs and simplify the process by representing yourself in your suspected DUI conviction, but you may end up trading saved expenses for your freedom.
California courts inflict serious punishments on those found guilty of driving under the influence. A conviction with jail time, fines and expensive programming may leave you wishing you had obtained better defense.
You are subjected to extreme penalties
Penalties for driving drunk in California do not prove soft. According to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for California, a conviction of driving under the influence of alcohol may come with the following punishments.
- License suspension: California operates under the Admin per Se policy. Upon your failure or refusal of a breathalyzer test, a police officer will take your license. A court may confiscate your license for at least 4 months.
- Jail time: California residents may receive up to 6 months in jail for a first-time DUI conviction.
- Fines: A court may also assign fines of up to $1,000. Committing other crimes in addition to a DUI, such as damaging property or injuring individuals, come with increased associated fines.
- Installation of an ignition interlock device (IID): A judge may require the addition of an IID to start your vehicle.
- Filing of an SR-22: To regain your license, a court may determine that you must prove your financial responsibility, delaying the process of reinstatement.
The combination of punishments depends on the nature and circumstances of your alleged DUI. As you may not be an expert, you may wish to consider hiring an experienced attorney to aid you in obtaining the best outcome for your case.
Private attorney experience outweighs an alleged individual's knowledge
Should you attend court without an attorney, one will be appointed to you. Though public defenders hold years of experience, a private attorney with specific knowledge of DUI case law may prove beneficial both monetarily and in terms of your sentence.
Multiple reasons exist to hire a DUI attorney rather than handling your own case yourself.
- Specialization: DUI attorneys understand the makings of a successful DUI case and their outcomes.
- Experience: Many DUI attorneys have tried hundreds of DUI cases. Compassion and a willingness to go to bat for your rights should describe your defense.
- Ability to find loopholes: Because of DUI attorneys' knowledge regarding DUI case law, they may have the ability to find areas where a police officer misspoke, legal steps were not taken in an arrest or even that your detainment proved illegal.
Though many citizens on trial for a DUI choose to represent themselves to avoid the expense and hassle of finding an attorney, the possibility of avoiding a significant conviction may prove greater. You may have made a mistake, but you have the right to a fair and well-represented DUI trial.