A Los Angeles DUI Lawyer is incredibly important to your case. In fact, it is probably the single best thing you could do for yourself after you have been arrested and charged for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

The sooner you contact a legal professional after your Los Angeles DUI arrest, the better you will be. There are certain deadlines that need to be met right away. For example, a DMV hearing must be scheduled directly with the DMV within ten days of your arrest. This does not happen automatically. The DMV having concerns your driving privileges and is separate and independent of your criminal case. If you do not timely schedule a hearing, you will automatically lose your driving privileges without the opportunity to present your case. A Los Angeles DUI lawyer will be aware of these deadlines and will take swift action to ensure they are met and your rights are protected.

In addition, the attorneys like those at Hoffman & Associates have years of experience in the courts of Los Angeles. They know the Judges, the clerks, the prosecutors and the deputies. They are able to predict the offer that will be made based upon the Judge and the prosecutor handling the case. This is crucial information because it will allow the lawyer to make a good decision on your behalf as to what entering a plea will be in your best interest. Sometimes, entering a plea of guilty is beneficial if the facts of your case are no int your favor, and the attorney knows that a better offer might not be made. However, on the other hand, the attorney will also know that a plea of not guilty is the best strategy for your case so that you find yourself at trial, or at Pre Trial, where negotiations might be more fruitful. This is the type of strategy that comes with years of experience and personal and direct knowledge of the Courtroom and the players involved.

Many of our clients come to our office with multiple offenses arising out of one DUI incident. They mistakenly believe that because it arose out of one incident, then they cannot be charged with more than offense. This is not true. If there are multiple potential charges, then a person can be charged with more than one offense. It can happen often with a Los Angeles DUI.

Let’s consider an example. Dina is driving home from happy hour one day. She had a few drinks with her friends after work and was out later than she intended. In a rush to get home, she mistakenly hits a parked car on her street. She is visibly intoxicated as she get out of her car and inspects the damage to the parked car. Because she is late, and because it is a neighbor, Dina does not stop that night, but plans to speak to her neighbor the following day. The next day turns into a week, and before Dina knows it, she is contacted by officers for a potential Los Angeles Hit and Run. Dina is contacted due to the neighbor’s camera in the front of their home. It is clearly visible that Dina hits the parked car and leaves, and it is also visible that she is intoxicated. Dina is charged with a Hit and Run as well as a Los Angeles DUI.

Dina does the smart thing and hires a Los Angeles DUI attorney right away. In fact, she finds an attorney like those at Hoffman & Associates that are not only well versed in DUI Law, but Los Angeles Hit and Run law as well. This way, they understand that system and nuances of both charges. By taking proactive steps, and using their experience and the relationships they have built with the courthouses, prosecutors and authorities, Dina’s attorney will fight to dismiss or in the very least, reduce one of the charges.

There are a number of defenses available in a Los Angeles DUI case, one of them being that you were not driving. In order to be guilty of driving under the influence in Los Angeles, prosecutors have to prove two elements beyond a reasonable doubt; 1) that you were under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol and 2) that you were driving. Proving one or the other is not sufficient. You can be intoxicated and not driving, and you cannot be charged with a DUI. Likewise, you can be driving and not under the influence, and cannot be charged with a DUI. Both elements must be present, beyond a reasonable doubt.

Generally, it is easy to prove that you were driving. Most of the time someone is driving, and commits a traffic violation. That is the reason they are stopped. But officers observe you driving, and operating the vehicle, when they stop you, so that element is easily proven.

However, in some cases it is not that easy. Let’s consider an example. Danny has gone out to a friend’s birthday at a bar. He drives there and parks his car in the parking lot. The party goes on longer than expected and at the end of the night, Danny has had a drink more than he planned. He makes the decision that he is not able to drive home. He goes to his car and decides to sleep it off, crawling into the back seat with the keys in his pocket, he passes out. He wakes up to officers knocking on his car window. If Danny is arrested for a DUI, his Los Angeles DUI Lawyer will present a strong case that he was never driving. He will likely present a strong argument that Danny was asleep in the back seat, keys were in his pocket, the receipt to the bar was right where he was parked, not implying he drove anywhere. This will be a weak case for prosecutors, and they must fully prove the element of driving beyond a reasonable doubt. Otherwise, they cannot find Danny guilty.

When you have been arrested for a Los Angeles DUI, you have not yet been convicted. A charge only means that there is reasonable suspicion that you are guilty of what you are being accused of. However, until it is proven guilty in a court of law, or until you have entered a plea of guilty, you are not convicted. Once convicted you will be sentenced. Oftentimes, this sentence is negotiated before hand. If you are found guilty pursuant to a trial, the Judge will determine your sentence. The sentence is guided by the relevant statutes. The statutes outline a range of possible consequence, and using this as a guideline, the Judge will order a specific sentence. The factors the Judge will consider is the specific facts of your case, and your criminal history. Fortunately, there is room for negotiation and argument. This is where it is important to have your Los Angeles DUI Lawyer on your side. They can ensure you get the best possible sentence by arguing in your favor.

Let’s first look at the actual range of sentencing, and then consider an example to illustrate how it works. The relevant statutes for a Los Angeles DUI are California Vehicle Code §23152, and 23153.

When convicted of a DUI, you face up to six months in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, rehabilitation or education classes and probation. This is not including license suspension which is handled by the DMV.

A Los Angeles DUI carries with it a range of potential consequences. These consequences depend on various factors, such as the criminal background of the person being charges, and the specific facts of the offense. However, in certain situations, the consequences can be magnified when certain variables are present. Although many variables can increase the consequences, these are some of the most significant.

Refusal

A refusal to take a sobriety test at the station after a DUI arrest can lead to additional consequences to your DUI charge. When you have been arrested for a DUI charge, officers will ask if you are willing to take a sobriety test at the scene of the arrest. This request is optional. You are not required to comply. It gives officers a gauge of whether you are intoxicated or not. If they find that you are, they can arrest you and take you into the station. At the station you will be required to take an alcohol screening test. This test is not optional, however, officers cannot force you to take it. If you do not take it, and are found guilty of a Los Angeles DUI, it will be considered when sentencing you.

If you have been arrested and charged with driving under the influence in Los Angeles, you are likely stressed and confused as to what you should do. Many people mistakenly feel that they can handle a DUI case without the help of a Los Angeles DUI lawyer. While, you are able to represent yourself in criminal court for your criminal case, you will be advised that you have the right to an attorney. This means that you can retain a private attorney, or you can be given a public defender. The reason this right is so carefully addressed and supported, is because the criminal justice can be confusing , you may not understand how your case progresses and what rights you have at each stage, and you are giving up significant rights when you enter a plea.

While the option of a public defender is available to you, it is important to remember that public defenders have many cases each day in court, and they meet with you briefly before you appear before the Judge that day in court. While public defenders are knowledgeable attorneys, they do not have the time to address each specific aspect of your case. This is the benefit in hiring a private attorney.

When you hire a private attorney, you basically take the burden and stress off of your shoulders, and pass it onto the attorney. From the moment you retain a Los Angeles DUI Lawyer, like those at Hoffman & Associates, they take on all of the stress of your case, so that you can focus on the day to day aspects of your life that really matter.

In order for someone to be found guilty of a Los Angeles DUI, the prosecutors must prove two separate elements: 1) Driving and 2) while intoxicated. Both elements must be proven, if there is only one, the person cannot be charged with a DUI.

So, if you were not driving while you were intoxicated, you could not be charged for a DUI. However, driving is often a gray area and could prove to be difficult to prove..or disprove. This is why a Los Angeles DUI lawyer is so essential and beneficial to a DUI case. They know precisely what arguments to make and what evidence to present, to ensure that the gray area leans in the favor of their client. The best way to understand this idea is to illustrate an example from a case.

The client was intoxicated when she got a call from her boyfriend. Her boyfriend was also intoxicated at a local hotel and was arguing with hotel staff in the lobby. She was called to come and get him before he got arrested. She drove to the hotel to pick him. Once she got him and got into her vehicle, officers arrived at the scene. Officers were presumably called by hotel staff regarding her boyfriend and his behavior in the lobby. Before she could drive off in her vehicle, she was asked to step out of the vehicle and submit to an alcohol screening test. She was then arrested for a DUI. The client’s position is that she was not driving, and if she was not driving she could not be arrested and charged with driving under the influence.

When you have been arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence in Los Angeles, two cases will simultaneously be initiated. One will be in the criminal courts, and the other will be with the DMV. They are two separate cases, with two separate outcomes, and are concerned with two separate issues. The criminal courts are concerned with DUI charges, and whether you are guilty of driving while intoxicated or not. The Los Angeles DMV hearing is only concerned with whether your driving privileges should be suspended.

You have the right to an attorney to represent you at both appearances. The outcome of one will not affect the other. This may be a good or bad thing depending on the facts of your case. However, having a Los Angeles DUI attorney on your team ensures that you give yourself the best possible chance at both appearances.

Let’s consider an example to better understand how the two hearings work. Donny is driving home from a birthday party where he has had two beers. Donny is about 6’2” and weighs about 190 pounds. He is a bigger guy and two beers generally have no effect on him. However, on that particular day he has not had the chance to eat. Regardless, he does not fully stop at a stop sign, and is stopped by officers. Officers smell the beer on his breath and ask him to submit to a sobriety test, which he does. Donny blows a .09% blood alcohol level. This is right above the legal level of .08%. Donny is arrested and given a court date. Per the citation, Donny immediately calls the DMV and schedules a hearing. He then retains the knowledgeable legal professionals at Hoffman and Associates.

If you have been stopped for a Los Angeles DUI, you should know that there are several different legal obstacles officers must cross before they are able to question you regarding intoxication. What do I mean by that? Let’s take it step by step so that you can better understand your rights.

Before an officer can ever ask you to pull over, they must have a valid reason for doing so. This reason is generally a lawful traffic stop. This can be running a red light, speeding, weaving, illegal U-turn, etc. But the bottom line is that an officer cannot ask you to pull over based on whim or their instinct alone. You must have violated traffic law to be stopped in the first place.

There are two exceptions to this; a welfare check, and a DUI checkpoint. A valid reason is not required when you are pulled over at the side of the road. Officers are required to stop and see if you are ok, and if you need help. This is called a welfare check. Officers also do not need a reason to stop at a DUI checkpoint. You are required to stop. However, if you do not want to drive through the checkpoint, you are allowed to turn around the other way. This cannot be held against you.

California Vehicle Code §23152 and §23153 make it unlawful for a person to be operating a vehicle if they are under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both. With recent changes in recreational marijuana many of our clients receive DUI charges for driving under the influence of marijuana. Because it is a newly passed law, and the legislature still has to work through the different issues, there is a sense of confusion as to what is legal and illegal.

It may be legal to participate in medicinal or recreational marijuana, just like it is legal to consume alcohol if you are of appropriate age. However, it is illegal to operate any type of vehicle, while under the influence of either alcohol, or marijuana.

The law is clear. If you are intoxicated, and are operating a vehicle, you can be charged with a DUI in Los Angeles. What is unclear, however, is how officers can prove that you are under the influence of marijuana alone. This is why an experienced and knowledgeable Los Angeles DUI lawyer is a significant asset in your case.