DUI DEFENSE ATTORNEY LOS ANGELES CA
The decision to get behind the wheel and drive after drinking or using drugs only takes a moment, but the consequences of a Los Angeles DUI conviction can last a lifetime. Any time you are facing criminal charges for allegedly driving under the influence, your first course of action should be to hire a skilled DUI defense attorney to protect your legal rights and help you minimize the consequences of the DUI charges. Our defense attorneys at Seyb Law Group have earned a reputation for aggressively and passionately defending the rights of the criminally accused in the community, and we have represented thousands of individuals accused of drunk driving in Los Angeles and the surrounding areas. Contact our defense team at Seyb Law Group today to schedule your free initial DUI defense consultation.
Affordable Los Angeles DUI Defense Attorney
Facing charges for drunk driving can be scary and confusing, especially if you have little to no experience with the Los Angeles criminal justice system and California’s complicated DUI laws. Any time you have been accused of committing a crime like driving under the influence, it is important to remember that, regardless of the nature or severity of the crime, you still have rights, including the right to legal representation and a fair trial. And when it comes to hiring a DUI defense attorney to represent your case and protect your legal rights, there is no substitute for skill, knowledge and expertise. Our lawyers at Seyb Law Group have more than 60 years of combined criminal defense experience, and we pride ourselves on delivering superior DUI defense representation to our clients in Los Angeles and throughout Southern California. Our main goal is to help you get your DUI charges reduced to a lesser offense or dismissed altogether, and if you hire our DUI defense attorneys at Seyb Law Group, we will use every resource at our disposal to get the best possible outcome in your case.
Driving Under the Influence
Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs is a crime in every state and drunk driving charges in Los Angeles are prosecuted in criminal court. A DUI crime occurs when a person operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08%, which is the legal limit in the state of California. Drivers under the age of 21 and drivers with commercial licenses are held to a higher standard under Los Angeles DUI law and can be arrested for drunk driving with a BAC of 0.01% or higher and 0.04% or higher, respectively. In most Los Angeles drunk driving cases, a driver is stopped by police because he or she is driving erratically or dangerously, and an arrest is made. In other cases, drivers are arrested for drunk driving after being stopped at a Sobriety Checkpoint, set up by police to randomly stop motorists and observe them for signs of intoxication.
California DUI Vehicle Code § 23152 (a) VC & VC § 23152 (b)
The state law that makes drunk driving a crime in Los Angeles is Vehicle Code § 23152 (a) VC, which states that “It is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage to drive a vehicle.” VC § 23152 (a) is the “subjective” standard for drunk driving, and under this law, “under the influence” means the driver’s physical or mental abilities are impaired to the extent that he or she is no longer able to drive as well as a cautious sober person would. There is another state law prohibiting drunk driving in Los Angeles, and that is Vehicle Code § 23152 (b) VC, which states that “It is unlawful for a person who has 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a vehicle.” This law sets forth the “per se” standard of drunk driving, which is defined as driving with a BAC of 0.08% or higher.
Most people arrested for drunk driving in Los Angeles are charged with two separate offenses: driving under the influence of alcohol, under VC § 23152 (a), and driving with a BAC of 0.08% or higher, under VC § 23152 (b). If you were caught driving under the influence of drugs – even legal drugs, like marijuana, prescription drugs or over-the-counter drugs – you could be charged with a separate crime under Vehicle Code 23152 (f) VC, the DUI of drugs law in Los Angeles, and if you were involved in a DUI accident that caused injury to another person, you could face prosecution under Vehicle Code § 23153 (a) VC, the state’s DUI with injury law.
Penalties for a DUI Conviction in Los Angeles
Drunk driving is a fairly common criminal offense in Los Angeles, but that doesn’t make the punishment resulting from a DUI conviction any less severe. If you are convicted of a Los Angeles DUI, the actual penalties you could face depend a great deal on the specific circumstances of the case, namely whether the DUI is a first, second, third or subsequent offense. Typically, first, second and third DUI offenses in Los Angeles are prosecuted as misdemeanor crimes, while fourth and subsequent DUI offenses occurring within a 10-year period, or those involving certain so-called “aggravating” factors, can be charged as felony crimes. A misdemeanor DUI conviction in Los Angeles is punishable by the following potential penalties:
- Up to six months in county jail,
- Up to $1,000 in fines,
- Driver’s license suspension for six to 10 months, and
- Participation in an alcohol education program
- Up to one year in county jail,
- Up to $1,000 in fines,
- Driver’s license suspension for two years (plus a 12-month administrative suspension by the DMV), and
- An 18-month or 30-month alcohol education program
- Up to one year in county jail,
- Up to $1,000 in fines,
- Driver’s license suspension for three years,
- Ignition Interlock Device (IID) installation, and
- A 30-month alcohol education program
For a fourth or subsequent offense within 10 years, a felony DUI conviction in Los Angeles is punishable by the following potential penalties:
- Up to three years in state prison,
- Up to $1,000 in fines,
- Mandatory IID installation for at least one year (or driver’s license suspension for up to four years), and/or
- Designation as a Habitual Traffic Offender (HTO) by the DMV
There are also certain factors that can elevate a Los Angeles DUI offense from a misdemeanor to a felony crime or result in increased criminal penalties. A DUI speeding enhancement, having a BAC of 0.15% or higher, driving under the influence with a child in the car, or being involved in a DUI accident that injures or kills another person, are all aggravating factors that could result in more severe DUI penalties.
DMV Hearing and Criminal Court
If you are arrested for drunk driving in Los Angeles, you will face two separate proceedings: a criminal court case and a DUI hearing with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Unlike a criminal case, which deals with the fact of whether or not you committed the DUI crime, a DMV DUI hearing is an administrative procedure focused solely on determining whether your driver’s license will be suspended as a result of your arrest. You have only 10 days from the date of your DUI arrest to request a DUI hearing with the DMV, and if you fail to do so, your license will automatically be suspended at the end of 30 days. If you win the hearing, you could avoid having your driver’s license suspended, though this result typically has no bearing on the outcome of your criminal case. If you hire a private DUI defense attorney to represent you in court, your attorney will most likely also represent you at the DMV hearing.
Los Angeles DUI Defense
Drunk driving carries serious criminal penalties, not to mention a negative social stigma that can follow you for years to come, and it is easy to feel like your life is over after a Los Angeles DUI arrest. However, the most important thing to remember when facing DUI charges is that an arrest is not the same thing as a conviction. Just because you have been accused of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs does not mean you will be found guilty of any wrongdoing. Proof “beyond a reasonable doubt” is the standard of evidence required for a criminal conviction in Los Angeles, and that means the prosecution bears the burden of proving each element of the DUI crime to the extent that there could be no reasonable doubt in the mind of a reasonable person that you are guilty. In order to convict you of driving under the influence in Los Angeles, the prosecutor must prove the following two facts, known as “elements” of the crime, beyond a reasonable doubt:
- You were driving a motor vehicle; and
- You were under the influence of alcohol (VC § 23152 (a)); or
- You had a BAC of 0.08% or higher (VC § 23152 (b)).
Best Defense Strategies in Los Angeles DUI Cases
If you are convicted of drunk driving, the DUI will remain on your criminal record for 10 years, and a guilty verdict can have other serious repercussions as well, possibly affecting your employment prospects, professional licensing, school applications, your right to possess firearms, and various other aspects of your life, including your reputation and standing in the community. When facing DUI charges in Los Angeles, there is nothing more important than hiring an experienced and aggressive DUI defense attorney who can examine the facts of your case and put together a strong defense. Some common DUI defense strategies your attorney may be able to present on your behalf include the following:
- The arresting officer did not have probable cause to make the initial stop
- There is not enough evidence to support the DUI charge
- The Sobriety Checkpoint or Checkpoint arrest was illegal
- The BAC results from the breath test were inaccurate
- Your Miranda rights were violated
- The signs or symptoms of “intoxication” the officer observed were due to another reason
- The drunk driving arrest was unlawful
- You successfully completed the Field Sobriety Tests
- The Field Sobriety Tests were improperly conducted
- Evidence relating to your breath or blood test was mishandled by police
How Hiring a Los Angeles DUI Defense Lawyer Can Help
The consequences of a DUI conviction can be far-reaching and long-lasting, possibly affecting your life for years to come. That being said, many DUI cases in Los Angeles never go to trial. In fact, in most cases, the prosecutor and defense attorney are able to come to an agreement during plea bargaining negotiations, in which the defendant pleads guilty to a reduced charge and/or a lesser criminal sentence and avoids a conviction altogether. With an experienced Los Angeles DUI defense attorney on your side, you may be able to get your drunk driving charges reduced to a “wet reckless” or “dry reckless” offense, which carries a shorter potential jail sentence, lower fines, no mandatory court-ordered driver’s license suspension, a shorter probation period, a shorter DUI school period, and no mandatory IID installation. Most importantly, a “wet reckless” or “dry reckless” DUI charge reduction means you will not have a DUI on your criminal record.
Contact Our Los Angeles DUI Defense Lawyers Today
If you have been arrested for or charged with drunk driving in Los Angeles or elsewhere in Southern California, there is far too much on the line to trust your case with just any lawyer. You need an experienced criminal defense attorney in your corner who has a clear understanding of Los Angeles DUI law and how it applies to your case, an attorney who is familiar with each defense strategy available to you based on the specific facts of your case, so you can successfully challenge the prosecution’s allegations and beat the DUI charges against you. Our Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys at Seyb Law Group are passionate about protecting the rights of those accused of driving under the influence in Los Angeles and the surrounding areas, and we will do everything in our power to help you mount a strong defense in your drunk driving case. Contact our law firm today for a free evaluation of your Los Angeles DUI case.