Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI) is a very serious criminal offense in California. In this case, you probably need trustable DUI lawyers in Los Angeles. If there is recidivism, the case is more serious.
Driving Under the Influence means driving drunk or under the influence of drugs. If you or a family member is arrested or charged with a DUI in California, do not hesitate to contact us. You can receive very severe monetary and jail penalties. Especially if you have already been arrested for this crime before.
If you have been involved in a DUI accident we can help you. Do not hesitate to contact our criminal lawyers in Los Angeles .
The best DUI lawyers in Los Angeles
The criminal defense lawyers of Lluis Law based in Los Angeles seek justice to be balanced in these cases. The first thing a defendant or arrested for DUI should know is what he needs. Simply legal assistance, either as a victim or as a defendant. Hiring a DUI lawyer with experience and ability is crucial to guarantee the best result in a trial.
For the defense of a DUI case, the lawyer should try to detect possible failures in the police procedure. Especially in serious cases such as drunk driving during a car accident with injuries. From the lack of “reasonable suspicion” at the time of shining the vehicle. Going through the breathalyzer test, until the lack of “well founded reason” to continue the investigation.
If legal failures are detected in a case the Los Angeles DUI lawyers must expose them and argue them. Consequently, the judge can reject DUI charges. Practice indicates that countless DUI cases in Los Angeles contain demonstrable errors. The problem is that they have not been properly investigated.
Such is the case of blood alcohol tests or “Site sobriety test”. This is due to incorrect instructions given by the police to the accused driver or obvious communication errors.
What is DUI in the United States?
Drivers who drive under influence (DUI) in the United States commit a serious crime. Whether you are drunk or high, the case can have very serious consequences. Even more so if the driver is a foreigner with a non-immigrant visa. But also for a foreigner who is in the process of adjusting status and seeks how to obtain the Green Card.
It is important to know that in the United States to be considered under influence, the driver does not need to be drunk. However, people suspected of DUI are protected by the Constitution and by US state laws. The protection for people accused of DUI is illegal actions that could be committed during the arrest.
What is the difference between DWI and DUI?
The DUI must be separated from the DWI (Driving While Intoxicated), that is, drive while intoxicated. This is another crime and is much more serious. In the latter, a person with higher levels of alcohol or drugs in the blood is involved.
The DUI is a “presumptive” test. On the other part, DWI is determined automatically after a breathalyzer test. In the second one, the accused is found guilty.
California DUI Laws
In the 80s there was a change in the processing and penalization of DUI in the USA. It went from being a misdemeanor to becoming a serious crime, as the case may be. This caused the beginning of a hard and stubborn struggle for the authorities. The idea was to stop this type of crime from the legal and procedural point of view.
The state of California in the last three decades has hardened the conviction of DUI. If the history of DUI crimes increases, prison penalties are also increased. You can also receive revocation of the driver’s license and severe fines.
There are two legal instruments through which the crime of DUI is sanctioned. On the one hand we find the Vehicle Code section 23152 (a), which punishes driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. On the other, the Vehicle Code, section 23152 (b) for driving with a concentration of alcohol equal to or greater than .08% in the blood.
To accuse and find a driver guilty of DUI, the prosecution must prove either of these two charges. However, a specialized Los Angeles DUI attorney can make the defendant still have possibilities. He could avoid jail for the defendant or have his file stained as a driver.
If this is your case at Lluis Law, we have been dealing with traffic and criminal offenses for more than 40 years. Our expert DUI lawyers in Los Angeles can review your case for free and this does not compromise anything.
DUI for the first time
When a person receives the first DUI charge in California, it will be considered a misdemeanor. This offense will be punished with fines, community service, license suspension and possible parole. However, other factors may change the level or nature of your position, resulting in stronger penalties.
The prosecution must verify that the driver was indeed unable to drive due to the influence of drugs or alcohol. For this, the government will use the “Sobriety Tests on the Site”. It will also request the opinion of experts in criminalistics belonging to the United States Department of Justice.
During the judicial process, the argument related to the defendant’s inability to drive will be upheld. In these cases, the expert DUI attorney must refute the criminalists’ arguments based on their knowledge of the law. Likewise, it will rely on the opinion of other experts and on possible procedural failures committed by the police.
The penalties for a first DUI case are as follows:
- $ 390 to $ 1,000 fine;
- Penalty of 4 days to 6 months in prison,
- Payment of a “penalty assessment” that may be equal to or up to three times the amount of the fine;
- 4 months driver’s license suspension or 1 year if the driver does not undergo chemical tests;
- Payment of $ 125 for the reissue of the license,
- In some cases confiscation of the vehicle; and
- Compulsory attendance at a DUI treatment program, according to the percentage of breathalyzer.
Second DUI charge
A second DUI charge, in accordance with California Vehicle Code, section 23152 (a), will imply more severe penalties. If the crime was committed within 10 years after the first case, the penalties include:
- All the sanctions mentioned above;
- Penalty from 90 days to 1 year in jail; and
- Mandatory license suspension for 1 year.
For a third DUI conviction, within 10 years of the first DUI case, the penalties are:
- All previous penalties,
- Minimum mandatory prison sentence of 120 days; and
- License suspension from 2 to 4 years.
To establish this charge, the prosecution must only prove that the driver had in his blood an alcohol content equal to or greater than .08% at the time of driving. When the breathalyzer test shows levels above .08%, it indicates that the driver committed a flagrant violation of traffic laws. In that case, it doesn’t matter if I had the necessary ability or not to drive.
It is true that even DUI for drugs is considered a misdemeanor in California; however, the offense can be serious if:
- It is the fourth DUI offense you commit;
- You have a prior conviction for the felony offense of DUI;
- Driving under the influence is the direct cause of an accident with damages to third parties.
The penalties for DUI of drugs or alcohol are the same. However, these sanctions are gradually increasing as there is recidivism for the same crime. That is, if it is the second, third, fourth or subsequent offense and, in addition, if there are aggravating circumstances such as the additional commission of a crime.
The most frequent DUI penalties include:
- Probation of 3 to 5 years;
- Fines (usually $ 1,800 for the first offense);
- Driver’s license suspension.
- Finalize DUI program at a California school;
- Prison sentence that will depend on the county where the incident occurred, the record of the accused and the circumstances of the incident.
Sometimes lawyers negotiate the reduction of the DUI charge to reckless driving to avoid previous penalties. When the evidence reveals that the driver was under the influence of medications such as Vicodin or Diphenhydramine (Health and Safety Code 11550 of California Law), the person may also be charged with this crime.
Possible defenses in DUI cases
There are several legal defenses to help defendants under a DUI charge. Here we mention some:
- Having traces of drugs in the body does not mean that the person is necessarily under their influence.
- Many times the collection, storage and analysis of blood / urine do not meet the standards set forth in the procedures regulated under California Title 17.
- Certain physical conditions such as stress, anxiety and exhaustion can be confused by the authorities as symptoms of being under the influence of drugs.
What is an aggravated DUI?
It means that in the case of the driver accused of being intoxicated or with aggravated DUI, there are other factors that influenced his rating. In California, these types of aggravating elements are called improvements. State law states that a DUI is more serious and can be punished with more severe penalties if there is an improvement present.
In order to justify the improved sentences, the judge establishes a series of aggravating factors to the crime of DUI. Such aggravating factors may be for example:
- Having an excessive concentration of alcohol in Blood (.08 or higher according to the breathalyzer test).
- Refuse to take the breathalyzer test.
- Driving at high speed (30 mph on the highway or 20 mph on other types of roads).
- Reckless or reckless driving.
- Carry a child under 14 in the vehicle at the time of being arrested for DUI.
- Cause a car accident with or without injuries.
Can I arrange papers if I have a DUI?
The immigration consequences for foreigners accused of DUI in California can be serious, depending on each case. The Los Angeles DUI attorneys of Lluis Law after reviewing the case can tell you what your options are. As long as there are no injuries and other personal and material damages, it will be easier to resolve the case.
Normally, DUI cases for the first time and without aggravating factors do not lead to deportation since it is a misdemeanor. But, it all depends on the circumstances and the aggravating factors that may be present during the trial.
Another important aspect to know is whether the person has a legal or illegal immigrant status. That is, if you have papers or are undocumented. Being a standard offense, the DUI does not result in the deportation of a permanent resident. But if you don’t have papers you may have to face a deportation process.
However, LLuis Law immigration lawyers are experts solving DUI cases, regardless of your immigrant status. So it is possible to arrange the situation of an immigrant accused with a DUI offense. In addition, our car accident lawyers in Los Angeles are accredited Los Angeles immigration lawyers with over 40 years of experience.
If you or a family member have been charged or arrested for DUI and need legal help, contact the expert DUI lawyers in Los Angeles from the office of Lluis Law right now.