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Are Punishments Worse for a DUI During the Holiday Season?

Posted by Ronald D. Hedding | Dec 23, 2021

A DUI in California is primarily defined under Vehicle Code 23152(a) driving under the influence, and Vehicle Code 23152(b) driving with blood alcohol content (BAC) at 0.08% or higher, and Vehicle Code 23152(f) driving under the influence of drugs, including any prescription drugs.

Are Punishments Worse for a DUI During the Holiday Season?

The crime of DUI causing injury is defined under California Vehicle Code 23153 as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and then causing physical harm to somebody.

DUI causing injury is a “wobbler,” which simply means the case can be filed as a misdemeanor or felony crime.

DUIs are running rampant in Los Angeles County because of the vast population and the many bars and restaurants, especially during the Christmas holiday season.

There's a lot of DUIs, so law enforcement is out there. They're looking for people who are drinking and driving.

One thing I see them do -- it's against the law -- they shouldn't be doing, but they do it anyway.  If you're out, especially on the weekend after 10:00 or 11:00 at night, and you're driving around, they're going to pull people over.  Our Los Angeles DUI lawyers will review more closely below.

Police Justification for a Traffic Stop

They don't care if you commit any traffic offense or do anything wrong justifying a pullover.  They just pull people over, and then they make something up. 

The best make-up is that you were swerving, because how does somebody refute the fact that they weren't swerving, and it's a lie unless we can get the dashcam video if they have it on their car. 

Not all police vehicles have MVARS, which are those dashcam videos.  Most CHP vehicles have them, but most LAPD's do not.

LAPD has the bodycam video, but they often don't turn that on until they come in contact with you, and it's not valid until they get out of the car and they're near you, and then you can see and hear things.

More Severe DUI Penalties During the Christmas Holidays

The bottom line is this.  If you're getting a DUI during the holidays, absolutely, in my opinion, the punishment is worse. 

Not only that, they're going to put a bunch of restrictions on you, especially if it's close to the holidays because they know people drink and drive, and other people get killed because of it.

So, I see them often if they arrest somebody, especially with a high blood alcohol level, put restrictions on that person indicating that they've got to do a certain amount of AA meetings per week if they want to remain out on their own recognizance. 

Posting Bail in a DUI Case

Of course, the flip side of that is, if you had to post bail in your case, the judges can't do that.  Judges are saying you got a DUI.

Posting Bail in a Los Angeles DUI Case

Your blood alcohol level was high.  You're dangerous to the public.  So, if you want to be out on your own recognizance and not have to post bail, I'm going to put restrictions on you. 

If it's bad enough -- if you've got multiple DUIs or you hurt somebody, I've seen them put a scram device on a person and order them not to drink any alcohol while their case is pending.

And, if they do, they're going to take them into custody and put a no bail on them, and then they put that scram device on which registers whether or not you drink any alcohol. 

That way, they have some sort of assurance to block these individuals who just keep drinking and killing other individuals.

The bottom line is this.  If you got a DUI during the holidays, you're probably going to end up with a court date far away because the courts are inundated with cases that are leftover from the pandemic. 

So, many times, they'll set your case in March, April, February -- depending on which courthouse your particular case is, but still, be prepared for them to be very harsh when it comes to DUIs.

Why You Need a DUI Lawyer

That's why, in my opinion, it's crucial to get an attorney like me who's been doing it for almost 30 years, who's in the courts all the time.

Who deals with the judges and prosecutors and who can separate you from those other people who are getting arrested for DUIs and be able to make an argument that you don't fit within that dangerous category, such as:

  • Maybe your blood alcohol level wasn't that high;
  • You don't have any prior DUIs;
  • Nobody gets hurt; and
  • You weren't going over 100 miles an hour like we see a lot of people doing.

In other words, we want to show them your story -- the other side of the equation so we can convince the judge and prosecutor that you're not one of those DUIs that needs severe punishment. 

When you talk about severe punishment during the holidays, you're talking about jail time, prison time if anybody gets hurt.  If you kill somebody, they can charge you with murder. 

They'll imply the malice that everybody should know it's dangerous to drink and drive and that you could kill somebody if you drink and drive.

You have to make your decisions before you go out and have drinks -- not during the course and scope of drinking and then try to make moves because those are the type of moods that end up in disaster sometimes. 

So, if you or a loved one is in big trouble because you got a DUI during the holidays, you need help, you need the best, you've come to the right place.  I've been doing this a long time.  I've seen all aspects of DUI cases.  I've worked for the prosecution agency, worked for a judge, and then been the guiding force behind the Hedding Law Firm since 1994.

Pick up the phone.  Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding.  I stand at the ready to help you.

About the Author

Ronald D. Hedding

What Makes Ronald Hedding Uniquely Qualified To Represent You? I've been practicing criminal defense for almost 30 years and have handled thousands of cases, including all types of state and federal sex crime cases. All consultations are discreet and confidential.

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