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At Lluis Law we have the most experienced and capable Los Angeles DUI lawyers. If you are facing a charge for this crime, please contact us immediately.


For more than 40 years we have litigated in California courts with the best results. At the first consultation, our criminal defense lawyers will tell you what options are available to you. The consultation is without commitment.

50 years of combined experience for the best DUI lawyers in Los Angeles

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) represents a danger to the driver and other people. In fact, the entire society is exposed, because a driver in these conditions can generate various:

In California, a person is considered to be driving under the influence of alcohol when their blood alcohol concentration levels are greater than 0.08. In minors, the allowed limit is 0.02%.

California law provides prison sentences and fines for drivers convicted of this crime. A DUI charge can also have undesirable immigration consequences for any alien. 

The crime of DUI is contemplated among the deportable offenses.

Los Angeles car crash attorneys

Our Los Angeles car crash attorneys and car accident lawyers can help you if you have been involved in any type of auto accident.

How much does a DUI attorney cost in Los Angeles?

An experienced DUI attorney might charge a fee of $4,000 to $5,000. Even more, if there are associated crimes. Other attorneys with less experience and knowledge could cost from $2,500 to $3,500. 

But the truth is that the cost of the lawyer is directly linked to:

  • Its effectiveness in resolving a case.
  • Hours worked and out-of-pocket expenses in case management.
  • Difficulty in resolving the case, whether it goes to trial or not.   

What are the other expenses associated with a DUI case?

In addition to the attorney’s professional fees, the court process for a DUI charge includes other expenses:

  • Court costs and fines ($2,000 or more). 
  • Lessons in the alcohol or drug education program (minimum cost of $450 to a maximum of $1,000).
  • Additional driver’s insurance premium payment of up to $2,500 annually for about three years.
  • Ignition interlock device (costs $500 or more).

If you are in deep trouble for a DUI charge consider these costs as necessary. Your freedom and effective defense is worth much more than that.

Is it worth hiring a DUI lawyers in Los Angeles, California? 

Of course. The work of an efficient DUI lawyer can be invaluable. Especially if you achieve:

  • The dismissal of the charges against the client; or
  • Reduce criminal charges.
  • Prevent them from going to jail for a long period.
  • Avoid the deportation of the accused, if they are immigrants.
  • Clean the client’s criminal record after serving the sentence.

The help of a criminal lawyer in these cases is key. It allows clients to safeguard their reputation and perhaps preserve their job and driver’s license. In other cases it could save them from losing their studies or even their freedom. 

So it is worth having the representation of a specialist lawyer, even if it means a cost. The worst defense individuals can make is to defend themselves. 

What can a DUI attorney do for you?

  • Challenge the result of the breathalyzer test that determined the DUI against the client.
  • Also the methods used by the police to determine the results of the DUI test and proceed with the arrest.
  • Challenge too the legality of the arrest for violation of due process (violation of rights of the accused).
dui consequences in los angeles

Types of DUI Arrest in California

Charges for drunk driving or under the influence of drugs are divided into two types:

1. Hearing with the DMV 

The defendant must attend an administrative hearing before the California Department of Vehicles (DMV). Depending on the offense committed, the agency will determine the punishment for drivers charged with a DUI.

The hearing actually has an informal character. It is conducted by a Driver Safety Office (DSO) Hearing Officer. 

To face the hearing with the DMV, the accused is recommended to:

  • Schedule the hearing within 10 days of the arrest. Otherwise, their driver’s license will be automatically suspended after 30 days. 
  • Attend accompanied by an experienced DUI attorney to avoid making harmful mistakes during the hearing. 

If they lose the case in this instance, the defendant will move on to the next criminal process. 

2. Criminal case

Instead, the criminal hearing takes place in a court with the presence of a judge. The criminal case is generally the second instance for DUI offenses. The process is formal in nature and the punishments for a DUI charge are more severe.

What is the hearing like at the DMV?

The California Department of Motor Vehicles conducts an assessment of the fact and the defendant. It depends on this that the person is given back their privilege to drive and keep the license. 

This hearing is done in two ways:

  • In person at DMV offices in Los Angeles.
  • By phone.

Although it is advised to do it better in person to increase the chances of success. The face-to-face hearing allows the person to be accompanied by their DUI lawyers in Los Angeles. This will allow you to reject or refute the evidence or allegations against you.

Usually, during the hearing, the DMV does not make the final decision. The agency’s response will be sent to you by email.

What do they ask at DMV hearings?

These are the most frequently asked questions:  

  • Were you present at the time of the incident?
  • Were you under the influence of alcohol or any prohibited substance while driving?
penalty of perjury in california

There are tricky questions that are asked in this type of interview, so it is better to seek advice before attending. If you lie in your answers while under oath, you could be charged with a penalty for perjury in California.

What are the penalties for DUI? 

The punishment for a DUI charge is established based on the defendant’s criminal history. If they have been been prosecuted more than once for this crime, the penalties will increase significantly.

First offense DUI

It is sanctioned as a misdemeanor and carries the following punishments:

  • Informal unsupervised probation for three years.
  • From 48 hours (continuous) to 6 months in prison in the county jail. 
  • Fines between $390 and $1,000. The total costs of the process can increase from $1,500 to $2,400.
  • 13 days of community service.
  • Driver’s license suspension from 6 to 10 months.
  • Attendance at court-approved drug and alcohol education program for three months (class AB 541).
  • Installation of IID (Device to Prevent the Start of the car). There is a pilot program in Los Angeles, Sacramento, Tulare and Alameda counties that requires the installation of this type of device.

Second Offense DUI 

As a misdemeanor this charge carries a penalty of: 

  • Unsupervised probation between three and five years.
  • From 96 hours minimum to one year maximum imprisonment in the county jail.
  • Fines similar to those of DUI as a first offense.
  • Two-year license suspension with the possibility of reinstated restricted license after 12 months
  • Attendance at court-approved alcoholic rehabilitation class program, 18-30 months.
  • Installation of the IID device.
dui fines

Third offense DUI 

Repeat offense for a DUI charge (third time) qualified as a misdemeanor is punishable by: 

  • Unsupervised probation for three to five years.
  • A minimum of 120 days in prison up to a maximum of one year in the county jail.
  • First and second time DUI-like citations.
  • Driver’s license suspension for three years, which could lead to restricted reinstatement after 18 months.
  • Attendance at court-approved drug or alcohol rehabilitation class program for 30 months.
  • Installation of the IID device.

Fourth offense DUI 

A fourth misdemeanor DUI charge is punishable by:

  • Parole for three years, after serving jail time.
  • Imprisonment from sixteen months to three years in the state jail.
  • Fines in amounts similar to the charges above. 
  • Driver’s license suspension or revocation for four years.
  • Possible confiscation of the vehicle.
  • Attendance at a treatment program for the rehabilitation of alcoholism for 30 months.
  • Designation of the defendant as “regular traffic offender.”
resisting arrest in california

You may also be interested in reading our article on resisting arrest in California. You may face serious consequences for resisting authority.

Enhanced Penalties for a DUI Charge

The penalty for DUI can be increased for other possible associated crimes and depending on the circumstances of the act. For example, if the driver:  

  • Refuses to submit to a breathalyzer test.
  • Was driving with a blood alcohol level of .20% or higher.
  • Caused a car accident with property damage and personal car accident injuries.
  • Was driving negligently and at high speed.
  • Was transporting a 14-year-old minor in the vehicle.

On the other hand, a DUI personal injury charge can be charged as a wobbler. That is, as a misdemeanor or felony. If the defendant has received a previous conviction for DUI in the last ten years, the sentence increases.

If the DUI is accompanied by an injury charge against another person, it will be counted as a strike from the California three strikes law. Also keep in mind that the action of experienced DUI lawyers in Los Angeles may cause the charges to be reduced.

What other penalties are imposed for a DUI charge?

Depending on the facts leading up to the DUI arrest, a person may be additionally penalized with:

What is a bail bond for DUI cases?

It is a certain amount of money that the offender must deposit in court to be released from prison. Bail represents a guarantee that the defendant will appear at the hearings set by the court.

Bail amounts vary depending on the court, the county where the trial takes place, and the severity of the crime.

How much can the bail amount be for a DUI charge?

Bail Bonds for DUIs are generally between $3,000 and $10,000 for cases with no injuries or property damage. The amount will depend on the circumstances of the event and the defendant’s DUI history.

For example, a vehicular manslaughter case in California or a hit-and-run case in Los Angeles will be punishable by prison time and much higher fines. In contrast, a first offense (misdemeanor) DUI charge will not require a bond.

What do I do if I don’t have money to pay bail?

To obtain the benefit of Freedom on Bail, prior payment of the amount set by the court is required. However, if the convicted person does not have enough money to pay this amount, they can request the services of a bail bond agent.

The agent posts the bail and the person can be released. In exchange, the person agrees to repay the borrowed money, plus a fee that ranges between 8% and 10% of the amount of the bond.

Can I be deported after a DUI conviction?

Yes. Depending on the seriousness of the established DUI charge and its connection to other crimes, the person may be deported. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has tightened its policies in this regard.

In 2019, the immigration agency implemented two decisions of the Attorney General on the subject. These charges affect the presumption of good moral character of the alien necessary to carry out any immigration procedure.

In this sense, the rule establishes that a person with two or more DUI charges can be deported. 

dui vs dwi

What does release on parole or “Own recognizance” mean?

If the person remains in police custody, they will have to be brought before the court/judge. The filing must be made within 72 hours of his arrest, not including weekends, holidays, or court vacations.

The judge determines the amount of bail and usually releases the person without posting bail. They do it under a legal figure called parole. The defendant agrees to appear before the court whenever required.

Own recognizance or parole is granted when: 

  1. The defendant demonstrates strong ties to their community.
  2. Has no criminal record for failing to appear in court.
  3. The crime of DUI does not carry strong and serious consequences.

What must the DMV prove in a DUI case?

To establish the DUI offense, the DMV must show that the defendant was driving prior to the test and arrest. If you were not, our Los Angeles DUI lawyers can request removal of your driver’s license suspension.

They also need to show that the breathalyzer test is authentic and was taken while the defendant was driving. Sometimes these tests are not done properly and give unreliable results.

What happens if I refuse to submit to the DUI test?

You can refuse, that is your right. Only the officer conducting the procedure can request that your driver’s license be suspended. So it’s best to take the test, even if it means a DUI charge.

Is there a possibility to refuse the test?

Yes, however, it is not recommended at all. If you refuse the test your driving license will be immediately suspended and you will be charged with DUI. So it is more prudent to undergo the test.

What happens if the officer who made the arrest did not record the procedure at the time?

The charges could be withdrawn since the procedure would be nullified.

How do I find out the status of my DUI in California?

You can do it in three ways:

  • Request your driving record online. You must pay a $2 printing fee and create an account. If you need to process documents, you will not be able to obtain them this way.
  • Go in person to the local DMV office. Before you do, fill out the free INF1125 form, print it out, and take it to DMV. The fee for the in-person registration application is $5. In this office you can request any document needed.
  • Writing an email addressed to the DMV. Print form INF1125 and mail it to DMV Headquarters: 3615 S Hope St, Los Angeles, CA 90007, United States. You must add the payment of a fee of $5.

How do I know if my license was suspended after being convicted of DUI?

Nowadays, all DUI convictions include a driver’s license suspension penalty. During the reading of the sentence, the court will inform you about this decision, which is also delivered in writing. 

How do I know if I received an administrative license suspension?

You will know as soon as you are arrested by the police. The police normally withhold the driver’s license if they find reason for detention. When this happens the person receives:

  • A temporary driver’s license for 30 days (pink sheet).
  • A written notice that you have 10 days to request a DMV hearing. Failure to do so will result in the license being suspended.

What do I do to reinstate my suspended license after a DUI?

After completing the mandatory suspension period (usually 6 months or more) you must:

  1. Show proof of enrollment and DUI treatment program completion certificate (DL-101).
  2. Submit a Proof of Financial Responsibility (SR-22) form to show that you are paying a higher premium.
  3. Pay the reissue fee of $125 (adults) or $100 if you are a minor.

Can I have access to the evidence against me?

Yes. Before the hearing with the judge, the prosecution is obliged to provide the accused with the evidence that incriminates him. Among the tests that the person accused of DUI must know are:

  • Police report at the time of arrest.
  • Copy of the statements of the alleged witnesses.
  • Registration of the case in the DMV.
  • Affidavit from the police officer who made the arrest.

You or our Los Angeles DUI lawyers must in many cases make a written request to DMV to obtain these records.

What is a Los Angeles drug DUI?

Drug use while driving is also punishable by California law. The DUI drug charge is provided for in Section 23152 (e) VC of the California Vehicle Code.

They do not necessarily have to be classic drugs like marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy or methamphetamines. This includes medications (analgesics / anxiolytics) that require a prescription for consumption such as vicodin, Xanax, and sleeping pills like Ambien. 

Even if you have a legal prescription for your use, this does not exempt you from the DUI drug charge.

How is drug DUI punished?

This crime is punishable by imprisonment and fines. If the individual has been convicted of DUI in the last 10 years they will face:

  • Mandatory jail time.
  • Drug education class for 18 months.

If it is a fourth DUI within 10 years, it will be punishable as a felony. If the DUI caused a car accident with injuries, the penalty increases to include:

  • Restitution of damaged goods.
  • Payment for personal injuries.
  • One year license suspension (first offense).
  • Revocation of professional license (doctors, teachers, lawyers).
Los Angeles drug crimes lawyer

Our Los Angeles drug crimes lawyers have been handling complex cases involving drug DUIs for over 40 years. Do not hesitate to contact and let us know what situation you are in.

What do I do if I am arrested for a DUI crime in Los Angeles?

The following are some helpful tips if you are arrested on this charge by the police:

  • If the officer has not reached the car after stopping, do not sit in the driver’s seat. Also don’t leave the keys in the ignition.
  • If you are with other sober people, do not admit that you were driving.
  • Speak as little as possible to the officer and respond specifically to their questions. 
  • Do not resist the officer’s orders. 
  • If they ask you to sit in the car, do so, or get out of the car if required. But try to stay still.
  • Do not try to run away or admit to having done so.
  • Respond firmly but calmly if you feel your rights are being violated.
  • Do not give the officer reasons to make further observations.
  • Do not stare at the officer to prevent them from noticing your condition.
  • If you are taken to the station, do not refuse the breathalyzer test. Even if you deny wanting to submit to a voluntary test.
  • Call our Los Angeles DUI lawyers as soon as you can. 

Remember that the people accompanying you can record a video of the officer’s attitude. During a trial it could be crucial evidence. Of course, do not try to interfere or hinder the police procedure.


If you or a family member has been accused with this charge, seek out the best Los Angeles DUI lawyers as soon as possible. At Lluis Law we have defended dozens of individuals for more than 40 years with excellent results. Call right now and request a professional consultation.