Why hire a lawyer after a California drunk driving arrest?

Working with a lawyer after a DUI arrest in California may help people mitigate the potential consequences they face and protect their futures.

Each year, numerous people throughout California are arrested on suspicion of drunk driving. In fact, the California Department of Motor Vehicles reports there were 160,388 DUI arrests across the state in 2013 alone. Whether it is their first arrest or they have had run-ins with law enforcement before, many who face such charges fail to see their severity and choose to handle their cases on their own. There are several reasons, however, why it may benefit people to work with a legal representative following their drunk driving arrests.

Understanding the laws

The state's driving under the influence laws can be complicated. Depending on the circumstances of their arrests, motorists may be charged with standard DUI offenses or they might face enhanced charges. In some situations, the state may allow for augmentations of DUI charges. These include the following:

  • Driving in a reckless manner at a rate of more than 20 mph over the posted speed limit on a street
  • Driving in a reckless manner at a rate of more than 30 mph over the posted speed limit on a highway
  • Refusing chemical testing
  • Having at least one passenger under the age of 14-years-old in the vehicle at the time of their arrests

Due to these types of enhancements, drivers may face added or more severe penalties. Often familiar with these augmentations, an attorney may help people determine whether they were appropriately charged, and pursue dismissals or reductions of the charges against them in the event their rights were violated.

Dealing with the consequences

Should they be convicted of DUI in the state of California, people may face a range of penalties. These may include fines, compulsory participation in alcohol programs, jail time or mandatory installation of ignition interlock devices. The types and severity of the penalties that may be levied vary based on numerous factors, such as people's prior arrest records and the circumstances of their arrests.

While there are mandatory sentencing minimums and maximums specified under the law, there may be room for negotiating lighter consequences. Drunk driving attorneys understand the potential penalties that may be handed down, as well as the options that may be available for reducing people's sentences.

Protecting their futures

The consequences of DUI convictions in California may continue to haunt people long after they have paid their fines and served their time. Not only may their personal lives be affected, but their livelihoods and future employment opportunities may also be negatively impacted. Therefore, it may be beneficial for those who have been arrested for DUI in California to seek legal counsel. An attorney may look out for their best interests and help them develop a solid defense to the charges against them.