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Best DUI Lawyers in Merced

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Carlos Fuentes, Attorney At Law logo
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Carlos Fuentes, Attorney At Law

2121 K Street, Merced, CA 95340
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Business Description

Carlos Fuentes, Attorney At Law, is a legal practice in the Merced metro handling criminal defense matters. Its attorney helps individuals facing drinking and driving charges, including driving under the influence of drugs, understand the potential consequences of a guilty verdict, such as license suspension, significant fines, substance misuse counseling, and even mandatory prison sentences. The legal team provides an aggressive defense to get clients the best possible outcome. Services are available in English and Spanish.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.1
Google
4.3 / 5 (11)
Yelp
3.0 / 5 (2)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
4.0
Responsiveness
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Detail
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Fresno Legal Defense logo
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Fresno Legal Defense

139 West El Portal Drive, Merced, CA 95348
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Business Description

Fresno Legal Defense is a criminal defense firm in Merced representing individuals charged with drinking and driving throughout the metro area. Its attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience aggressively defending clients' rights, including handling DMV hearings to keep their license or secure restricted driving privileges for work, school, and medical appointments. The legal practice also takes cases involving domestic violence, gang crimes, drug charges, theft, and violent offenses.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Yelp
5.0 / 5 (7)
Google
5.0 / 5 (2)
Avvo
5.0 / 5 (2)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Friendliness
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Jag Law logo
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Jag Law

655 W 19th St, Merced, CA 95340
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Business Description

The Law Office of John A. Garcia is a personal injury and criminal defense firm representing individuals charged with drinking and driving in the Merced metro area. Its attorney has over 30 years of experience helping clients understand the penalties of a conviction, such as a suspended license, criminal fines, drug misuse education, and mandatory jail sentences. The legal team works to find holes in the prosecution's case for a dismissal or acquittal or to get the charges reduced.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.4
Google
5.0 / 5 (5)
Yelp
3.5 / 5 (3)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
4.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail
––
Law Office of Darryl Young logo
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Law Office of Darryl Young

650 West 20th Street, Merced, CA 95340
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Business Description

The Law Office of Darryl Young is a criminal defense firm in Merced representing individuals charged with drinking and driving offenses. Its attorneys guide clients through every step of their case, from arraignment and DMV hearing to the trial or in negotiations with the district attorney's office. The legal team has several defenses that may help people avoid a DUI conviction's harshest penalties, such as loss of license, fines, and mandatory jail time.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.3
Google
4.0 / 5 (9)
Facebook
3.3 / 5 (7)
Yelp
5.0 / 5 (6)

(+1 additional source)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail
Tenenbaum Law Firm logo
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Tenenbaum Law Firm

800 West 20th Street, Merced, CA 95340
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Business Description

Tenenbaum Law Firm is a criminal defense firm in Merced representing individuals charged with driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. The legal team has access to top resources and uses proven strategies to help clients, such as the lack of probable cause for the initial vehicle stop and questioning the breath test's validity. Tenenbaum Law Firm also handles related offenses, such as pubic intoxication. Services are available in English and Spanish.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.6
Google
4.5 / 5 (33)
Avvo
4.8 / 5 (23)
Yelp
4.0 / 5 (7)

(+1 additional source)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail
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Frequently Asked Questions

What does a DUI charge involve?

DUI, or driving under the influence, is a criminal charge applied to someone who is suspected of operating their vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicant, such as drugs and/or alcohol. Every state in the U.S. has a law on the books that bans driving while intoxicated; however, the specific criteria may differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In some states, a driver with blood alcohol content (BAC) in excess of 0.08% can be brought up on DUI charges while other states set a higher threshold or increase the severity of charges in accordance with the level of intoxication. In some cases, DUI is determined not via testing but by behavior; drivers who are intoxicated to the point of impairment and who cannot safely operate their vehicle may be arrested on suspicion of DUI.

What's the difference between DUI, DWI, and OVI?

The terms driving under the influence (DUI), driving while impaired (DWI), and operating a vehicle under the influence (OVI) are all legal phrases that refer to the crime of operating a vehicle while impaired by drugs (illegal or prescription), alcohol, or both. These terms are largely interchangeable though some states use only one acronym in their statutes for the sake of clarity. There are also other acronyms occasionally substituted for DUI, such as DWAI (driving while ability impaired), OWI (operating while intoxicated), OUI (operating under the influence), and DUII-CS (driving under the influence of intoxicants: controlled substances).

How long does a DUI stay on your record?

In addition to the more immediate penalties that come with a DUI conviction, this costly mistake can have other consequences. DUIs stay on your driving record for years with the exact length of time differing from state to state — the California Department of Motor Vehicles, for instance, tracks DUIs for 10 years and may use that information to determine things like license eligibility. In Alabama, DUIs stay on the record for five years while in Alaska they're permanent. In states that use point systems to track driving infractions, DUI points may stay on the record far longer than the DUI itself.

How much does a DUI lawyer cost?

The cost of a DUI lawyer depends largely on three things: geographic area, the lawyer's experience, and whether the case is settled quickly with a plea or ends up going to trial. Attorneys may charge a flat rate, more commonly used for simple cases that are likely to wrap up quickly, or they may charge by the hour, which can add up quickly if the case requires a lot of pretrial preparations and court time. Ultimately, a DUI lawyer could cost as little as $700 or bill in excess of $4,000.

How do I choose a DUI attorney?

Finding the right DUI lawyer is crucial, especially when it comes to preventing a suspended license and minimizing fees and other penalties. To choose the right one:

  • Look for attorneys experienced in DUI case law
  • Ask for referrals from family and friends
  • Check the internet for reviews, keeping in mind that no two DUI cases are exactly alike
  • Meet with prospective lawyers (many offer free consultations) to hear their perspective on the case and see whether their personality feels like a good fit
  • Ask whether the lawyer will be the primary representative or if the case could be passed to an associate and how many clients the lawyer/firm represents at one time
  • Discuss billing options — the difference between an hourly rate and flat fee can be considerable

What happens when you get a DUI?

Individuals detained on suspicion of a DUI are typically taken to jail, their vehicles impounded, and either held on bail or processed and released pending a court date. That initial court appearance is a chance to enter a plea; it's a good idea to retain legal representation prior to this hearing so they have an opportunity to argue for reduced charges or even dismissal.

Drunk driving charges are often enough to warrant a suspended license pending the outcome of the case. A DUI conviction could mean losing that license entirely as well as paying fines, court costs, and DMV fees and paying for treatment or other intervention programs as instructed by the court — perhaps even completing jail time. These penalties tend to be less severe for first-time offenders and increase significantly thereafter.

Can I contest a DUI without a lawyer?

While it's possible to contest a DUI without a lawyer present, case law is complex, and navigating those laws can be tricky. A DUI lawyer can't guarantee a positive outcome, but they are in a far better position to make crucial moves, such as challenging the legality of the original traffic stop, questioning the officer-led sobriety tests, and introducing evidence that could lead to an exoneration. In short, it's tempting to save money by going it alone, but the consequences could be costly. Before deciding against a lawyer, take advantage of a free consultation and weigh their recommendations. If budget is a factor, there are court-appointed public defenders who may take on the case.

How much does a DUI cost?

DUIs are expensive. In addition to attorney fees that often run the gamut from $700 to over $4,000, there may also be bail costs, court-ordered fines, alcohol education courses, traffic school, DMV fees, the cost of increased insurance rate, fees associated with recovering an impounded car, and the possibility of paying for a court-ordered ignition interlock device. All together, the average cost of a DUI sits at around $6,500 not counting peripheral expenses, such as alternate transportation while unable to drive and lost income due to court dates and incarceration.

When does a DUI become a felony?

Driving under the influence is classified as a misdemeanor unless the DUI meets certain state-specific criteria such as:

  • It's not the first offense. Anyone arrested for DUI who has been convicted of driving under the influence previously may be charged with a felony, depending on the length of time since the last conviction.
  • The offender was driving without a license. Getting a DUI with a license that has been suspended, revoked, or restricted is a felony in many states.
  • The DUI resulted in someone else's injury or death. Some states cite bodily harm as one of the reasons to change a DUI from a misdemeanor to a felony.

How much does car insurance go up after a DUI?

Since car insurance rates are based on driving history and projected risk, it stands to reason that a DUI conviction will result in higher insurance rates. How much those rates go up depends on the state. In Colorado, insurance rates jump around 18% following a DUI conviction while North Carolina sees a median rate increase of more than 300%. To put that in further perspective, consider New Jersey; the state's average insurance rate is $1,419, but the average rate with DUI increases 132% to $3,292.

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