When a person has been arrested under the suspicion of driving under the influence in Los Angeles, officers have only gathered evidence that leads to possible charges. The information is then transferred over to the Prosecutor’s office, and Prosecutors then determine whether there is enough evidence to file charges for a DUI.
Certain factors, such as a prior DUI will greatly affect the Prosecutor’s decision on whether or not to bring charges. A prior DUI will have a significant impact on influencing a Prosecutor’s decision.
With a first time DUI, a driver must be intoxicated while driving a vehicle. Since it is difficult to determine what a level of intoxication is and leaving it arbitrary can make it difficult for law enforcers, the legislature has stated a .08 blood alcohol level as a standard. This helps provide guidance as to the intoxication of a driver. Generally if a person is borderline .08 on a first offense DUI, there is a lot of room for negotiation with Prosecutors. There are defenses and arguments to be made that a person was not intoxicated at the time they were operating the vehicle. With this “wiggle room” many times Prosecutor’s will dismiss or reduce a DUI where the blood alcohol level is close to .08.
However, if a person has a prior DUI, they are not allowed to be driving with any amount of alcohol in their system during the period of probation. Doing so can immediately result in a second DUI. This means that if a person has even a .02 blood alcohol level with a prior DUI, they will be charged with a second DUI. A Prosecutor who receives an arrest record for a second DUI, chances are they will immediately file charges. There will be no room for review of the evidence. Any amount of BAC will result in a charge.
Additionally, a prior DUI will come into play when sentencing is concerned. The legislature states a range of possible sentencing in the statutes, but does not specify an exact sentence. This is because it is not reasonable to expect that each and every case will require the same sentence. The Judge will take into consideration the specific facts of the case, as well as prior violations when determining a final sentence. A person who has a prior DUI will likely receive a higher sentence than someone who is on their first offense. Furthermore, if the person who has a prior DUI conviction is on probation, there will be an additional charge of probation violation that the Judge will also consider.
Having a prior DUI conviction certainly makes things more difficult, however, it does not make things impossible. With the help of an experienced and knowledgeable Los Angeles DUI Attorney the seriousness of a second offense DUI can be mitigated. The attorney will prepare a strong defense, presenting evidence and facts that will help minimize the consideration of a second offense DUI.