We all make mistakes. And sometimes, those mistakes may violate the law. If you have been charged with a crime, much may be at stake, including money, driving privileges, work licenses, or even your liberty. For these reasons, if you are charged with a crime in or near Torrance, there is a Torrance Criminal Attorney able to use the laws, rules and regulations available to help you reduce—or even eliminate—any punishment for your mistake.
Let’s consider drunk driving. Obviously, you should never drink and drive. But if you are charged with such a crime, what can be done? After all, the penalties can be extremely severe. Even a first offense carries a fine between $390 and $1,000 which, with other “assessments”, usually adds up to a few thousand dollars. Although there is typically no jail time on a first offense, there will likely be 3-5 years of probation and certain license suspensions of at least 6 months.
For a second offense, you will really want the services of a Torrance Criminal Attorney. Here, you face similar fines, but 96 hours to one year in jail, a one-year license suspension and another 3-5 years of probation.
For a third offense, similar fines again, but jail time between 120 days and one year, a three-year license suspension and likely 5 years probation.
With all of the above, the higher the blood alcohol content, the greater the penalties are likely to be.
Understandably, if your drunk driving incident causes injury or even death to another, the consequences become dire. While the above are all charged as misdemeanors, if you injure another, you may be charged with a felony, resulting in a prison sentence between 16 months and 4 years, with fines from $390 to $5,000, as well as suspensions and probation.
If someone dies as a result of your drunk driving, you may be charged with vehicular manslaughter or even murder, with charges including (i) negligent vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, (ii) gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated or (iii) second degree murder. Penalties range from a year in jail and $1,000 fines for the former to 15 years in prison for the latter.
So what can you do to reduce or even eliminate penalties? It is not easy, but here are some of the defenses a quality Torrance Criminal Attorney may interpose to try to help.
- You simply were not driving straight and it was not alcohol-related. Maybe you were swerving to get out of the way of something on the road or you just lost concentration.
- Your red, glassy eyes and slurring the police officer noted cam from another source besides alcohol, such as allergies or illness.
- The tests given by the officer in the field to check your sobriety were either improperly administered or the machinery was faulty. Or maybe the blood or other samples were tainted.
- You only had one drink, but it was right before you drove, so your blood alcohol level was not actually as high while you were driving as when you were tested.
- Your reflux or other similar condition created a blood alcohol level that was not due to drinking. Believe it or not, such conditions as well as other medications can lead to such an inflated reading.
- The stop or arrest was not lawful—you cannot be pulled over for no reason. If the stop or arrest was without cause, and then you were tested for DUI, this may be unable to be used at trial.
- The police acted improperly. Perhaps the sample taken from you was not properly maintained or records not properly kept. This can lead to a reduced or even prevented penalty.
- Your constitutional rights were violated. No Miranda rights? Racial arrest? This could also lead to reduction or dismissal of charges.
In addition to a criminal defense attorney being aware of the above, it is important that you feel comfortable with the attorney. For example, what is his reputation among colleagues, court personnel, judges, etc.? Does he present well? Are his suits nice or stained? Is his speech clear and direct or may he confuse a jury? Does he come across arrogant or personable? Does he return telephone calls and keep you apprised as to what is happening with your case? How much experience does he have in practice? Does he have specific experience in the charges you are fighting?
As you can see, there are many considerations that are so vitally important when defending your money and liberty. Again, we all make mistakes, but a single lapse in judgment should not mean the end of your ability to have a family, a job and happiness. For these reasons, when charged with a crime such as drunk driving, it is important to find a Torrance Criminal Attorney to properly assist you.