What Determines if You Get Jail Time on a DUI in Los Angeles?

This is a huge question on a lot of people’s mind.  Once you get arrested, they take you into the local jail where your case occurred and they hold you there for a period of time.

One of the biggest things that my clients tell me when they come in to meet with me about their DUI matter is, I never want to go back to jail again.  And you don’t blame them.  Who wants to go?  What are the penalties? Your freedom is taken away.  There’s some bad people in there sometimes.

First-Time DUI

So, one of the biggest things I try to do is keep you out of jail and I figure out ways to do that and there’s a lot of different angles to do it.  First and foremost, one of the most important things to know is that if it’s a first-time DUI and nobody was injured then that puts you in a real good position right from the beginning to avoid any jail time.

There are some counties like Santa Barbara and Ventura and even Orange county that try to put people in jail even on first offenses.

Level of Danger on the Road

But in Los Angeles county they’re pretty reasonable about that and they will give you the benefit of the doubt as long as you didn’t hurt anybody.  But when they’re really deciding when to put somebody in jail, the prosecutors are looking at how dangerous that particular person was out on the road.

In other words, what were they doing?  How fast were they going?  Did they hurt somebody?  Were they out of control?  How high was their blood alcohol level?

These are all big factors in determining whether you go to jail because the prosecutors and judges know that the ultimate punishment that they always have in a DUI case is jail or prison time.  So, they’re going to say that for the people that they think need the deterrent, that need to go to jail for a period of time.

Multiple DUI’s

Sometimes people are alcoholics and they won’t stop drinking and driving and they get multiple DUI’s and the prosecutors and judges basically just say, those are the people that we’re going to give jail time to .

Those are the people that we’re going to send to prison because those people don’t learn.  The most effective tool we have to stop them is to throw them in custody because number one, it takes them off the street, dries them out and number two, it shows them what could happen to them if they continue to drink and drive.

They don’t care about your job.  They don’t care about your family.  They don’t care about your responsibilities.

They do care about the fact that it scares the heck out of you to go to jail.  That’s why they do it.  That’s why they use jail as a deterrent in a DUI case.  So, if you’re scared that you might go to jail whether it’s a first, second, third or fourth time DUI whether you were involved in an accident, whether somebody was hurt, you’re going to need a DUI defense attorney like me who is local to these LA courts.

When I say local, I mean practice there.  Knows the judges, knows the prosecutors, knows the procedures, knows how the court system works, knows what it takes to get you the result you must have.

Developing a DUI Defense Strategy

I have you come in and we go over everything.  I ask you to be honest and straightforward and give me all the information and then I will tell you what exactly you can do to help yourself, what you can do to help me help you and what I’m going to do moving forward to put you in the best possible position to either get the not guilty verdict that you need, get the case wiped out by way of a motion or if those two things are not reasonably possible, I’m going to be honest with you and tell you that and we’re going to take another route.

We’re going to take a route of trying to negotiate this case for you and get you the result that way.

So, pick up the phone now.  Let my twenty-five years of experience work for you.  Don’t let these people trick you on the internet to have money to advertise but don’t have the experience, the knowledge, the know-how, the local connections to get you the result you must have.

Hedding Law Firm
16000 Ventura Blvd #1208
Encino, CA 91436

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If I Wasn’t Drunk Can I Still Be Convicted Of A DUI In Los Angeles?

This is a misconception that a lot of people have when it comes to DUI’s in Los Angeles.  That is, they think if they weren’t drunk — like stumbling around drunk — then they’re not a DUI.  But that’s not really the test.  The test is whether you can safely operate a motor vehicle, and obviously, it takes hand/eye coordination to operate motor vehicle and you could be an unsafe driver and not be drunk.

What’s the definition of drunk.  That’s not an easy definition to come up with and a lot of people think they might not be drunk when they’ve had a significant amount of alcohol, yet they can’t safely operate a motor vehicle.

Were You Safe to Operate a Motor Vehicle?

So, the test that the California Department of Motor Vehicles and the authorities have come up with relating to checking to see whether or not you’re safe to operate a motor vehicle, are numerous.  First, they’re going to look at your driving.  If you’re driving around recklessly and nearly running over pedestrians, then you’re not safe to operate a motor vehicle.  So, that’s test number one – how’s your driving?

Can You Pass Field Sobriety Tests?

Test number two is, when they come in contact with you, do you smell like alcohol?  Are you slurring your speech?  Are your eyes bloodshot and watery?  When you get out of the car do you have an unsteady walk?  Are you staggering?  Can you walk in a straight line?  Can you pass their test?  Can you answer their questions about where you’ve been — whether you’ve been drinking, how much you’ve been drinking?

Can you answer their questions about where you’re going?  Then they’ve got you doing other field sobriety tests that you might not be able to do sober — counting the alphabet backwards — all sorts of different things to try and see where your mind is at and whether you can safely operate a motor vehicle.

The field sobriety tests are supposed to be designed to determine whether or not you can safely operate a motor vehicle.  So, the answer to whether or not you’re going to get out the DMV and criminal case because you weren’t drunk is, you don’t have to be drunk to get a DUI.

You don’t have to be drunk to lose your driver’s license; you just have to be a .08 or greater.  You don’t have to be drunk to receive a criminal conviction for a DUI in Los Angeles.

How The DMV Will Attempt To Prove You Were DUI

There’s three ways they can try to get you.  Number one is that you refuse to take the test.  Then, you just make it easy for them.  The second way is if you have a .08 then it’s presumed that you’re a DUI, and the final way is that you have any alcohol in your system and they believe they can prove that you can’t safely operate a motor vehicle.

We’ve already talked about the tests and observations that they utilize in trying to prove that.  So, this whole concept of “drunk” really doesn’t have anything to do with it.

Those people who are drunk and are driving, they’re probably blowing a .20 or greater, are looking at jail time.  If they get in an accident and kill somebody, they’re looking at a second-degree murder charge.

If they seriously hurt somebody, they’re looking at a great bodily injury allegation.  So, the drunk people are the ones that are probably causing the biggest problems as far as public safety, because they usually get in accidents.

You Don’t Have To Be Drunk To Get Charged With DUI

So, you don’t have to be drunk to get a DUI.  Your blood alcohol level just has to be a .08 or greater.  If you’ve got a case and you’re concerned about it — and you should be — get an attorney.  I have you come in.  We sit down.  We go over everything.

I’ll eventually get the police report and we’ll go over that as well, and then we’ll get our strategy together with the goal in mind of trying to get you the best result possible.  If we can win the case, we’re going to put pieces of the puzzle in place to do that.

If we can’t win the case because the prosecutors have the evidence, they need to prove the case, then we’re going to do damage control and try to get this matter resolved in the best way possible.

Hedding Law Firm
Los Angeles DUI Lawyers
633 West Fifth Street Los Angeles, CA 90071

Related Resources:
0.08 BAC Limit and Administrative License Suspension Laws

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