DUI Lawyer In Los Angeles County

Driving Under the Influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) are terms used interchangeably. DUI or DWI costs over $44 billion annually, with California having the second largest number of alcohol-related fatalities. Only Texas has more.

35% of all automobile fatalities in California involved alcohol. But DUI in California is not limited to alcohol. DUI also encompasses erratic driving resulting from illicit drugs, prescribed medications, over-the-counter medications, and cannabis whether medical or recreational.

DUI Lawyer Los Angeles County
Consequently, the State of California has a rigorous statewide policy to enforce DUI laws. There is zero tolerance for youthful offenders under the age of 21 and repeat offenders. Suppose you are caught up in an arrest involving driving under the influence of alcohol or other substances. In that case, you deserve to be represented by a DUI defense attorney who approaches your defense as a fierce advocate with skill, experience, and compassion.

Retaining talented and savvy counsel early in a DUI arrest is necessary to preserve your options, protect your rights as an individual, and your right to continue driving. Contact our DUI lawyer in Los Angeles County,  RP Criminal Defense Law to schedule a consultation to permit our Los Angeles-based DUI defense attorneys to assess the strength of the government’s case and to guide you through the administrative procedures and prosecution to ensure fairness and strict compliance with constitutional and statutory mandates. We are conveniently located in Encino and Ontario. RP Criminal Defense Law provides aggressive individualized representation backed by experience and a thorough understanding of all aspects of DUI prosecutions and administrative procedures.

Driving Under The Influence Attorney Los Angeles

A first step in defending against a DUI charge, whether resulting from alcohol or drugs, is to review the arrest record and laboratory reports to discern whether the police acted within the constraints of the constitution, statutes, and best practices. Because THC, the active ingredient in cannabis, dissipates within an hour of intake, blood tests to determine intoxication must be performed as soon as possible to preserve evidence. Currently, there is no statutory limit for THC or other drugs, unlike alcohol. In California, a driver may not operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or higher. Commercial drivers cannot operate a truck with a blood alcohol level of 0.04%, and youthful drivers under the age of 21 cannot operate a car or truck with a blood alcohol level of 0.01%. However, prosecutions for DUI based on drug intake do not have specific levels, which means that the arresting officer must be precise in the description of the driving behaviors that led to the stop and arrest. Blood or urine samples are also key evidence.

The DMV’s Role In Your Los Angeles DUI Case

Each arrest for DUI has two components: DMV and criminal prosecution. Let’s focus first on the DMV’s role. Upon arrest, your driver’s license will be confiscated. In its stead, you will receive a “pink paper,” which serves as a temporary license to drive, and notice that you have 10 days to request a hearing before the DMV to defend your future right to drive. If you fail to request this administrative proceeding, your temporary license will expire in 30 days. If you don’t request the hearing, you have just lost your license!

Upon DUI arrest, you need to consult immediately with an experienced DUI defense lawyer to make sure that your rights, especially your right to drive, is defended to the fullest extent of the law.

Under Age DUI – Zero Tolerance Law

It is illegal for a person under 21 to possess alcohol or cannabis. Therefore, any prosecution for DUI for a youthful offender will result in two charges: illegal possession and DUI. The penalties upon conviction are indicative of California’s zero tolerance policies toward underage intoxication and driving.

  • Driving privileges are suspended for up to 12 months
  • 30-day vehicle impoundment
  • Up to 6 months in county jail
  • Fines up to $2,000
  • License reissue fee of $125
  • Mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device
  • Mandatory attendance in DUI education program

There are hidden costs to these penalties. For example, the installation of an ignition interlock device, which prevents the car from turning on without a breathalyzer test, costs between $70-100 per month. A first-time offender will pay about $600 to attend a 30-hour DUI program. Second offenders will pay as much as $1900 for an 18-month DUI course.

Types of DUI Charges

DUI can be charged as an infraction, a misdemeanor, or a felony. The age of the driver, the number of prior offenses, the blood alcohol or drug content, and whether there were injuries or fatalities all contribute to the decision of how to charge a DUI.

Infraction: when blood alcohol content is below 0.05%, although most often the result of negotiations with prosecutors when there are issues with evidence or the offender, is young.

Misdemeanor: with a blood alcohol level of over 0.08% and with only minor injuries.

Felony: charged when there are four DUI offenses within 10 years or when DUI results in major injuries or death.

Penalties if Charged with a DUI

A first offense for DUI means:

  • License suspension of 4 months or longer
  • Up to 6 months in jail
  • Fines and fees up to $3600
  • DUI school for 3 months
  • Possible installation of an ignition interlock device
  • 3-5 years of probation

Successive arrests during 10 years can escalate penalties. A second conviction can mean:

  • License suspension up to 2 years
  • Up to 1 year in jail
  • Fines and fees up to $4000
  • 18 months to 30 months in DUI school
  • Mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device
  • 3-5 years of probation

A third offense within 10 years requires further punishment.

  • License suspension up to 3 years
  • Up to one year in jail or up to 16 months in state prison
  • Fines and fees up to $18,000
  • 30 months of DUI school
  • Mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device
  • 3-5 years of probation

A fourth offense within ten years means acquiring the status of a convicted felon, along with the possibility of permanently losing driving privileges in the state of California.

Legal Defense for DUI Charges

Unless you are under the age of 21 or are currently on probation for a DUI, you can legally decline to take a field sobriety test or preliminary alcohol screening test (PAS) because these procedures are subjective. However, under California law, once you are arrested, you may not decline to take a blood, urine, or breathalyzer test administered at the police station. A refusal means additional penalties and a jury instruction to your detriment at trial.

In addition to defending your driver’s license before the DMV, there is a criminal prosecution for DUI. At RP Criminal Law Defense, we begin by reviewing all of the documentation attendants to the arrest: police reports, laboratory results, and any witness statements. We analyze the circumstances of the initial stop; the behaviors of the police, whether appropriate warnings were given, such as your Miranda rights and telling the driver that submitting to a PAS is optional; how and when any blood or urine was taken; the maintenance of the breathalyzer machine at the station; and any statements you might have given at the time of the stop or arrest. During this analysis, we will determine what your options are and how to approach both the administrative hearing process and criminal prosecution.

DUI Lawyer In Los Angeles County & San Bernadino

Facing a charge of DUI or DWI can mean loss of driving privileges along with other penalties. You deserve a fair assessment of the strength of the prosecution’s case to determine how best to proceed. You also deserve representation that will bring skill and expertise to examining the police reports and laboratory reports to understand the weight of evidence fully and the savvy one gets from years of experience representing criminal defendants in the Los Angeles and San Bernadino courts. Our offices are conveniently located in Encino and Ontario. Only seasoned criminal defense attorneys can realistically evaluate the evidence, the credibility of witnesses, and the predisposition of the trial judge. Call us at (818) 646-3443 or contact the firm online to schedule a consultation to discuss your case. For your convenience, we have office locations in Encino and Ontario, CA.