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Updated: August 24, 2021

Do You Need a Lawyer for a DUI in California?

If you or somebody you loved is arrested for a DUI in California, you’re probably wondering about what happens next. Do you need a lawyer? What are your options?

What A Lawyer Can Help With

If you are charged with a criminal offense like a DUI, you may be facing jail time. You’ll undoubtedly want to get an attorney who can help you navigate the justice system process. If you can’t afford a lawyer, you can apply for a public defender.

A DUI lawyer will help you understand the law, what you have been charged with, and what types of penalties you’re facing. They will also help you decide if a deal is in your best interest or if your case qualifies for programs such as diversion.

DUI Laws in California

The basic DUI law in California states that it is illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol, and it is also unlawful to drive with a BAC of .08% or greater. Most people arrested for DUI end up getting charged for both crimes. If you have a minor in the car, cause an accident, or drive recklessly while under the influence of alcohol or other substances, there are more serious charges the state can make against you.

New California criminal justice reforms -- as of January 1, 2021 – have prioritized diversion for non-violent offenders. This is true for some felonies as well.

An attorney understands the ins and outs of DUI laws and is best equipped to help you get the best outcome.

DUI Diversion Programs in California

Diversion programs for non-violent offenders have become a priority in the criminal justice system in California. In a diversion agreement, a criminal defendant is given a list of goals and requirements to meet to have the charges against them dropped or lessened.

You and your defense attorney must request a diversion program, such as drug or alcohol treatment or therapy. If granted, the judge will pause your case in the court system. You must then complete the tasks you promised within a specific time frame.

You may be required to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and attend classes on alcohol abuse. You may also have your driver’s license restricted and do a certain number of community service hours. With the help of an attorney, you can draft an agreement with the prosecutor that makes sense. Then, when it’s time, your lawyer will present the plan to a judge.

Make no mistake: a DUI can be a serious criminal charge with both criminal penalties (jail time) and fines. An attorney can help minimize these consequences and get help for your substance use disorder.

Getting Help for Addiction

If you or somebody you love has a substance use disorder, we’re here to provide compassionate care. A DUI or other criminal charge can be a symptom of addiction. We're here to help, not judge. Learn more about how we can help get you on the road to recovery by calling us at 619-363-4767.


If you or a loved one is looking for an effective drug rehab in San Diego, call 619-363-4767. One of our caring members is ready to answer all of your questions.

Get in Touch with Our Caring Team

We are waiting for your call. Don’t hesitate, pick up the phone and dial 619-363-4767 today.

Your first call will be greeted by one of our intake counselors who will be able to provide information on what program would be appropriate for your situation, as well as information about the process of getting treatment at our facility, if appropriate.

If Present Moments is the right fit for your current situation you will be speaking to Admissions Director Mark Gladden, who will be your guide throughout the process of arranging travel and undergoing an initial detox (if necessary). Mark has been the guide for dozens of men and women who have gotten their lives back by entering treatment at Present Moments. He has earned his reputation as being truly dedicated to the recovery of others. Mark will be the one to ‘show you the ropes’ when it comes to admitting to our facility for treatment

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You CAN Achieve Sobriety

We Are Here To Guide You

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