Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol is a criminal offense in every part of the United States, and each state upholds unique statutes that outline the penalties for DUI as well as aggravating and mitigating factors that influence sentencing. If you have been arrested in West Covina for DUI with injury, an attorney can help you determine your best available defenses and potentially help you avoid the worst possible outcomes of your case.
At the Law Office of Daniel P. Flores, our team knows how a DUI conviction can negatively impact your life, especially when you face aggravating factors like injuries to another driver. You probably have many questions about your rights and what to expect from your case. Our team has years of experience representing clients in the most complex DUI cases and can put this experience to work for you. If you or a loved one have been arrested for DUI with injury in West Covina, it’s vital to know the potential penalties you face as well as your best available defenses.
You may believe that a public defender can help you avoid conviction in a DUI with injury case, and the majority of public defenders are capable, hardworking lawyers who do the best they can for their clients. However, you cannot expect much individual attention from a public defender who must manage multiple cases at a time. While it’s normal for attorneys to carry caseloads, and an attorney may work on one case while waiting for further developments from another, public defenders can typically only devote an hour or two each day to any given case due to the number of clients they must represent.
A private West Covina DUI with injury attorney will cost more in legal fees, but you will ultimately receive more individualized representation and more attention paid to your case. If you or a loved one are arrested for DUI with injury, it is vital to secure legal counsel as soon as possible.
DUI with injury is commonly referred to as a “wobbler,” meaning the offense “wobbles” between the felony and misdemeanor levels depending on the exact details of the offense. Typically, the degree of bodily injury sustained by the victim of the crash informs whether the offense will qualify as a misdemeanor or a felony for the defendant.
In the event a DUI with injury qualifies as a misdemeanor, the defendant faces:
If the offense wobbles to the felony side, the penalties are much more severe and can include:
Felony convictions can also lead to a loss of certain rights for the defendant, such as the right to vote or the right to own weapons.
If an individual is convicted of DUI with injury in West Covina, they face not only these criminal penalties but also civil liability for the victim’s damages. The victim may file a personal injury claim against them to seek compensation for medical expenses, property damage, lost income, and their pain and suffering. The criminal case against the defendant managed by the state and the civil case filed by the victim will likely run in tandem, ultimately resulting in severe penalties for the defendant.
When you hire a West Covina DUI with injury attorney to represent you after an arrest for DUI, they will typically move in one of two possible directions when it comes to forming your defense: challenging the prosecution’s evidence or providing exculpatory evidence that proves the defendant’s innocence or mitigates their potential penalties. In most DUI with injury cases, a defense attorney will focus on examining the circumstances of their client’s arrest.
To arrest a driver for DUI, a police officer must establish probable cause to conduct a traffic stop. This may include erratic driving, a moving violation such as speeding, or observing a driver leaving a bar visibly intoxicated before getting into their vehicle.
In the event the police handling the defendant’s arrest violated due process laws or the defendant’s civil rights, the defense attorney may have enough to challenge the validity of the arrest. If you have been arrested for DUI and your chemical test proves that you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs, your attorney may seek to challenge the handling of your chemical test or the validity of the lab results. Since DUI with injury is a wobbler offense, your attorney will do everything they can to help you plea down to the misdemeanor level, and in some cases, it may even be possible to plea down to non-DUI charges or even secure case dismissal due to the prosecution’s mishandling of a case.
Legal counsel you can trust is the best asset you can have after an arrest for DUI with injury. An experienced attorney can quickly assess the mitigating and aggravating factors present in your case and guide you through the complex proceedings your case entails. Remember that after you are arrested on any criminal charges, you have the right to remain silent and the right to legal counsel. Exercise your right to remain silent and do not say anything that could potentially compromise your ability to defend yourself. Once you have a West Covina DUI with injury attorney on your side, they can help you formulate a defense.
If you are ready to speak with an experienced West Covina DUI with injury attorney about your available defenses, contact the Law Office of Daniel P. Flores today and schedule a consultation with us. We’ll review your situation and let you know what you can expect from our team.
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