Westminster DUI Lawyer
If you are convicted of DUI, the consequences can be both devastating and far-reaching. Although California law treats first and even second offenses as misdemeanors, a conviction could still result in steep penalties. You might be facing huge fines, suspension of your driver’s license, and a criminal record that would hamper your future employment. An experienced Westminster DUI lawyer can help you fight the charges against you.
At The Law Offices of Scott Henry, we can work to get the court to dismiss or at least reduce your charges. And we will help you devise a strong defense to protect your rights and your future.
What Kind of Penalties Could You Be Facing for DUI in Westminster?
Penalties for DUI charges are severe — and the more offenses you have, the more severe those penalties become.
A first offense is considered a misdemeanor and carries the following penalties:
- Up to six months of jail time;
- A suspended driver’s license for one year or more;
- Required counseling for alcohol abuse;
- An ignition interlock installed on your vehicle;
- Thousands of dollars in fines and fees.
While a second offense is still considered a misdemeanor, it carries greater penalties:
- Up to one year of jail time;
- A suspended driver’s license for two years with a restricted license for two more years after that;
- Up to 30 months of required counseling for alcohol abuse;
- Even more fees and fines.
A third or more DUI conviction is considered a felony and carries even harsher penalties:
- Jail sentence of over one year;
- Up to a four year revocation of your driver’s license;
- Loss of your vehicle;
- 30 months of required counseling for alcohol abuse;
- Tens of thousands of dollars in fines and fees; and
- A probationary period where you must follow strict rules or be sent back to jail.
In addition to these penalties, you could be facing other negative consequences that affect you in the long-term. For example, because a conviction stays on your record for ten years, you may experience increased car insurance premiums or a decrease in your credit. You may also find it more difficult to obtain stable employment.
What Happens After You’re Arrested for DUI?
After you are arrested for DUI, law enforcement will book you at the police station and make you take a chemical blood-alcohol test. They will also take away your driver’s license.
Make sure you call a Westminster DUI lawyer as soon as possible. Your Westminster attorney can help you answer questions without further harming your case, as well as guide you through the DUI court process.
After your license is revoked, you only have ten days to challenge that revocation through a DMV administrative hearing. Your DUI attorney can help you schedule your hearing and help you through any issues that may arise.
Your arraignment hearing is where you and your lawyer will meet the prosecutor and judge, and you plead either guilty or not guilty.
Before your trial starts, your DUI attorney can conduct pre-trial negotiations on your behalf. If the prosecution offers a plea bargain and you agree to the terms (meaning you receive reduced penalties in exchange for a guilty plea), your case will be resolved at this step.
If you do not accept the plea bargain, your case will go to trial. Your Westminster DUI lawyer can help you prepare a solid defense to show the judge or jury that the evidence against you is inaccurate or insufficient. For example, your DUI attorney may challenge the validity of field sobriety tests and chemical tests, which are consistently unreliable, or call the arresting officer’s credibility into question.
If you are convicted of DUI, you will need to attend a sentencing hearing, which is where the court will decide on your penalties. During the hearing, your lawyer will attempt to reduce your sentencing as much as possible.
Will a DUI Conviction Stay on Your Record Forever?
You can expunge, or clear, a DUI conviction from your record, but the process is complicated and unpredictable. A Westminster DUI lawyer can advise you as to your eligibility and whether or not pursuing expungement makes sense for your case.
What Will Happen to Your Auto Insurance Rates?
Your attorney can help you avoid the requirement of submitting an SR-22 form certifying your financial responsibility, which can then help you experiencing an increase in car insurance rates.
Contact The Law Offices of Scott Henry Today
An experienced Westminster DUI lawyer can effectively fight the charges you are up against, as well as help you prepare for any challenges along the way. At The Law Offices of Scott Henry, we have extensive knowledge of the Westminster DUI court system, and we know what it takes to build a strong defense. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.