Were you arrested for driving under the influence? Are you dreading extensive years of imprisonment or even paying thousands for penalty fines? This is a shared fear among DUI defendants. If you find yourself in this sticky situation, we can help! Schedule a consultation with our Los Angeles DUI lawyer today to find out how we can help you.
Drunk driving cases are nothing new in Los Angeles, CA. In fact, over 123,000 DUI cases were documented in 2017, of which 4,944 are felony DUI cases. This growing concern over drunk driving raises the question of roadside safety for most locals.
California state law places stringent regulations to mitigate the cases of drunk or drugged driving. If you're arrested for a DUI offense, you could face years of imprisonment or even pay hefty penalty fines. In these cases, it pays to have experienced legal representation.
Luckily for you, our experienced Los Angeles DUI lawyer has over a decade of expertise in this field of criminal defense law. Our DUI defense attorney has successfully represented countless clients in court and helped them minimize or avoid charges, and that could be you too!
Schedule your consultation with our legal team today to find out how we can help you win your case.
When you're facing criminal charges for DUI, it's crucial to know what to expect from the legal process and the criminal justice system. This way, you can prepare yourself emotionally and mentally for the road ahead.
To help you better prepare for this legal challenge, we outline some sections below to discuss the different types of DUI charges, the criminal process, what will happen to your license, your defense options, and how a criminal defense attorney helps with your situation.
DUI charges are classified into three tiers depending on the instances of DUI you committed for the past ten years.
In most cases, the first DUI offense in California is classified as a misdemeanor. Some of the most common DUI penalties imposed on a first-offense DUI are a $1,000 fine, a maximum of six months of jail time in Los Angeles county jail, and the mandatory installation of IID or an ignition interlock device for six to twelve months.
Several aggravating factors, such as a DUI with a minor in the vehicle or a DUI that resulted in an accident, can result in more severe penalties or escalate the case to a felony.
Felonies are much more serious and can result in longer prison sentences, higher fines, and the permanent loss of your driver's license.
A second-offense DUI is also classified as a misdemeanor in Los Angeles, but the penalties are more severe than a first-offense DUI. The maximum jail time you can serve is one year, and the fine ranges from $390 to $1,000. You may also be required to install an ignition interlock device on your car for one to three years.
Similar to a first DUI offense, second DUIs also have aggravating factors, such as having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.015% or higher, refusing a blood or breath test, underage driving, or driving at an extreme speed.
The third occurrence of a DUI case in California still counts as a misdemeanor. A third misdemeanor DUI offense happened when you committed three counts of DUI charges within ten years of your first one.
A third DUI offense entails over five years of informal probation, a minimum of 120 days in county jail time, more than $3,000 penalty fines, two years of IID restriction, and three years of driver's license revocation.
A Felony DUI provides the harshest penalties of all DUI charges. You could receive a felony DUI when you injured someone while driving under the influence or you committed four instances of DUI from your first one.
Additionally, killing someone while drunk driving is automatically a felony offense with the possibility of acquiring additional charges for vehicular manslaughter.
The penalties for felony DUI charges include three years of state imprisonment, up to $5,000 in penalty fines, a Habitual Traffic Offender status lasting for three years, over five years of driver's license suspension, and two years of IID restriction.
Now that you know the different types of DUI cases in Los Angeles, it's time to understand how the criminal process works.
Similar to most criminal defense cases, a DUI case is initiated by an arrest. There are many reasons why arresting officers suspect you are driving under the influence, and one of the most common tell-tale signs they observe is the swerving of the car.
Before the arrest, the officer must conduct several field sobriety tests with you, such as the horizontal gaze nystagmus, walk-and-turn test, and one-leg stand test. They will also use a breathalyzer on you to detect the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in your body.
If everything checks out, they can arrest you on the spot for violating Vehicle Code 23152(a).
After your arrest, the police officer will take you to a clinic, hospital, or the police office to accurately determine your blood alcohol level. If they find that your BAC reaches 0.08% or higher, you'll receive additional charges for Vehicle Code 23152(b).
After the verification, the police officer may release you if you post bail or sign a formal document that you promise to attend your court hearing. Once released, you must immediately find a knowledgeable DUI defense attorney to represent your case.
When choosing an attorney to represent your case, you have several options, but it's essential to consider experience, resources, and success rates. The best DUI attorneys in Los Angeles should have proven years of experience dealing with DUI cases and have an impressive track record.
The DMV Hearing is also essential to your DUI case. It's a separate process from the criminal court, but the decisions made in this hearing will significantly affect your future.
You can request a DMV hearing within ten days after getting arrested for driving under the influence. If you don't schedule a hearing, your driver's license will automatically get suspended 30 days after your arrest.
At the DMV hearing, the officer who arrested you will have to prove probable cause for your arrest. The burden of proof in this hearing is much lower than in a criminal court case.
The hearing officer will rescind your driver's license suspension if they fail to provide sufficient evidence. However, if they succeed in delivering enough evidence, your driver's license will get suspended, but you can still apply for a restricted license.
Arraignment is also another crucial stage in the DUI process. During this hearing, the court will formally charge you with a DUI offense, and you'll have to enter a plea.
You can enter three types of pleas, namely: guilty, not guilty, and no-contest. If you plead guilty, it means you're admitting that you committed the crime, and the judge will immediately sentence you. If you plead not guilty, you deny the charges, and the judge will set a date for the trial. A no-contest plea is somewhere between where you're not admitting or denying the accusations, but the court can still sentence you.
After the arraignment comes the pre-trial and the final trial; during the pre-trial, both the prosecution and the defense will share the evidence they have. This is also the time when both sides will negotiate a plea bargain.
If you and the prosecutor can't agree on a plea bargain, your case will go to trial, and a jury will decide your guilt or innocence.
Both sides will present their evidence and witness testimonies during the final trial. After hearing both sides, the jury will deliberate and decide if you're guilty or not guilty of the charges.
Most defendants fear that they will lose their driver's license after a DUI arrest. The DMV may sometimes order the DMV to suspend your license, but you can still apply for a restricted license.
A restricted license allows you to drive to and from work, school, and other essential places. The court will only grant you a limited license if they believe that suspending your license would be a hurdle to your daily life.
Success in a DUI case is variable and could mean several different things. In general, a successful outcome is one where the defendant's life returns to normal as much as possible.
The best-case scenario will be if the charges get dropped entirely. However, this doesn't always happen. The second-best option would be to negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor. This way, you can avoid a trial and get a more lenient sentence.
To set a manageable expectation for your DUI case, here are some examples of a successful outcome:
DUI legal penalties are some of the harshest compared to other criminal offenses. The potential penalties will significantly affect your life, which is why it's essential to have a competent lawyer by your side.
Some of the legal penalties you might face could include the following:
A skilled DUI attorney will work hard to minimize the legal penalties you might face. For example, if you're a first-time offender with no priors, your attorney could help you get a sentence that includes probation and community service instead of jail time.
Dropping the pending DUI conviction is probably the best-case scenario for defendants. A DUI conviction will stay on your criminal record forever, limiting future opportunities.
It would be best if you had a competent lawyer to help you get the charges dropped or dismissed. Your lawyer could be the difference between a DUI conviction and a clean criminal record.
It's essential to have a lawyer who knows how to navigate the legal system and has a solid reputation in dealing with such cases.
As established, an experienced DUI defense lawyer is the key to a successful outcome in your DUI case. A good lawyer will work tirelessly to protect your rights, whether it's by negotiating a plea bargain or getting the charges dropped entirely.
But, before all that, your lawyer will set the right legal battleground for you so you have the best chance of success. Here are some ways your lawyer will help you:
It's a no-brainer that an in-depth case investigation is key to a successful DUI defense case. The more information your lawyer has, the better they can defend you in court.
Your attorney will investigate every aspect of your case to find evidence that could help your defense. They will also look for any legal loopholes in the prosecution's case against you.
For example, if the arresting officer didn't adhere to proper protocol during your arrest, it could be enough to get the charges against you dropped.
The fact is, the prosecution's case is only as strong as the evidence they have against you. So, if your lawyer can find evidence that works in your favor, it could be the game-changer in your DUI case. Your attorney will know what kind of evidence to look for and how to get it.
For example, if there's video footage of your unlawful arrest, your lawyer will work to obtain it from the police department. This video footage could be the key to your defense, especially if it shows that the arresting officer didn't follow proper protocol.
The secret to winning different cases is developing a solid legal strategy. Your legal strategy serves as your game plan in court, and it's a comprehensive guide that will help you achieve the best possible outcome in your case.
An excellent legal strategy is based on a thorough investigation of the facts of your case and the applicable laws. With this information, your lawyer will develop a sound strategy that will work to your advantage.
How your lawyer presents your case in court will significantly impact the outcome. This is why it's crucial to have an experienced lawyer who knows how to navigate the court system.
Your lawyer will know what to say and do in court to help you achieve the best possible outcome. It's also vital that you hire a lawyer who can help you prepare to face the jury's trial. It's no secret that the jury's verdict will be based on how well you present your case in court.
When it comes to DUI cases, it's essential to have a competent lawyer by your side. A good lawyer will work diligently to protect your rights and ensure to deliver of the best possible outcome in your DUI case.
The legal strategies you can employ in your case vary greatly and depend on your DUI case's nature. Some defense strategies may work well for your situation, while others may not be as effective.
It's important to remember that each DUI case is unique, so the legal strategy that worked for your friend's case may not work for yours. This is why it's crucial to have an experienced lawyer by your side who knows how to develop a solid legal strategy based on the facts of your case.
In the following section, we'll look at some of the most typically utilized legal strategies in DUI cases.
One of the first things many lawyers look at is whether the arresting officer followed protocol during the arrest. If there are any discrepancies or inconsistencies, it could be enough to get the charges against you dropped.
For example, if the arresting officer didn't read you your Miranda rights, it could be considered a violation of your rights. This is just one example of how an experienced lawyer can find discrepancies in your case and use them to your advantage.
The rising blood alcohol concentration is a phenomenon in which the alcohol concentration in your blood increases after the police stop you.
This is because the human body continues to absorb alcohol even after you've stopped drinking. So, if you blew a 0.08 on the breathalyzer but your blood alcohol concentration was below 0.08 while driving, you could use this defense strategy.
An experienced lawyer will know how to use the rising blood alcohol concentration as a defense strategy to turn the situation in your favor.
As mentioned earlier, the evidence used against you in court will play a significant role in the jury's verdict. This is why it's crucial to have an experienced lawyer who knows how to poke holes in the prosecution's case.
Any inconsistencies with the evidence presented and claims made by the prosecution can significantly affect your legal standing. An experienced lawyer will know how to find these inconsistencies and use them to your benefit.
For example, suppose the arresting officer claims you were slurring your speech, but there's no video footage to back up this claim. In that case, your lawyer could use this inconsistent claims to overturn the trajectory of your case.
Another route your lawyer could take would be to question the validity and accuracy of the test result. The outcome of a blood or breath test could be affected by different variables, such as the type of machine used, the person conducting the test, and even your natural body chemistry.
There were also some known instances when the machine used to determine the blood alcohol concentration readings were faulty or uncalibrated. If your lawyer can prove that the device wasn't working correctly, it could help to get your charges dropped.
Some existing medical conditions affect the results of a blood alcohol or breath test. For example, GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) can cause someone to have a falsely high BAC reading.
There are other existing clinical conditions that can also lead to inaccurate blood alcohol test results, like diabetes or low blood sugar. Additionally, mouthwash use is also known to throw off breathalyzer readings.
If you have any clinical conditions that could have affected the outcome of your blood alcohol test, your lawyer could use this as a defense strategy.
DUI cases are not easy to win, but with the help of an experienced lawyer, you stand a much better chance.
Our team of DUI lawyers has successfully represented clients in court and helped them get their charges reduced or even dismissed. If you've been charged with DUI, don't hesitate to schedule a consultation with our team. We'll review your case diligently and develop a compelling legal strategy on your behalf.
The Olen Firm Criminal Defense Lawyers is a long-standing criminal defense firm with an impeccable reputation and unparalleled dedication to service. We have a team of experienced DUI lawyers who are ready to fight for you.
Call us today at (213) 999-8380 to schedule a consultation, or fill out our online form to get started.
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