DUI Information

What to Expect if you have been arrested for Drunk Driving in Los Angeles

The Arraignment

At the time of your DUI arrest, the arresting officer may release you on your own recognizance, requiring you to reappear before the court to answer to the charges. In the alternative, you may be put in jail and may be required to post bail in order to be released.

Los Angeles DUI Checkpoints

Following your drunk driving arrest, your arraignment is the first stage of your California DUI criminal proceedings. At your arraignment, the court will advise you of the charges filed against you and you will have the opportunity to enter a plea of “not guilty,” “no contest” or “guilty.”

Many people may enter a “guilty” or “no contest” plea at their arraignment in an effort to please the judge. If you wish to challenge the DUI charges, you should plead “not guilty.” If you plead “guilty” or “no contest,” you are forfeiting your right to contest the charges and your right to trial. If you plead “guilty” or “no contest,” you will be sentenced your case will be closed.

If you are unsure how to plead, it is important that you seek the advice of an attorney to help you understand your rights. If you cannot afford an attorney, you may qualify to have the court appoint an attorney at no cost to you. You may also choose to hire a private California DUI lawyer, such as the seasoned Los Angeles drunk driving lawyers with our office.

The Pretrial Process

If you plead “not guilty,” your trial will be scheduled for a future date and you or your California DUI lawyer will be entitled to review all of the prosecution’s evidence before you go to trial. Such evidence might include lab reports, police reports, statements from witnesses, maintenance records of the chemical testing instruments used to test your alcohol level and other materials relating to the case. This evidence can be obtained through the discovery process and is essential to establishing a successful defense strategy.

During the Pretrial Process, our California DUI attorneys will carefully investigate the evidence and facts of your case to identify possible defenses, such as illegal arrests, problematic police investigations, faulty blood or breath testing instruments or inaccurate test results. We will use this evidence to establish a comprehensive DUI defense strategy on your behalf and seek settlement and even dismissal of the drunk driving charges against you.

The DMV Hearing/ License Suspension

In addition to the criminal proceedings, you will also face the administrative aspect of a DUI charge. At the time of your Drunk Driving arrest, the officer most likely took possession of your California driver’s license pursuant to California’s Administrative Suspension Law. The officer would have also provided you with a Notice of Suspension and a Temporary 30-Day License. This Temporary 30-Day License enables you to drive for 30 days and your suspension takes affect upon expiration of the 30 days. You are entitled to challenge this administrative suspension by requesting a DMV Hearing, but you must request a hearing within 10 days of your arrest.

It is critical that you hire an experienced attorney to handle your DMV hearing, as the hearings can be complex proceedings involve very technical rules of evidence. Our experienced Los Angeles DUI Attorneys will work aggressively to help you avoid loss of your driver’s license. However, it is critical that you contact our attorneys early on and that you or your DUI lawyer contact the DMV promptly to request a hearing.

DUI and Your Record

We are commonly asked how long a DUI will stay on an individual’s record. A DUI is a priorable for 10 years, which means that if you are convicted of another DUI within 10 years, it will punished as DUI with a prior conviction.

However, even if a DUI in Los Angeles County is priorable for only 10 years, it could stay on your record for life unless you see expungement. If you have a DUI on your record, you may seek expungement after one year or once your DUI court probation has expired. If the judge grants your DUI expungement, you will withdraw your “guilty” or “no contest,” pleas and the court will re-enters a “not guilty” plea and the case will be dismissed.

Contact an Experienced Los Angeles DUI Attorney

Our California DUI attorneys are known for combining personalized service with our in-depth knowledge and aggressive legal tactics. Our California DUI lawyers understand that the DUI process can be intimidating and are committed to making the process as smooth as possible for you and your family. We will work to ensure that you understand your rights and will guide you through the DUI process, including your arraignment, DMV Hearing and trial. We can also help you seek expungement of prior DUIs from your record.

If you have been charged with a DUI, you may have a lot of questions. To get more information about the DUI process and how we can help, please contact our Los Angeles DUI attorneys at (213) 799-1250. We offer Free Consultations.

DUI Penalties/Sentencing

1st DUI offense

  • 6 month license suspension
  • 0 – 6 months in county jail
  • Alcohol classes for 3 – 9 months
  • Fines of $390 – $1000

2nd DUI offense within 10 years

  • 2 year license suspension
  • 96 hours – 1 year in county jail
  • Alcohol classes for 18 months
  • Fines of $390 – $1000

3rd DUI offense within 10 years:

  • 3 year license suspension
  • 4 months – 1 year in county jail
  • Alcohol classes for 18 months
  • Fines of $390 – $1000

4th DUI offense within 10 years

  • 4 year license suspension
  • 6 months to 3 years in county jail or state prison
  • Alcohol classes for 18 months

Updates to California Vehicle Code:

Changes to VC 23152 and 23152 that became effective January 1.

DUI drugs is now subdivision (f).  DUI alcohol and drugs combined is subdivision (g).  The new subdivision (e), which does not become effective until 1/1/18, makes the legal limit .04 if a driver is transporting a “passenger for hire.”  Below is the full text:

(e) Commencing July 1, 2018, it shall be unlawful for a person who has 0.04 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a motor vehicle when a passenger for hire is a passenger in the vehicle at the time of the offense. For purposes of this subdivision, “passenger for hire” means a passenger for whom consideration is contributed or expected as a condition of carriage in the vehicle, whether directly or indirectly flowing to the owner, operator, agent, or any other person having an interest in the vehicle. In a prosecution under this subdivision, it is a rebuttable presumption that the person had 0.04 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood at the time of driving the vehicle if the person had 0.04 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood at the time of the performance of a chemical test within three hours after the driving.

(f) It is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any drug to drive a vehicle.

(g) It is unlawful for a person who is under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug to drive a vehicle.

By Ted Burgess