If you have been arrested under suspicion of driving under the influence, you have not yet been convicted. An arrest simply means that officers believe there is a reasonable doubt that you were driving under the influence. In order to be convicted, prosecutors have to then prove in Court, that you were 1) driving and 2) intoxicated beyond a reasonable doubt. Both of these elements need to be proven, not just one or the other. Both elements include a level of subjectivity. This gray area allows Los Angeles DUI Lawyers, such as our firm, to cast doubt on the prosecutor’s case, and leads to cases being dismissed or charges being reduced.

Let’s take a look at the element of driving in detail.

For you to be convicted of you a Los Angeles DUI, you must be driving at the time you were intoxicated. If you were not driving, then you cannot be convicted of a DUI. Oftentimes, driving is the easier element of the two to prove, as a person is driving and is pulled over by officers. However, in many cases, it is not so cut and dry. Let’s consider some examples.

One of the biggest concerns our clients have with their Los Angeles DUI Case, is whether they will have to serve a jail sentence. The answer will depend on several different factors and the argument presented by your Los Angeles DUI Attorney.

Two of the biggest factors the court will consider is the facts of your specific case, and any offenses you may have been convicted of in the past. The best way to understand these is through some examples.

Facts of the case:

One of the most important variables in a Los Angeles DUI case is that of the evidence that can be presented against you. When your case goes to Court, you will present your case, and the prosecutors will present theirs. Each side of the case will hinge upon evidence and the more stronger the evidence, the stronger your case will be.

One of the biggest pieces of evidence is that of the officer’s report. Often called discovery, the officer’ report outlines a crucial part of your case, the arrest. When you are pulled over, there are several procedures and laws officers have to follow. If they do not follow these procedures, the case could get dismissed, so officers must watch their conduct, and properly write it down in their report. The report will then be scrutinized and analyzed by the Los Angeles DUI Lawyer you retain to represent you.

For example, an officer must have reasonable cause to stop you in the first place. If they do not have reasonable cause, it is not a valid stop. There are several ways officers can meet this procedural requirement. One way is if you violate a traffic law. This could be speeding, running a red light, failing to stop at a stop sign, or even not having your headlights on at night. Another way is if you are pulled over at the side of the road with car trouble or perhaps after an accident. This is called a welfare check. Officers have the right to stop and check to see if you are alright and if you need any help.

Many times, people do not see what benefit a Los Angeles DUI Lawyer can provide when you have been arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence. People in this situation often take their time deciding if they want legal representation, and shopping around for an attorney that offers them the best price. Keep in mind that valuable experience and knowledge is not something that can be bargained for. There are many benefits to having an attorney as soon as you have been arrested that will prove to be beneficial to your case as it progresses.

The first benefit is your DMV Hearing. The DMV hearing is a completely separate hearing from your criminal court case. It is handled solely by the DMV and falls under the DMV’s laws and regulations. It needs to be scheduled within ten days of your arrest, if it is not scheduled, you lose your right to have a hearing in regards to your driver’s license. Often you need to determine which DMV, call and schedule a hearing, and make sure you have done it in a timely manner. Having a Los Angeles DUI attorney right off the bat, will assure that this deadline is not missed, the right DMV has been scheduled, and that you will have legal representation at this hearing.

Another benefit to having an attorney representing you is in regards to the process with which discovery is obtained. Discovery is any type of evidence that was gathered by officers during the arrest and information the prosecutors have used to file charges against you. This includes surveillance video or audio and a police report. Generally, these may be obtained at your first court appearance. But when you have an attorney, the attorney is able to contact the prosecutor’s office prior to any court hearing and obtain the discovery right away. This allows the attorney plenty of time to review the evidence, contact any witnesses, or speak to anyone they need to about potential holes in the prosecutor’s case. With that added time, the attorney can walk into the first appearance fully prepared and keep the case moving forward quickly, rather than have to continue the hearing.

On January 1, 2018, recreational marijuana becomes legal. That means that you do not need a prescription to purchase it, nor will it be against the law. However, that does not mean that there are no restrictions on it’s use. Marijuana will be restricted just like any other similar substance, such as cigarettes and alcohol.

One such restriction is use while driving. Like alcohol, you cannot be under the influence of marijuana while operating a vehicle. California Vehicle Codes §20002 and 20003 make it unlawful to operate a vehicle while driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Marijuana, whether legal or not, falls under this category.

However, unlike alcohol, the influence of marijuana is more difficult to provide when stopped for suspicion of driving under the influence. In cases where there is suspicion of alcohol intoxication, an office may request that a driver submit to a blood alcohol test. The alcohol test may be taken through blood, breath or urine and gives an immediate measurement of the amount of alcohol that is in your blood stream at that moment in time. Alcohol will only remain in your blood stream for a minimal amount of time.

Holiday weekends can be fun, as family and friends get together and celebrate over food and drink. However, it is also a peak time for arrests due to driving under the influence. If you are going to be out and about celebrating with friends and family, be sure to plan ahead and have a designated driver. If you have been arrested for driving under the influence, it is important to understand that you have not yet been convicted. An arrest just implies that an officer has reason to suspect that you may be driving under the influence. You cannot be convicted unless you plead guilty to the charges, or if a jury finds you guilty of the charges.

A Los Angeles DUI conviction can result in several consequences. The best way to avoid any consequences is to speak to a Los Angeles DUI Attorney early on and as soon as possible. Certain consequences can be mitigated before a formal case is even filed. This can also help reduce other consequences. Waiting until the last minute may hurt your chances, but having an attorney in your corner can be the best decision you can make.

A DUI specialist has over 30 plus years of experience. We know the court system inside and out, we are familiar with the Judges, the clerks and the officers. This helps make negotiations and discussions efficient, and tailored to each individual Judge. Especially when it comes to lessening the following consequences:

When you have been arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence, it is important to understand that you have not yet been found guilty. You cannot be found guilty unless you enter a plea of guilty, or a jury finds you guilty. In order for a jury to find you guilty, they must find that you committee the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. In order to do this, they must demonstrate that you are guilty of two elements:

  1. You were operating a vehicle; AND
  2. You were under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

California Vehicle Code §23152 makes it unlawful to operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both. In general, a person is said to be impaired if their blood alcohol level is a .08 or over. The blood alcohol level is measured through the use of blood alcohol tests, which were taken through the use of a breathalyzer, blood tests or urine test. The blood alcohol level of .08 is just a standard, and will vary under different circumstances.

The statute states under (a) and (b) that a person may not drive under the influence of alcohol with a blood alcohol level over .08. But under other sections of the statute, the person need only be higher than a .04 blood alcohol level to be found too impaired to operate a vehicle. These statutes apply when the driver is operating an Uber, or a taxi, (Section (e)) as well as commercial vehicles (Section (d)).

Section (f) makes it unlawful to operate a vehicle while under the influence of drugs and Section (g) makes it unlawful for a person to operate a vehicle under the influence of both alcohol and drugs. Drugs are harder to assess at an arrest or traffic stop than the use of alcohol alone.

If you have been arrested for a Los Angeles DUI, the best thing you could do for yourself is to retain a Los Angeles DUI attorney as soon as possible. An experienced attorney will look for the factual and evidentiary weaknesses in your case so that they can help prepare the best possible defense for you.

The first place a legal professional would start is with the police report that is prepared by the arresting officers. Officers need probable cause to stop a person, it cannot be a random stop. There has to be a valid reason that the person was stopped. For example, the person may have run a red light, or they may have been weaving in and out of traffic.

Officers make this stop based on their own observations. Sometimes the probable cause is strong and there is not much room for argument, but sometimes it is subjective and leaves room for weakness. Let’s say that a person was stopped for weaving in and out of lanes. Was the weaving blatantly apparent, slight and subtle? This will depend on how the officer interpreted it, and how the officer interpreted it may not be strong enough to support probable cause. On the other hand, if the probable cause is something like running a red light, there may not be much room for weakness and the officer will be able to support the requirement of probable cause.

The Los Angeles Criminal Courts and the Los Angeles Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) are two completely separate entities. Each has their own restrictions on issuing consequences of a DUI arrest, and each follows their own standards and procedures. Reducing or dismissing your DUI charges in a criminal court will not lead to a dismissal of consequences from the DMV. The entities do not have an influence on each other.

The Courts can issue only certain types of sentences. They can issue jail time, fines, probation, community service and rehabilitation education, however they have no authority over the suspending or revocation of your driving privileges. Similarly, the DMV cannot issue jail time, probation, or other sentences issued by the Courts, they can only suspend or revoke your driving privileges.

The DMV has the authority to suspend or revoke driving privileges if two elements are met:

  1. You were driving a vehicle
  2. You had a blood alcohol content of .08 or over

If these elements are present, the DMV has the authority to suspend your driving privileges, regardless of what the determination of the criminal case was. Let’s consider an example to better demonstrate this concept.

David has been arrested for a DUI. His BAC level was .09, and he was pulled over at the side of the road sleeping in his car. David’s case is not a clear cut case for a DUI, because it could be argued that he was not impaired while driving his vehicle, since his BAC is right on the cusp, and it could also be argued that he was not technically driving a vehicle. Let’s assume that his attorney argues these two points in the criminal courts, and the courts find that there is not enough evidence to find David guilty of a DUI because it cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that he was intoxicated, and that he was driving a vehicle. Accordingly, the criminal courts reduce his charges.

The DMV does not have to do the same, nor will the DMV consider arguments made in the criminal court in making their own determination of whether David was driving a vehicle, and whether his blood alcohol content was over .08. However, in David’s case, there is a question as to whether he was driving a vehicle, even if there is no question as to whether his BAC was over .08. The DMV must make a finding of both elements to suspend his license. This is where a careful argument could also help reduce the DMV’s possible suspension of your license.

The length of time of suspension depends on the situation and circumstances under which your DUI arrest occurred. The following chart breaks down the potential amount of time a license may be suspended.

Offense Number Circumstances Length of Suspension
1st Offense No Aggravating Circumstances 4 Months
2nd Offense No Aggravating Circumstances 1 year
3rd Offense No Aggravating Circumstances 3 years
1st Offense With refusal to take chemical test at the time of arrest 1 year
2nd Offense With refusal to take chemical test at the time of arrest 2 years
Any Offense Under 21

Any amount of alcohol, even under .01

1 year

 

All of the above stated period of suspension are the potential length of suspension. This does not mean that it will automatically be imposed. A Los Angeles DUI Attorney has the ability to negotiation and argue for a lesser period of suspension, especially in situations where the facts do not support the DMV’s criteria for suspension.

If you are facing DUI charges, do not make the mistake of assuming the DMV hearing will not be that crucial to your case. Be sure to have an experienced Los Angeles DUI Lawyer in your corner, representing you. This will help ensure that if your license is suspended, it will be suspended for the least amount of time possible.