Los Angeles DWI Lawyer
Los Angeles DWI Lawyer: Your Guide to Surviving a DWI Charge
Getting arrested for DWI (driving while intoxicated) in Los Angeles can be a scary and overwhelming experience. But with the right lawyer by your side, you can get through this difficult time and come out the other end with your freedom, rights, and future intact.
In this article, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about DWIs in LA, from the legal process to potential penalties to finding the best lawyer for your case. We’ll also share tips on building your defense and advice for moving forward after your case is resolved.
Navigating the Legal Process After a DWI Arrest
Here are the typical steps in a California DWI case and how a lawyer guides you through them:
- Investigation and Arrest: If pulled over on suspicion of DWI, the officer will conduct field sobriety tests and a chemical test of your blood, breath, or urine. Never consent to a test without speaking to a lawyer first.
- Booking and Bail: You’ll be photographed, fingerprinted, and either released on bail or kept in jail until arraignment. A lawyer can often get bail reduced or waived.
- DMV Hearing: An attorney represents you at the DMV hearing and fights the automatic license suspension. This hearing is completely separate from the criminal case.
- Arraignment: At your first court appearance, you enter a plea. A lawyer negotiates with the DA for reduced charges or a plea deal.
- Pretrial Motions: Your attorney files motions to suppress evidence or dismiss the case if errors were made during your arrest.
- Plea Bargain: Rather than risk trial, many defendants accept a plea bargain for reduced charges and a lighter sentence. An experienced lawyer negotiates the best possible deal.
- Trial: If no plea bargain is reached, your case proceeds to trial, where a jury decides your guilt. Your attorney handles jury selection, arguments, and witness examination.
- Sentencing: If found guilty, the judge determines your fine amount, probation terms, jail time, and license suspension length. A lawyer advocates for the lightest sentence.
With an aggressive lawyer fighting every step of the way, many DWIs are reduced or dismissed pre-trial. But if convicted, skilled counsel still minimizes the damage.
Will I Lose My License After a DWI Arrest?
One of the biggest concerns after a DWI arrest is the impact on your driver’s license. Here’s how an attorney helps:
- They represent you at your DMV hearing, arguing to keep your license. The hearing is your only chance to avoid suspension.
- If your license is suspended, they guide you through the process to get it reinstated once eligible.
- For commercial license holders, they help you pursue occupational licenses allowing restricted driving for work purposes.
- They defend you if you’re charged with the additional crime of driving on a suspended license.
With an attorney’s assistance, many drivers avoid suspension entirely or get their licenses back much sooner.
Finding the Best DWI Lawyer in Los Angeles for Your Case
Securing experienced, aggressive counsel is the most important step after your arrest. Here’s how to choose the right DWI lawyer:
- Find an attorney who specializes in DWI defense and regularly handles these cases in LA courts. A dedicated DUI lawyer has the right expertise.
- Look for a high case dismissal rate and track record of keeping clients out of jail. Check reviews and ask for case results.
- Choose a lawyer who makes you feel comfortable and supported. You’ll be working closely together under stressful circumstances.
- Confirm they have resources to thoroughly investigate your case, challenge evidence, and build your defense.
- Avoid lawyers who pressure you to plead guilty right away. A skilled negotiator keeps your options open.
- Be wary of low fees or guarantees – the cheapest lawyer is rarely the best. But a reasonable fee is a good sign.
Take time to research options and have consultations with multiple attorneys before deciding who to hire. This is a very serious charge, so you want the absolute best lawyer fighting for you.
Using Defense Strategies to Beat Your DWI Charge
While every case is different, an experienced DWI lawyer has many tools at their disposal to get charges reduced or dismissed. Common defense strategies include:
- Invalid traffic stop: If the officer lacked reasonable suspicion to pull you over, all subsequent evidence can be thrown out.
- Faulty field sobriety tests: These tests have high error rates and your performance can be affected by many factors besides intoxication.
- Chemical test inaccuracy: The results can be challenged based on maintenance and calibration of the devices.
- Rising BAC level: Your BAC may have been under the limit when driving but peaked later at the station.
- Medical conditions: Things like diabetes or injuries can mimic signs of intoxication during police tests.
- Medication side effects: Prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs can sometimes cause impairment.
- Mishandling of evidence: Mistakes in collecting, storing, or testing evidence can make it inadmissible.
A skilled lawyer thoroughly investigates your arrest to identify every possible defense angle. By casting doubt on the DA’s case, they put you in the best position to win.
What to Expect if Convicted of a Los Angeles DWI
Unfortunately, not every DWI arrest ends in acquittal or dismissal. Here’s what to expect if ultimately convicted:
- Fines and fees: Expect to pay $390 to $1000 in fines, plus several hundred more in court fees, DUI classes, and license reissue costs.
- Jail time: First offenses rarely result in jail time, but it becomes more likely for repeat convictions. Time served ranges from days to years.
- Probation: Many first-time offenders get informal or summary probation of 3-5 years. You must comply with probation terms or face jail.
- License suspension: For a first DWI, your license will be suspended for 6 months, but can be restricted after 30 days. Repeat offenses lead to longer suspensions.
- Ignition interlock: You’ll need this breathalyzer device installed in your car for 6 months to several years before driving unrestricted.
- DUI classes: You’ll be required to complete a licensed DUI program ranging from 3 to 18 months.
- SR-22 insurance: High-risk SR-22 coverage will be mandated for 3 years before regular insurance again.
- Criminal record: The DWI stays on your record for 10 years and can impact background checks for jobs, housing, etc.
While these consequences are tough, a good lawyer helps you avoid the harshest outcomes and smoothly navigate requirements like probation.
Moving Forward After Your DWI Case
Once your case is closed, it’s time to reflect on lessons learned and focus on the future. Here are some tips:
- Accept responsibility for your actions without self-loathing. Don’t let one mistake define you.
- Learn from the experience and make positive changes like limiting drinking, using rideshares, and avoiding risky behavior. But also recognize everyone makes poor choices sometimes.
- Follow all probation terms and reinstatement requirements to get your privileges back quickly.
- Maintain strong support systems of family, friends, counselors, recovery groups, etc. to help you move forward.
- Focus on the positive – appreciate the second chance you’ve been given to rebuild your life after this challenge.
With hard work and commitment to personal growth, a DWI does not have to ruin your life. The right lawyer keeps the damage contained so you can recover and thrive.
A DWI arrest in Los Angeles sets in motion a complex legal process with severe potential outcomes. But an experienced DWI defense attorney guides you through it, protects your rights, develops defenses, and resolves the case as favorably as possible.
With the right lawyer on your side, you can survive this difficult time while retaining your freedom, license, and peace of mind. Don’t go it alone – consult with a dedicated LA DWI attorney today to start building your strongest case.