While most drivers are aware that driving while intoxicated is a criminal violation, those who have been arrested for DUI frequently want to know what DUI statutes apply to them. Driving under the influence rules is complex, and anyone who has been arrested for DUI should speak with a competent and experienced Los Angeles DUI Attorney as soon as possible. Consider one of our prescreened California Attorneys in your Cal Bar Attorney Search.

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Find A Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney After A DUI

A person pulled over for driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent, or higher is usually charged with two counts of DUI: one violation of driving under the influence and one violation of attempting to drive with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher under California Vehicle Code Section 23152(b) VC. The prosecutor can pursue one of two theories of culpability by filing both charges: the accused is guilty of DUI because of reckless driving behavior, or the accused is guilty of DUI because their blood alcohol content (BAC) was more than the legal limit of 0.08 percent.

In most cases, infractions of California Vehicle Code Section 23152 VC are misdemeanors, but if a driver has three or more DUI convictions in the previous ten years, a subsequent offense can be punished as a felony. Those convicted of a felony DUI can expect to spend time in prison and pay large fines.

  • The accused may stand in opposition to chemical tests in particular cases. In these circumstances, the driver may still face a DUI prosecution, as well as a refusal charge that might be used to augment the defendant's final sentence.
  • Even though the driver's blood alcohol content (BAC) was less than 0.08 percent, he or she was driving in a way that indicated inebriation. The prosecution can still prosecute the accused with DUI under California Vehicle Code Section 23152(a) VC in these circumstances, but it must prove that the defendant's intoxication was the cause of the defendant's driving behavior and not another factor.
  • A blood test may prove that the driver had no alcohol in his or her system but did test positive for drugs. Under the California Vehicle Code, the driver could be prosecuted for driving while under the influence of narcotics in certain circumstances. If the motorist was under the influence of both alcohol and narcotics, he or she might be prosecuted with DUI under California Vehicle Code Section 23152(f) VC.
  • There are administrative regulations that apply to drivers who have been arrested for DUI in addition to criminal regulations. Regardless of the outcome of the court case, anyone arrested for DUI with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher will have their driving privileges suspended by the California DMV.
  • In fact, thirty days after the initial arrest, the suspension takes effect. By asking for an administrative hearing, the motorist can contest the ban. If this hearing is not requested within ten days after the arrest, the suspension will take effect automatically. A DMV hearing officer, who is not a judge nor an attorney, conducts the hearing. During the DMV hearing, a motorist may be represented by California Criminal Defense Attorney, and it is strongly advised that a driver punished with a suspension have legal representation for this hearing.

If you have been charged with DUI, it is vital that you speak with a Los Angeles DUI Lawyer as soon as possible.

When You're At The Checkpoint

When one of two things happens in Los Angeles or Southern California, the full DUI process usually starts. When a person gets arrested for a traffic offense or when they enter a DUI checkpoint. The officer normally pulls the suspect over for a traffic infraction, which is by far the most typical start to the Los Angeles DUI process. Running a stop sign or signal, weaving between lanes, speeding, or allowing a basic car defect to occur are the most common violations. The officer will then explain that he or she observed what is known as objective symptoms of intoxication. Slurred speech, wet eyes, and the scent of alcohol on the suspect's breath are all signs of intoxication.

In recent years, police departments have begun to employ DUI checkpoints as a method of catching persons driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. DUI checkpoints, like other new legal processes, have faced several legal challenges and are closely regulated. An expert DUI Attorney will be able to challenge the validity of the stop if the police do not follow the high requirements established by the United States Supreme Court and the Supreme Court of California. If the stop was unlawful, all evidence would be thrown out of court, the prosecution will be unable to proceed with the case, and the charges will be dropped.

The police are not allowed to do whatever they want when pulling over drivers for DUI checks. The courts' restrictions on law enforcement are quite restrictive. The following are the steps to take:

  • The police supervisors are in charge of deciding when and where the checkpoint will be put up.
  • The policemen in charge of the DUI checkpoint must adhere to a set of tight guidelines. A clear protocol must exist that instructs police on how and when to stop vehicles in the field.
  • According to the Supreme Court, the checkpoint must include various protections. Prior to passing the checkpoint, there must be warning signs, enough lighting, and clearly identifiable police cars.
  • The checkpoint must be placed in a convenient location.
  • To avoid causing traffic congestion, the length of the traffic halt should be reduced. The majority of checkpoints are set up on minor roads late at night.
  • The signs at the checkpoint should be clear and visible, indicating that any halt is approved by the proper authority.
  • The time of the driver's detention at the checkpoint, if any, must be kept to a minimum so that the driver's safety, as well as that of other motorists, is not compromised by traffic congestion.
  • While it is not required, the courts have stated that the checkpoints should be advertised in advance.

The Investigation Process

The officer will initiate the DUI inquiry once he or she detects any objective evidence of intoxication. The suspect will be asked to exit the vehicle, and a series of field sobriety tests will be administered by the officer (FST). The name comes from the test being usually done on the field by the officer. Field sobriety tests come in a variety of forms, and an officer is not required to administer all of them during the course of his or her investigation. The officer is also not compelled to inform you that you have the option of refusing to take the tests.

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The assigned officer may ask you to blow into a preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) device, which gives you an estimate of your BAC. If the officer is trained to do so, he or she will have a PAS meter on hand and will ask you to blow into it. This exam, like all previous FSTs, is optional, although you may anticipate the officer to notify you that you don't have to take it if you don't want to. If you are instructed that you must take the FSTs, you should contact an LA DUI Lawyer right once.

The officer will lead you to assume that the FSTs are scientific and thus accurate, but in fact, they are the least dependable part of the entire DUI investigative process. The tests are given in principle to see if the police have enough probable cause to arrest you for DUI. Many experts, however, believe that regardless of how well you perform on the FSTs, the officer will arrest you for DUI if he or she detects alcohol on your breath. The tests are nevertheless carried out by the officer in order to collect as much incriminating evidence as possible for the prosecution to utilize against you in court.

Arresting You For A DUI

After the inspector completes the FSTs, he or she will declare that the driver failed the tests and arrest the driver for driving while intoxicated (DUI). If the motorist was given a PAS breath test in the field and blew beyond the legal limit, the officer will utilize that outcome as "probable cause" to make an arrest. In a typical DUI case, the officer will issue a DUI arrest warrant under Vehicle Code Section 23152. (a).

To make this arrest, the police must have reasonable grounds to think that the motorist is under the influence and that the driver's ability to drive is impaired. The motorist is handcuffed and transported for a chemical test at this point. If drugs are suspected, the chemical test could be blood, breath, or urine. The purpose of this test is to determine the amount of alcohol in the blood of the driver.

The BAC test, or Blood Alcohol Test, is what this is called. If possible, the officer will let the motorist choose which exam he or she wants to take. The law requires the DUI suspect to submit to a chemical test. However, the police will almost never force you to take a test. Instead, the DMV, as well as the court, will punish you even more severely for your defiance. If the motorist refuses to take the test, the Department of Motor Vehicles will immediately suspend the driver's license for at least one year; in some situations, the suspension may be extended.

  • If the DUI suspect opts for a breath test, the driver will be required to follow the officer's instructions. The officer will instruct the driver to blow into the machine twice. The officer will know the outcome of the exam after it is completed. The officer will next complete the arrest report as well as any further paperwork.
  • If the DUI suspect opts for a blood test, the police must follow rigorous guidelines for removing and handling the blood. The sample will be sent to an approved testing facility, and the results will take several weeks to arrive.
  • The DUI suspect will then be booked into jail and given a bail amount to pay before being released, or the driver will be "cited out" and given a court date in the future.

The officer will most likely charge the DUI suspect with two counts of intoxication. The first is California Vehicle Code Section 23152(a), which prohibits driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs, and the second is California Vehicle Code Section 23152(b), which prohibits driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of more than.08 percent.

How You'll Be Represented in Court

You will need to get an LA DUI Attorney after being arrested for a DUI. You will have three (3) options to choose from:

The Public Defender Appointed by the Court

These are, in many cases, some of the most overworked lawyers. They lack the resources and time to conduct a thorough investigation into your issue. Most of the time, they are given a large caseload of impoverished clients to represent, which the court appoints. The DMV component of your case will not be handled by the public defender.

One of the most crucial aspects of a criminal DUI case is the DMV case. Without a prosecutor present at the DMV hearing, a DUI Attorney will be able to cross-examine the officer and obtain data to aid you in your DUI case if done properly. Furthermore, and maybe most crucially, you have no say in who represents you. If you don't like the public defender assigned to your case, you will almost always have no choice but to stick with him or her unless you hire your own DUI Lawyer.

You may not be eligible for a free court-appointed public defender due to financial constraints. If you or your family earns more than a particular amount of money, own a home, or have other assets, you will most likely not be eligible for the public defender's services and will be advised to represent yourself or hire a Los Angeles DUI Defense Attorney.

Finally, unlike a DUI Attorney, public defenders do not have the resources or time to dedicate to your case. They have to split their attention between your case and hundreds of others. Because some public defenders are also handling murder cases and other felonies, their attention will be divided between your case, which is very important to you, and other cases that the public defender may consider more urgent.

Self-Representation in the Absence of an Attorney

In all the years I've practiced law, I've never heard of a case where someone represented themselves and was ultimately happy. I've even seen public defenders advise DUI suspects to hire a DUI specialist with a lot of experience. DUI cases are both sophisticated and difficult to understand. You may face the penalties of a major criminal conviction if you represent yourself unsuccessfully.

A professional California-based DUI Lawyer will meet with you and any witnesses, if there are any, and look over the police records with you. With the use of detectives and other resources, the attorney can see the legal and factual concerns in your case and create a good winning defense. In many circumstances, the DUI Attorney will know the police officer who arrested you. The police officer may be known among Criminal Defense Lawyers as someone who has received several complaints about his or her behavior or, more importantly, as someone who has been disciplined for handling DUI investigations. The attorney will be able to identify these difficulties and bring them to the prosecutor or the court, assisting you in reaching a favorable resolution in your DUI case.

California-based DUI Attorney will understand how the government builds its case and where all the flaws are, which could lead to a charge reduction...or, in the best-case scenario, a complete dismissal. Furthermore, DMV hearings are extremely technical in terms of the evidence provided and what the government needs to prove in order to suspend your driver's license.

Attorneys for DUI in Private Practice

It can be tough to choose a private DUI Lawyer to represent you. Every attorney that deals with a DUI case are different. Because they handle a large number of cases, some DUI attorneys charge less. If that attorney has a lot of cases, you can end up in the same situation as if you hired a public defender: too many cases, not enough resources, and not enough time to devote to your case. Remember that time is of the essence at this point; you only have 10 days to request a DMV hearing, or you will forfeit your opportunity to contest the suspension order. You must promptly retain the services of a fitting Los Angeles DUI Attorney.

A skilled Los Angeles DUI Lawyer will have the experience you'll need. You'll discover that a DUI defense attorney with experience in all areas of DUI-type cases—from a first offense DUI to a felony DUI resulting in injury or death—will be familiar with the technical information needed to preserve your rights and interests.

In a DUI case, you have a lot on the line. Your driving privileges may be revoked, your company may dismiss you due to a criminal record, and your insurance prices may skyrocket. The court fees are exorbitant, you'll have to miss work to attend DUI classes, and you'll have to deal with the stigma of a criminal record.

In many cases, low-cost lawyers work for someone else; they will try to lead them out and move on to the next case whenever others have to go to court or fight the prosecution over intricate evidence concerns. Remember, they make money based on volume, not on the quality of their work. When it comes to choosing a DUI Attorney, there are no deals.

In DUI cases, new defenses emerge all the time, and you need someone with the knowledge, training, and prior work experience to deal with and recognize the complex defenses that could be the difference between being convicted of a DUI.

DMV Hearings

When you are arrested, the officer will give you a "Suspension Order and Temporary License" form. Unless you request a DMV hearing within 10 days of receiving the order, your license will be immediately suspended and will expire in 30 days. The paperwork the police offer you is a temporary driver's license.

Many people feel that the license suspension will be delayed until the legal issue is resolved. This isn't correct. You have 10 days after receiving the suspension order to request a hearing. The suspension is automatically postponed until the hearing is held once the request is made. Hearings are divided into two categories.

The hearing can be conducted over the phone or in person, with the officer present. It's crucial to make the right decision. A live hearing is nearly always recommended. The only time a DUI Attorney can cross-examine the officer without the prosecution present to protect the officer is during this hearing. Your DUI Lawyer in California might call witnesses to testify on your behalf. Your witnesses will frequently contradict the officer.

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A hearing officer, not a judge, will assess whether you were driving the car at the time the officer pulled you over and whether the officer arrested you properly. Finally, the DMV review board will evaluate whether you were driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of more than.08 percent (by body weight) at the time. A DUI Lawyer can file legal filings and present legal arguments to persuade the hearing officer that such license should also not be suspended.

Your First Court Appearance

This is often the scariest and most terrifying part of the process for the DUI suspect, second only to the arrest. You may be appearing in court for the first time.

If you are charged with a misdemeanor in California, your Los Angeles DUI Lawyer may present on your behalf during the arraignment. You may never have to attend court in most cases, and your California DUI Attorney can do it on your behalf. This will save you time off work and the potential for public shame if you have to go to court. Even if a plea bargain is reached, you may not be required to appear in court.

If you do not have Criminal Defense Lawyer, you will still be required to appear in court and face a DUI charge.

Your LA DUI Attorney will enter a "not guilty" plea on your behalf and receive the "complaint" at the arraignment. The prosecutor files this as the "charging document" with the court. The prosecutor will hand over the police records as well as the findings of the chemical test to your California DUI Lawyer. This is referred to as "discovery."

The court will then schedule a pre-trial hearing and, if necessary, a trial date for the case. A month following the arraignment, the pre-trial hearing will be scheduled.

Coming into the Pre-Trial

Following the arraignment, the court has scheduled a pre-trial hearing. Your Los Angeles DUI Defense Attorney will have had time to meet with your witnesses, interrogate them, and obtain further evidence to aid you at that point. Your Los Angeles-based DUI Lawyer will meet with the prosecutor once again. Any new evidence acquired by the prosecutor will be sent over. The prosecutor will also provide the documents requested by your DUI Lawyer.

A move to suppress that evidence is filed at this point. It's possible that you'll file a motion claiming that the police did an illegal search or that the detention was unlawful. Motions to challenge the validity of a chemical test may also be brought. When the prosecutor realizes that the case isn't as strong as it first appears, settlement talks begin. The case could be dismissed if the motions are granted. In some situations, this may result in a charge decrease.

There may be more than one pre-trial, and if the case is not settled, a jury trial will be scheduled. If you are accused of a misdemeanor, your California DUI Lawyer will be able to represent you in court, and you will not be required to appear. In some cases, your DUI Attorney may be able to attend on your behalf if you are charged with a felony.

Facing the Jury

Only around 5% of criminal cases are ever tried in front of a jury. Long before the trial, the majority of cases are settled or dropped. Cases can be dismissed because law enforcement evidence was withheld or because the prosecutor considers the government's case is weak. A DUI Lawyer is frequently the best person to guarantee that the case is properly prepared and "worked up" for trial.

If your lawsuit cannot be settled prior to trial, you will be required to attend the jury trial. Twelve jurors will listen to the prosecutor's witnesses, your attorney's cross-examination, and any evidence offered by your DUI Attorney during the trial. The prosecution witnesses' cross-examination is frequently the deciding factor in your acquittal. A former prosecutor who now works for a California DUI Defense Attorney understands what the government is trying to hide from the jury, which might jeopardize the government's case. Your Los Angeles DUI Lawyer will ensure that the jury hears all of the evidence presented to them.

The attorneys will make their final arguments once all of the evidence has been presented. In some situations, the court will allow the jury to deliberate on a charge that is less serious than the one with which the prosecutor charged you during your arraignment. The jury will then proceed to the deliberation room to consider all of the evidence before reaching a decision.

All the jurors must be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the acts with which you were charged in order for the jury to find you guilty. You can only be found guilty if the jury deems you guilty. The jury may find you guilty in some situations, but your DUI Attorney may submit motions in court to have the decision overturned. Your case may be retried or dismissed if the judge agrees.

If the jurors are unable to reach a decision, the case may be declared "hung." Your L.A. DUI Lawyer will file motions to dismiss the case and fight the prosecutor's petition to retry the case at this time. Your attorney's legal understanding is critical at this point in safeguarding your rights.

You will decide whether or not your case will go to trial. Your California-based DUI Attorney will go over all of your alternatives, potential defenses, and the benefits and drawbacks of going to trial with you. However, the final decision will be yours to make.

What Happens After the Trial

If all goes according to plan, your case will be dropped, or you will be judged "not guilty." Any prospective requests to seal or destroy your record will be submitted to the court by your DUI Defense Attorney. Furthermore, your DUI Attorney will notify the DMV and supply you with the appropriate certified documentation to provide to the DMV, your insurance carrier, and, if necessary, your employment.

If you are found guilty by a jury, you will be required to attend DUI instruction sessions, be placed on probation, and pay fines. If you are placed on probation, your DUI Lawyer in Los Angeles will accompany you to court, if required, to ensure that the judge is satisfied that you are following the terms of your probation.

If you've been arrested or charged with a DUI in Los Angeles, you'll want to find a California DUI Lawyer that knows the seriousness of the charge, how to best defend you, as well as how to resolve your case without going to jail.

Find A DUI Defense Attorney in California

1000Attorneys.com offers a Free Attorney Referral Service Certified by the California Bar Association that can refer a DUI Lawyer to handle your case. Contact us through our 24/7 Live Chat (or complete our submission form) for a free case review.