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If you have been arrested for a Los Angeles DUI, remember that you have not yet been convicted.  An arrest simply means that there is a reasonable suspicion that you have committed a criminal offense, it does not mean you are guilty. You can only be convicted one of two ways, by pleading guilty, or by being found guilty in a court of law by a jury. However, even with an arrest, there are several very important steps you have to take immediately to ensure that you have the best possible results.

  1. Check your Citation

When you are arrested you will be given a citation. This citation will state the charge against you, and the time and date upon which your Arraignment will be. This court appearance is not optional, it is absolutely mandatory. Failure to appear at this court date can result in a bench warrant out for your arrest, and/or an additional charge to the charge you are appearing for in the first place. Make sure you calendar this appearance date, it is important and make a note of the Court in which you will be required to appear. Also check the penal code or vehicle code section under which you are being charged. This will define whether it is a misdemeanor or felony, and what you are being charged with.

If you have been stopped for suspicion of driving while intoxicated, it is important to remember that you have not yet been convicted. In order to be convicted a plea or a finding of guilty needs to be entered. If you have not had a trial, or have entered a plea of not guilty or no contest, then you cannot be convicted.

Being arrested is a nerve wrecking experience. You do not know what is going on, nor do you know what steps to take next. In addition, you probably do not fully understand the legal ramifications of your arrest, and the reasons you were arrested.

If officers find that you are intoxicated, they will take you into custody. There are several reasons officers may determine that you are intoxicated. One is if you submit to a breathalyzer test and your blood alcohol level indicates intoxication. Another is if officers observe signs of intoxication. These include watery eyes, slurring, smell of strong alcohol and disorientation. You may also make some statements that may indicate you are intoxicated or be construed as confessions of intoxication.

If you are on probation and have been arrested for a second criminal offense, the consequences can be very serious. You would not only be charged, if prosecutors decide to press charges, with a criminal offense for which you have been arrested, you will also be charged for a Probation Violation. Both charges are separate cases, and separate charges. Accordingly, they will both have separate consequences.

Let’s consider an example so that we can better walk through the concept.

About two years ago, David was arrested and convicted of a DUI. He entered a plea of guilty, served no jail time and was put on informal probation for three years. When David entered a plea of guilty, the Judge read him his rights and went over the terms of his sentencing, and asked David if he understood what he was pleading to. David stated on the record that he did understand and wanted to plea guilty.

A person may be charged for a DUI under two different code sections: California Vehicle Code §23152, and California Vehicle Code §23153.

If a person is charged under California Vehicle Code §23152, it is likely a misdemeanor. If a person has been charged under California Vehicle Code §23153, it is likely a felony. Each code sections gives its own range of possible consequences. The final sentence a person may face will depend on the code section under which they have been charged, their criminal history and the facts of the case.

If a person has been charged under California Vehicle Code §23152, the person may face the following:

We have all seen Miranda rights read to a suspect on television, and most of us could probably recite them verbatim. However, Miranda rights are much more complicated than they appear to be on television.

When a person has been taken into custody and is being interrogated, authorities must read the person their Miranda rights, or anything that is said by the person being interrogated may be inadmissible in Court.

A person’s Fifth Amendment right protects them from self-incrimination. This means that they are not required to make any statements or admissions that may be used against them in court. For example, in a Los Angeles DUI, if an officer asks you if you were drinking and driving, and you respond “yes”, this could be used in court as evidence against you.

If you have been arrested and charged with driving under the influence in Los Angeles, you have not yet been convicted. The court must find you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of two elements: 1) driving AND 2) intoxicated.  The potential sentence as it is outlined under statutory authority is in a range. This is because the specific sentence for each individual will depend on a myriad of factors, including the specific facts of their case and their criminal background.

If you are facing a conviction ,or have been convicted and are facing sentencing, it is crucial that you consult with a Los Angeles DUI lawyer as soon as possible. The knowledge and experience of a trained professional can provide you with the guidance you need for a thorough analysis of your case and an effective argument for the least possible sentence.

In addition to the general range of sentencing outlined in the California Vehicle Code §23152 and 23153, there are additional factors that could result in an additional sentence. These arise out of the facts of your arrest.

When you have been arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol under California Vehicle Code §23152, you will be asked to submit to a Preliminary Alcohol Screening Test.

The Preliminary Alcohol Screening Test, or the PAS Test, is a breath test that is given at the scene of the potential arrest. What many people do not know is that this test is voluntary. You are not required to take it. Many times people are not informed that it is voluntary, or in an effort to cooperate and wanting to please officers, people will submit to it.

There are some pros and cons to taking this test. It is not always recommended that you refuse to take it or that you take it.

When you are facing criminal charges it is highly recommended that you speak to a Los Angeles lawyer who specializes in DUIs. An experienced and knowledgeable attorney will be well versed in available defenses, in arguments to be made, and what the most effective strategy would be.

Without an attorney, you would not know if you had a defense available. If there is a strong defense that will work in your favor, that could mean your entire case could be dismissed or in the very least dismissed.

At your first court appearance, the arraignment, the prosecutor will offer a plea bargain. A plea bargain is generally offers a complete sentence in exchange for your guilty plea without going to trial. Most laypersons are not going to know what is a good offer, and what offer is not beneficial to them given the facts of their case. An attorney who has had experience will know when to accept and offer and when to say no, and proceed to trial. You need someone that has that expertise to provide you with guidance.

If you have been arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, you have not yet been found guilty by the Court of law. This means that it has not yet gone on your record, and it will not unless Prosecutors can show that all of the elements of a DUI have been met beyond a reasonable doubt. There are two elements in a DUI; 1) the driver must be intoxicated and 2) the driver must be operating a vehicle. If both elements are not met, beyond a reasonable doubt, then the person cannot be found guilty.

There are a few ways a DUI case can play out. You can either enter a plea or be found either guilty or not guilty through trial. Lets consider the following factual hypothetical background, and then discuss the two different options a case can have.

Dina is driving home from a friend’s birthday party. She has had two beers and has smoked marijuana with her friends. On her way home, she runs a red light and is immediately stopped by officers. Officers ask if she has been drinking, to which Dina replies that she has, but has only had two beers. She also submits to a breathalyzer test, and blows a .10 BAC. She is arrested, and taken into custody.

Under California Vehicle Code §23152, it is unlawful to be operating vehicle while under the influence of drugs, alcohol or both. In order for a person to be charged, prosecutors simply have to have reason to believe that a person is guilty of driving under the influence. However, for a person to be convicted of a DUI, prosecutors must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the person being charged was not only driving, but was also intoxicated at the time he or she was driving. Both elements must be present, if there is only one, then the person cannot be found guilty of a DUI.

It is easier to demonstrate in a court of law that a person is under the influence of alcohol while operating a vehicle, than it is to prove the influence of other drugs. Alcohol can easily be tested for, and detected in a bloodstream. This is why when officers believe a driver is under the influence of alcohol, they will administer a breathalyzer test, or a blood test. The test will often provide accurate results as to the amount of alcohol in a person’s blood stream. Based on date, the legislature has even been able to quantify the amount that would qualify as intoxicated.

The use of drugs, specifically marijuana, is a lot harder to demonstrate as a blood test or breathalyzer will not provide an accurate calculation of intoxication. Even if there is marijuana present in a person’s system, it could have been from a day before, and the person may not be under the influence.