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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:

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.

If you have been arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence, you have not yet been charged or convicted. This is a very important distinction. When you are arrested, it is only because officers believe there may be enough evidence to find you guilty of what they are charging you with. The case is then forwarded to prosecutors who will review the evidence and make a determination as to whether there really is enough to bring a formal case against you. The first priority of a Los Angeles DUI lawyer is to demonstrate that there is not enough evidence to formally bring a case against you. That is why the earlier you hire a Criminal Lawyer to defend you, the quicker they can get to work and fight to drop the charges before they are even made.

With an attorney on your side, they can act swiftly to contact the arresting police department and speak to the officer about the evidence they have against you. They can gather information efficiently and quickly because they know the officers and are familiar with the police department. But more importantly, the police department has a good working relationship with the attorney and so they are more willing to cooperate and work with the attorney in getting them the information they need.

With the evidence in hand, the attorney can then do a thorough review of what happened the night of the arrest and why the officer believes there is enough to charge you with a formal DUI. The attorney will find holes in the legal process and weaknesses in the arguments that prosecutors can potentially make.

Many of our clients mistakenly believe that a person can only be charged with driving under the influence if a person is intoxicated by consuming alcohol. This is not true at all. A person can be charged with a DUI in Los Angeles without ever having consumed a single drop of alcohol.

A person who is charged with a DUI is charged under California Vehicle Code §23152 or California Vehicle Code §23153. California Vehicle Code §23152 is the statute a person is charged under when the charge is a misdemeanor. Section (a) under §23152 refers specifically to driving under the influence of alcohol. However, section (f) refers to driving under the influence of drugs, and (g) states that it is “unlawful for a person who is under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug to drive a vehicle”.

This means that any type of drugs, including prescription drugs, can lead to a DUI conviction. Let’s consider an example.

If you have been charged with a DUI, you were likely arrested after having submitted to some blood alcohol tests. One such test that many people submit themselves to during a arrest, is a field sobriety test. However, a field sobriety test is a poor indicator of intoxication and many people fail it.

In order to understand the role of a field sobriety test in a DUI arrest, let’s take a step back and walk through an arrest.

Donny is driving home from a birthday party and had a beer and nothing more. He has not slept well the night before and is tired and decides to call it an early night. A beer does not cause Donny, who is 6’2” and 170 pounds to be intoxicated. On his way home, he makes a right turn at a red light without stopping. This is grounds for officers to stop Donny, since he is in violation of traffic laws. Donny is stopped and officers smell beer on his breath from the one beer that he had.

In order for prosecutors to convict you of Driving under the influence, they must prove two elements beyond a reasonable doubt: that you were driving, and you were intoxicated at the time you were driving. It is crucial that prosecutors prove both elements, not just one. Unless they can prove both elements, they cannot convict you.

For example, Dana was drinking at the bar and then walked home to her apartment which was a few blocks away. Officers cannot arrest her for a Los Angeles DUI. Even though she was intoxicated, she was not driving. Similarly, David was driving home from the bar but had only had water while he was there. He cannot be arrested for a DUI because although he was driving, he was not intoxicated.

This is why it is very crucial whether driving can be proven in a DUI case. Oftentimes it is very clear as to whether there is driving or not, but sometimes it is not so cut and dry. When it is not so clear, it makes prosecutor’s case weaker and the case for the person being charged much stronger.

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.

In the previous blog, a brief overview was provided regarding the difference between an arrest, charge and conviction. Further, an example was given. What follows is the analysis.

At the point where David was stopped and administered a field sobriety test, he has only been arrested. The officer found that there was probable cause to believe that David was intoxicated and that he was operating a vehicle. Proving that David was driving a vehicle will be easy with the facts of this case because the officer himself observed David driving, and David was operating the vehicle when he was asked to pull over. Determining whether the driver is intoxicated is a little bit trickier, but in this fact pattern may be stronger for the officer.

The officer’s observations support his belief that David is intoxicated. This includes that he is slurring, and the odor of alcohol as well as his nervous, agitated behavior. Furthermore, David has admitted to having had some drinks. This admission will be strong evidence, as well as the field sobriety test reading of .1.

When you have been arrested for a DUI it does not mean that you have been convicted, or even charged. All it means is that officers have probable cause to believe you are in violation of California Vehicle Code §23152 or 23153. This means that they have enough evidence that there is more of a probability than not that you are intoxicated and operating a vehicle.

For a DUI, you have to have been intoxicated, either from drugs and/or alcohol, and operating a vehicle while under the influence. Once an arrest has been made, the Prosecutor’s office will have to review the evidence and determine if charges will be pressed against you. Oftentimes, you will get a court date to appear and will find that no charges have been filed, or no charges have been filed at that time.

If you are charged, this does not mean you have been convicted. You have rights that are protected by the Constitution and convictions made must follow the guidelines and protections given to you by the Constitution. You must voluntarily, knowingly, and intelligently enter a guilty plea. This can only be after you have been explained your rights, the consequences, possible sentences, and the charges against you.

The criminal court system can be complicated and confusing. There is an entire process and hurdles that must be met at each stage before you move to the next step. Furthermore, there is a decision to be made before moving towards trial. These decisions must be made with careful thought and decision before heading towards trail. There are lots of things to consider, and many of these decisions require legal knowledge and background. That is why it is a good idea to consult with a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer on whether or not it is a good idea to take your DUI case to trial. There are some very important things to consider.


Going to trial is expensive. There are many things an attorney needs to do before trial even starts. They must gather evidence, through interviewing witnesses, looking at potential exhibits, and reviewing countless documents. They must look into surveillance videos, and calibration of different tests that were taken. They must also prepare witnesses, testimony and the presentation of their case. Additionally, they must do research on the law, cases, and file any motions that are necessary. Going to trial is not always necessary,  and based on the evidence and the prosecutor’s arguments, it may not be worthwhile.