The experienced Los Angeles DUI attorney of Power Trial Lawyers has extensive experience defending those who’ve been arrested and charged with driving under the influence. We know the impact these charges can have on your life, and we’ll do everything in our power to get them reduced or dropped. A conviction could impact your family, your career (including loss of professional licenses and other consequences), and your social life. However, with a skilled DUI attorney on your side, you could avoid the most severe consequences and put this ordeal behind you sooner rather than later.
If you are facing DUI charges in the greater Los Angeles area, make sure that your first call is to Power Trial Lawyers for help. Our knowledgeable Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys are ready to help you understand all of your legal options and will put our skills and experience to work for you.What You Should Expect After a DUI Arrest in L.A.
The state of California considers DUI a misdemeanor; however, it comes with some serious consequences. If it’s your first arrest for DUI, you might be able to get off with minimal penalties. On the other hand, if you faced DUI convictions multiple times, you could end up in prison.
When you get arrested for DUI, you can expect the following to happen:
- License suspension thirty days after your arrest, unless you request a DMV hearing to try to stop that from occurring.
- There will be a criminal proceeding, starting with an arraignment, where you’ll enter a plea and might have to go to trial. If your Los Angeles DUI attorney can negotiate with opposing counsel, you might be able to avoid trial altogether.
- There are various strategies to win your case, such as showing the arresting officer violated your rights, finding holes in the evidence submitted by the prosecutor, and proving false testimony.
- If you are convicted, you could face jail time, fines, court and legal fees, treatment programs, and a suspended license. The penalties are dependent on whether or not you have previous DUI charges.
The penalties below are for first, second, and third time offenders who did not hurt or kill anyone while driving under the influence.First Offense
- $1,800 in fines and government fees
- License suspension for a minimum of four months
- 48 hours behind bars
- Three-month alcohol treatment program
If you get the maximum penalties, you could face six months in jail, around $3,600 in fines and fees, and significant increases in your license suspension and time in an alcohol treatment program. It’s also possible that they impound your car for thirty days, and you have to install an interlock device when you get it back.Second Offense
- $1,800 in fines and government fees
- Suspended license for one year with an additional two years of restricted driving
- 96 hours of jail time
- 18 or 30-month alcohol treatment program
- Interlock device installation on all vehicles you drive
The maximum penalties for a second offense DUI is a year behind bars, up to $4,000 in fines and fees, and two years of license suspension plus another two years of restricted driving. Like the first offense, your car could also get impounded.Third+ Offense
- Around $1,800 in fines and fees to the government
- License revocation for at least three years and no restricted driving privileges permitted
- A minimum of 120 days in jail
- Alcohol treatment program for 30 months
Maximum penalties include a year in jail if it’s your third offense or 16 months in state prison for a fourth offense, $18,000 in fines and fees, and a license suspension up to two years.Probation
You could get probation after any of the offenses above. First-time offenders face a minimum of three years of probation. If you violate any laws, such as drinking and driving, you could face additional penalties without the chance of going to trial first.Factors Affecting DUI Penalties
Some factors that could impact the penalties you might face for DUI include:
- You could face harsher penalties than those listed above if your BAC is particularly high (Some rules say above 0.20% and others say at least 0.15%).
- If someone was hurt or killed because you were driving drunk, you could face felony charges and one to five years in state prison.
- If you’re facing your fourth DUI offense, you could face a felony charge, even if there were no injuries.
- It’s a crime in California to refuse to submit to a blood or breath test, resulting in penalties.
The legal process begins immediately after a DUI arrest. It can be overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time going through it. There are six steps you should be aware of so you know what to expect.
- You usually get pulled over for suspicion of DUI or because of a traffic infraction that leads to an arrest for DUI. You probably got taken to a police station, processed, and booked to stay in jail overnight. During the arrest stage, you likely underwent a blood or breath test, and your license was taken away from you and replaced with a temporary license that expires in 30 days unless you can convince the DMV to let you keep it.
- You don’t have to hire a Los Angeles DUI attorney, but it could help your case. If you can’t afford an attorney and get assigned a public defender, they will likely suggest you accept the first offer the prosecutor provides. An experienced and dedicated attorney from Power Trial Lawyers will help you from day one to try to get your charges reduced or dropped.
- State law requires that the DMV automatically suspend the license of anyone who gets arrested for DUI. However, you can try to fight it by filing a request for a hearing with the DMV within ten days of your arrest.
- The arraignment is the first hearing you will have to go to where your attorney and the prosecutor will stand in front of a judge to present their cases. You’ll enter a plea of guilty or not guilty, and most attorneys will tell you to plead not guilty.
- During the pre-trial stage, the prosecution will share the evidence they have with your Los Angeles DUI attorney. Your attorney will then review everything and find a way to prove you didn’t receive fair treatment, the evidence was collected illegally, or another reason why the charges against you aren’t valid. Your attorney will also try to negotiate a deal to get your charges dropped or reduce it to something that isn’t a DUI.
- If your attorney recommends you go to trial, it might be because it was not possible to strike a fair deal with the prosecutor, or they believe that the evidence stacks strongly in your favor. Remember, to secure a conviction, the burden of proof lies with the prosecution to prove “beyond a shadow of a doubt” that you were guilty, which can be challenging.
When it comes to DUI cases, there are five main types of evidence that are usually introduced in court. You must understand what the prosecution will use and how your Los Angeles DUI attorney will defend you. The evidence isn’t always reliable and is something you can easily argue against.
- Driving pattern. Unless you were in an accident, the officer probably pulled you over because they noticed you driving strangely. You were either weaving in and out of traffic, drifting onto the shoulder, or lane splitting.
- Behavior. Once the officer pulls you over, they have the training to look for specific behavior that indicates intoxication. Obvious signs include the smell of alcohol and bloodshot eyes.
- Field sobriety test. You might have to perform a field sobriety test so the officer can determine if you’re acting drunk. There are a variety of tests that officers use during a field sobriety test.
- Your statements. When a police officer pulls you over for suspicion of DUI, they will likely ask if you’ve been drinking or how many drinks you’ve had. If you choose to answer, you can incriminate yourself. They’ll end up using your own words against you later when it comes time for trial.
- Blood, breath, and urine tests. Everyone knows about these kinds of tests, but they’re not always accurate and reliable. Unfortunately, you’re not allowed to refuse any of these tests, and a cop could use the result of a breath test to decide whether or not to arrest you.
At Power Trial Lawyers, our Los Angeles DUI attorneys know how to argue against all of the above evidence. For example, driving patterns and behavior aren’t always proof of someone driving drunk. A motorist may swerve from texting while driving or weave in and out of traffic because they’re in a hurry to get somewhere.
Officers have to be subjective when issuing a field sobriety test. Unfortunately, some officers use bias against the driver before giving the test. They might have already decided the driver is guilty. To dispute the arresting officer, we will look for audio evidence, video evidence, or witness testimony that shows discrepancies.What Should I Do Next?
If you were arrested for DUI in L.A., you should contact Power Trial Lawyers and speak with one of our skilled DUI defense attorneys. We will meet you for a confidential consultation to discuss the charges against you and let you know if we can prepare a solid defense.
Whether this is your first, second, or third offense, you can depend on us to fight hard for you. We know you want your charges to get dropped, and that’s exactly what we’re going to try to accomplish. Call us at (213) 800-7664 today to schedule your free consultation.