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

When Can a DUI Case be Elevated To a Second Degree Murder Charge?

This is something that happens a lot in Los Angeles county and throughout the country quite frankly.  A lot of prosecutors are filing DUI cases where deaths result as murder cases.

In fact, every single DUI person that goes through LA county that has to plead guilty to a DUI and fill out the waiver form and talk to the judge about it, are going to be told on the waiver form and specifically told on the record by the judge, that drinking and driving is very dangerous to human life and if you drink and drive and get caught for a DUI and somebody dies, you could be charged with murder by the prosecutors.  See related: People v. Watson.

Warned of Danger of Drunk Driving

That’s one of the first ways they can get you for a murder charge as it relates to a DUI — is if you have knowledge of it.

In other words, if you have notice that drinking and driving can kill somebody and you go out and decide to do it anyways, then that’s where you put yourself in a position to potentially be charged with murder.

That’s one thing that people don’t really get.  Because a lot of times people are getting so drunk they don’t even know what they’re doing, so they didn’t intentionally kill anybody, so they can’t figure out how they could possibly be charged with murder when they weren’t even cognizant of what was going on.

That’s where the problem comes in, because they’re not going to look at how your mind was operating at the time that you killed somebody in the car when you were drunk.

They’re going to look at what you knew beforehand.  In other words, they’re going to hold you responsible.  They’re going to say, if you knew you were going out drinking and you knew it was dangerous to drink and drive and you did it anyways and you killed somebody, we’re going to hold you accountable for it.

Prior DUI Convictions

You can’t just say, I was too drunk, I don’t’ remember, so I shouldn’t be responsible for it.  As liberal as California is, it certainly is not liberal when it comes to DUI’s.  It’s very conservative and very, very harsh.  In fact, I think one of the harshest states in the nation.  It used to be that you actually had to be told specifically, if you drink and drive and kill somebody, we’re going to charge you with murder.

So, they were getting people for murder cases related to DUI’s in LA county when they had prior DUI’s because they were told on the record.  They were told in DUI classes.  You can’t drink and drive.  You’re going to kill somebody.  So, then they would use that to get that knowledge factor that I’m talking about.

DUI Murder Charges

But now, things have changed.  They don’t care about that anymore.  They’ll certain use it if they have the information to try and convict you for the DUI murder, but even if they don’t that, even you have a completely clean record and you end up getting a DUI and you kill somebody, you know what the prosecutor is going to argue?

Everybody knows that it’s dangerous to drink and drive.  Everybody knows that you could kill somebody if you drink and drive.  So, they don’t care whether you have a prior record.  They don’t care that you were warned before.

The first thing they do now in this cases where they can prove that someone’s blood alcohol level was a .08 or greater, they drove a car and they killed somebody and the accident was their fault, the first thing they do now is they charge you with second degree murder.  Your bail is usually very high — a half a million to a million dollars.

You’re usually looking at fifteen to life in prison, and then they negotiate from there.  Sometimes they’re willing to give you something less than that second degree murder charge and sometimes they’re not.  And that’s the position of strength that the LA county prosecutor’s office has decided to come from when it comes to these DUI’s where people are getting killed.

You Need An Experienced DUI Lawyer

I’ve handled a lot of these cases.  I’ve been doing these cases for over twenty-five years now in LA county.  I’ve handled them in every court in the county, so I know how to deal with them.

I know what it takes to get the not guilty verdict if the evidence is there to try to get that.  I know what it takes to show that you were not the cause of the death and I know what it takes to mitigates these murder charges down to DUI charges so you’re in a better position to avoid that very harsh fifteen to life sentence that comes along with a DUI where somebody died and the prosecutors decide to charge you with second degree murder.

So, pick up the phone now.  Make the call.  We’ll sit down and we’ll start to get the plan together to get you or your loved one out of his nightmare situation.

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

Can Police Force a Blood Draw in a Los Angeles DUI Case?

Believe it or not, under the right circumstances, the police are permitted to do a forced blood draw when it comes to a DUI case.  Usually where I see them being permitted to do it is when you’ve been involved in some sort of an accident.  Somehow, that greenlights them to be able to force blood.  Then the next question becomes, if they force my blood and they have the blood result, can they get me for a refusal because they have the blood result?

Refusing DUI Blood or Breath Tests

The reality is, if the police ask you to take your blood or breath related to a DUI investigation you have to cooperate with them.  If you don’t cooperate with them and you say no, and then they’re forced to take your blood, technically that’s a refusal and that’s bad, because you then get a refusal on your record, you lose your license for a year with no restriction.  Interestingly enough, I’ve seen these forced blood draw cases somehow insure to the benefit of a defendant in a DUI case in Los Angele because a lot of times the prosecutors do not file it as a refusal, and you can try to argue with the DMV as well that it’s not a refusal because they actually have the result.

Sometimes they’re claiming the person refused and the person really didn’t refuse.  That’s another issue that has to be dealt with.  But the answer to the lead tag question here as to whether they can force your blood in a DUI case is, absolutely yes.  I just don’t see them doing it and I don’t think they have justification to do it in every single DUI case.  See Related: What Happens If You Refuse To Take A Drug Test?

I think it’s typically going to be one where there’s an accident, maybe people were hurt — and then the police, by law, are justified in forcing your blood.

Providing a Breath Sample

But they can typically only do that if you don’t cooperate with them.  In other words, if you cooperate with them and are willing to give a breath sample, that’s just as good as a blood sample.  That would satisfy the law.  That would satisfy your requirements to cooperate with the police related to your DUI, so I think it would be impermissible in that circumstance to force your blood when you’re willing to give them a breath test.

All of these circumstances spin on the facts of your case.  What I have you do is come in the office.  We go over everything under the cloak of the attorney/client privilege and then we’ll start talking about the plan moving forward.

Reviewing Your DUI Case

What are we going to do on this forced blood draw case?  Do we have a defense?  Was the blood tainted in any way?  Can we hire an expert that might be able to help us in the case or is this one we’re going to have to negotiate and resolve for the best possible resolution?  These are all things we talk about.

Obviously, I’m going to put my twenty-five years of experience to work for you so you make the best decision if the police have forced your blood.

Obviously, the next issue we’re looking at is, if they forced your blood, is your blood alcohol level a .08 or greater, because if it’s not and it’s lower, then you’ve got a good argument that you shouldn’t be a DUI case.

So, this 23152(b) Vehicle Code Section really has to do if they force your blood and you’re over a .08 or greater, then they can charge you with a DUI because it’s presumed that you can’t safely operate a motor vehicle.

If, on the other hand in LA, they force your blood and get a result, and it’s under a .08, then the only Section they’re really going to be able to go under is 23152(a) which says you’re driving a motor vehicle and you have alcohol in your system and you can’t safely operate that motor vehicle, and that’s when they’re going to start looking at other factors besides what your blood alcohol level was — how you were driving, whether you got into an accident, how you performed on the subjective field sobriety tests and a whole host of other factors like your breath, your eyes — all sorts of things they can look at when they’re trying to determine whether you’re a DUI related to a forced blood draw in Los Angeles County.

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

Who Prosecutes DUI Cases in the San Fernando Courthouse?

When it comes to defending a DUI in the San Fernando Courthouse, the typical prosecutors who are handling these cases is the City Attorney’s office.  They handle the bulk of the cases there.

They have an office on the fourth floor in the San Fernando Courthouse and they staff all of the misdemeanor DUI courts.  There is an exception to that though.  The District Attorney’s office handles all of the felony DUI matters.

The dividing line is a felony versus a misdemeanor in San Fernando.  However, some of the courthouses only have District Attorneys, so they’ll have to handle all of the DUI matters in those particular courthouses.

Los Angeles City Attorney Handles Misdemeanor DUI Cases

If you have a DUI matter in the San Fernando Courthouse, you can bet that typically the City Attorney is going to handle it, unless also another exception to this rule that the City Attorney handles DUI cases is when a crime occurs in the City of San Fernando, which is a very small area that makes up part of the San Fernando jurisdiction, then the District Attorneys will handle that particular case.

It is some sort of a contract issue with the city and this is why the DA’s office is handling a DUI or even other cases that occur in the City of San Fernando. See related: California Vehicle Code 23152.

Your best strategy if you have a DUI case, you should be looking at who is going to be handling it, but you should also, obviously look at what type of potential results you’re looking at from your DUI.

A lot of people who get DUI’s and have to go in the San Fernando Court have a spotless record and even those people who don’t have spotless records obviously want to end up with the best result.

Local DUI Lawyer Who Is Knows The San Fernando Court

You want an attorney who is local to the Court when you have a DUI case there, and what I mean by that is someone who appears there a lot.  My office is relatively close to the San Fernando Courthouse, but I’m there all the time.  That’s just an area that I’m known for practicing in.  I do a lot of DUI cases there.  I do a lot of other cases there as well.

So, if you have a DUI matter and you got a ticket — a yellow or blue ticket — and you have a court date pending the San Fernando Courthouse, then obviously you’re going to want to get someone like me to represent you.

Typically, what we do is go in and speak to the City Attorney on your behalf.  On the first court appearance we don’t make you go in.

We pick up whatever paperwork there is related to the case — the police report and any other items related to your DUI matter.  We review it and then I will talk to the City Attorney about it and talk to them about you.

Developing An Effective Defense Strategy

Obviously, I’m going to be looking at the factors that they’re going to look at — how high was the blood alcohol level?  Do you have a prior criminal record?  How dangerous were you when you were driving?  Were you speeding?  Did you get in an accident or did they just pull you over for some reason like swerving, not having your lights on or some other traffic-related violation.

That’s one of the big things the judges and prosecutors look at in DUI cases in San Fernando, and that’s how dangerous you were out on the road.

Because their tasked with protecting the public and if they’ve got somebody who is dangerous and intoxicated, they’re obviously going to want to punish that person and create a deterrent for them to get another DUI case.

So, pick up the phone now.  Contact our law firm and we can talk about your San Fernando DUI case and I can see what I can do to help you.

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

Related Resources:
California DUI: What are the Penalties?

What Other Charges Are Possible Besides a DUI in Los Angeles?

When you’re arrested for a DUI in Los Angeles, obviously it’s scary and terrifying because your freedom is taken away from you for a period of time.  You’re taken to jail.  Your license is typically taken away and obviously, you’re fearful that you could be facing jail time, probation and a mark on your record that is very difficult to get off.

California Vehicle Code 23152 – Offenses Involving Alcohol and Drugs

So, one thing to consider is what type of charges are you going to be facing?  I mean, in a typical DUI situation, the police book you for certain charges and they give it to the prosecutors — who are the lawyers who actually decide what charges will be filed.  On a first-time DUI for example, they’re usually going to file a Vehicle Code Section 23152(a) and (b). There are two charges.

One says that you had alcohol in your system and you couldn’t safely operate a motor vehicle.  That’s what the field sobriety tests are supposed to determine — whether you can safely operate a motor vehicle — depending on whether you pass or fail them.

The other charge is California Vehicle Code 23152(b) which says if you have a .08 or greater, it’s presumed that you can’t safely operate a motor vehicle.  As you notice, everything has to do with safety and your danger level out on the road and protecting the community at large from people who drink alcohol and drive in a dangerous manner.

Type of Criminal Charges Will Depend On Various Factors

So, those are the charges you’re going to be charged with.  As far as what you’re facing, it really depends on a bunch of different factors:  how high your blood alcohol level is; how your driving was; how you performed on the field sobriety test; what your criminal record looks like; what your driving record looks like.

So, other potential charges, which is kind of the subject of this article are, at the low end, you could get an infraction — some sort of a moving violation.

Because the police have to pull you over for something.  They usually claim you’re weaving or swerving on the road — some sort of a California Vehicle Code violation — running a stop sign.  A lot of people driving with no lights on.  All kinds of different things.  So, they could just give you a traffic ticket.  That would be great if you had been booked for a DUI and that’s all you end up with.

To get something like that, you’re going to have to have a really low blood alcohol level and the prosecutors are going to have to perceive that they’ve got a problem with their case and they might lose the whole thing.  So, that’s where I see them just trying to get something — not necessarily to safe face, but to show that they did something about it even though the blood alcohol level is not that high.

Non-Alcohol Related Speed Contest VC 23109

Going up from there, realistically in Los Angeles County, you’re probably looking at a speed contest which is basically screeching your wheels out of a parking lot.  That could be a California Vehicle Code 23109(a) speed contest and that’s not a DUI.  It’s not alcohol-related.  It’s a misdemeanor.  It carries a couple of points on your record, but the punishment for that is a lot less than for a DUI.

So, in DUI-land in Los Angeles, that’s a pretty good resolution if your attorney can get it.  Usually, you’re going to have to be in the .08 range to get something like that where the attorney can just make the argument that the breath machine used to test my client has an error rate of .02.  Your own experts can say that, so you might as well just give him a speed contest.  You could lose the case in a trial.

Reckless Driving – California Vehicle Code 23103

Moving up from there, I would say a reckless driving — and there’s a dry reckless which has nothing to do with alcohol.  You’re just driving around the road recklessly.  That would be a good result in a DUI, but another difficult one to get.  The prosecutors really don’t like to give that again, unless your blood alcohol level is so low that they might lose the case, or again, they have some glaring factual problem to be able to prove the DUI against you.

Wet Reckless

The wet reckless is the next level up.  That says that you’re driving recklessly and you do have alcohol in your system.  That’s not a full-fledged DUI.  In my opinion, that’s better than a DUI conviction, but it’s still priorable.  It could still be used against you if you were to pick up another DUI in the future.  And then of course, there’s a regular DUI which are those coded sections mentioned above.

There’s higher-level DUI’s in my opinion where you get a refusal allegation or where your blood alcohol level is higher than a .15.  That would make the DUI more serious and bring potentially harsher penalties.  Of course, you have a felony DUI with the mandatory minimum 90-day jail term if you get hit with that and there’s also multiple DUI’s — your second, third or fourth-time DUI — all of which carry more serious penalties than a first-time DUI.

DUI With Great Bodily Injury

There’s also DUI with great bodily injury.  If somebody gets hurt very badly during the DUI process, then that could be a three-year enhancement tacked onto the back of whatever you get for the DUI.  So, there’s a whole host of different things that can happen in a DUI.

That’s why when people tell me, I’ll just go in there and represent myself, it’s just a DUI.  There’s not much I can do about it.  Well, sometimes you can do something about it; sometimes you can’t.  But with all those potential resolutions out there — and we haven’t even talked about punishment yet — you’re going to need to get an attorney who knows what they’re doing who is local to the court where your case is pending and who knows how to get the best result for you and do damage control when it comes to a DUI in Los Angeles.

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

Related Resources:
California Vehicle Code 23109(a)  – Speed Contest 
California Vehicle Code 23153 – DUI Causing Injury

How Do You Win Your DUI In Los Angeles?

Winning a DUI typically would mean that you are found completely not guilty of the charge or that your attorney convinces the prosecutor either to not file the case or to dismiss a case that’s already been filed.  As you might guess, this is not an easy thing to accomplish, but it has been done and will continue to be done time and time again.  What it typically boils down to is some sort of an angle to upend the prosecutor’s case.  In other words, when it comes to a DUI in Los Angeles, the prosecutors — who are typically the Los Angeles City Attorneys, but sometimes the District Attorneys — need to prove certain things in order to obtain a conviction for a DUI.

Proving The Elements Of The DUI Crime

Once a DUI defense attorney sees that the prosecutors are going to be able to prove the elements they need to prove for the DUI, at that point, they’re going to try to negotiate with them and get the best possible resolution for their client, and then they’ll talk to their client about it and decide how to best handle the case.

If on the other hand, there appears to be a problem with their ability to prove the case, then the defense attorney will obviously attempt to use that to get a dismissal or some lesser charge, depending on the circumstances.  Sometimes it looks like there might be a problem, but it’s not 100% clear that there is a problem.  For example, sometimes they stop people and give a certain reason, and then the client says that’s not true.  So, now the question becomes, if they’re just pulling somebody over for no reason — like let’s say for example — they’re waiting outside a club or a bar at 2:00 a.m. when they close, they’re just getting people when they come out of the bar.  They’re allowed to wait outside the bar.  They’re just not allowed to pull people over just because they came out of the bar.  They’re going to have to have some reason that criminal activity is afoot.

Was The DUI Traffic Stop Unlawful?

If the person is staggering drunk out of the bar and they get in a car and drive away, that obviously would be a good reason to pull them over to protect the public and safety.  So, in that scenario where they’re pulling somebody over illegally, but we have to prove that, we’re going to try to get some things to prove it.  For example, if the vehicle that the police are driving is equipped with video, the video may capture what the client is saying which is that they didn’t do anything wrong.  All they did was come out of a bar and get pulled over.  So, we’ll try to get that video to prove the defense’s case.  Unfortunately, the police know that a lot of times the defense will try to get video, so they don’t turn those videos on until their car or motorcycle is in a position where they cannot capture the illegal pull over.  In other words, if they’re just turning it on after the car has been pulled over, then obviously, we’re not going to be able to capture the driving immediately before the pull over.  Like when they claim that you didn’t change lanes or you were weaving or swerving, we would love to see that video to see if it’s true, because if it’s not true we can point out that they didn’t pull this person over because they were weaving.  Look at their car.  It’s driving fine in the middle of the lane.

Were You Driving The Vehicle When Observed By Police?

So, that’s one area where you can win a case — which is if they illegally stop you or pull you over.  Another area that I see come up a lot in DUI cases in Los Angeles that’s a way to win the DUI case is, the person wasn’t driving when the police came upon them.  That happens all the time.  Somebody’s car breaks down on the freeway.  They get into some sort of an accident and when the police come along the person’s outside their car, so then there’s two issues there that can win the case.  Issue number one is, can they prove that you were even driving?  Of course, again, they know this is a potential problem for them, so they’re going to start asking you, or your passenger if you have one or other witnesses in the area, who was driving that car?  Also, they’re going to ask you point blank if you drove that car and if you say yeah, I drove the car, then they’ve got that box checked as far as not being able to lose the case.

When Were You Driving The Car?

The next question is going to be as far as driving goes in DUI’s in Los Angeles and trying to get a win from that angle is, when were you driving the car?  That’s important because at some point — unless you refuse to take the test which makes it a lot easier for them — they’re going to get your blood or breath and have a reading which is likely going to be a .08 or greater.  Then the question becomes, if you were a .08 or greater at one time, what were you at the time of driving.  So, their expert is going to have to try to extrapolate backwards to say, if they were a .09 at this time, then they would have been a .08 at this time and they’re going to have to explain their reasoning.  But if they don’t have that piece of the formula to say when you were driving, then that’s another angle to win your DUI case.

Proving You Could Not Safely Operate a Motor Vehicle

I would say the final angle — and listen, we could come up with all kinds of different scenarios — but just the final general angle when it comes to winning a DUI case is, the key thing that the prosecutors have to prove is that you could not safely operate a motor vehicle.  So, if you can show that you could safely operate a motor vehicle at the time of driving, then you can win your DUI case.

So, how do they prove that you couldn’t safely operate a motor vehicle?  They’re going to prove it by the police’s observations, but the field sobriety tests and by how you were driving and also what your blood alcohol level was.  So, if your blood alcohol level was a .08, it’s presumed that you could not safely operate a motor vehicle, so you have to try to rebut that presumption.  A perfect example was, you blew a .08, you get arrested for a DUI, and then at the trial you call an expert that says that the machine they used to test your breath has a .02 error rate so there’s a chance you could have been a .06 which would be below the legal limit.

But they also have California Vehicle Code Section 23152(a) which says you had alcohol in your system and you couldn’t safely operate a motor vehicle, so the prosecutors can try to rely on that to get you for the DUI.  Under that circumstance, they’re going to be looking at how you were driving, were you swerving, did you get in an accident.  They’re also going to be looking at how you did on those field sobriety tests.  Did you fail them?  How were you walking when you got out of your car?  Did they observe erratic, crazy, unsafe driving?  These are going to be the issues that are considered when it comes to determining whether you could safely operate a motor vehicle and whether you can win your DUI in LA.

Contact Our Los Angeles DUI Lawyers

If you want more information about your specific case — your specific DUI in Los Angeles — call my office.  Set up a free face to face consultation with me and I will put my twenty-five years of experience to work for you.

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

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

How Do You Win Your DMV Hearing In Los Angeles Related To A DUI?

The real short answer to winning a DMV hearing is to have an angle and that angle has to be sufficient to upend the DMV’s case against you so they just set it aside because they don’t feel that they can prove that you were driving under the influence of alcohol.  There’s a whole bunch of different ways to do that and they’re fact specific.

If somebody is not driving when the police get their hands on them and now the police are attempting to figure out if they were driving and when they were driving, that’s always been an angle against the DMV, to say, wait a minute.

If my client has to be driving the vehicle in order to get a DUI, of course, if you’re the only one in the middle of the freeway outside your vehicle, the police are going to surmise that you’re the one that must have driven it and they’re also going to ask you, did you drive this car?  When did you drive?  So, that’s the way the DMV will try to get out of it.  They’ll say the police have evidence that your client was driving it ten minutes earlier.

DUI Blood and Breath Tests

So, driving is definitely one of the angles — and not only driving, but you get your blood or breath taken and let’s assume for purposes of trying to figure this out that you’re over a .08 — the next question is, if I was a .08 at 10pm, what was I when I was driving?  And when was I driving?

So, that’s always another angle.  Anytime somebody is not driving their car at the time, that’s not an automatic win because the police know that’s a problem and they’re going to try to fill in the gaps for the DMV and for the court as well.  But, that’s always an angle to try to win your DMV case.

Unlawful Police Stop?

Another angle is, you have to look at what the DMV is trying to prove here and then if you could attack those things, then you’ll be in a position to try to win the case.  So, the three things the DMV always says they’re trying to prove is:  (1) was the defendant legally stopped?  Or you have to add extra onto it, because a lot of times they’re not stopped by the police.

An accident happens where everyone is outside of their vehicle talking and the police come up — that’s not a stop.  So, it goes a little bit deeper than that.  Was the person illegally stopped or did the police legally come in contact with them.  Those are the two things you’re going to look at when you’re assessing this issue of whether or not the police legally stopped you.

Legal Arrest?

The next question is, did they legally arrest you?  The DMV believes apparently that you can’t just be illegally arrested.  If you’re illegally arrested, they’ll throw the whole case out.  The problem is, that the police are going to lie or tell the truth and say that you didn’t pass the field sobriety tests.

They feel you’re not safe to drive and that’s why they’re arresting you.  If the DMV believes that and if the police can show evidence of that, then they’ll be able to get by that hurdle, but they can’t just be grabbing people for no reason.  They can’t just be pulling people over for no reason.  If you can prove that — either through video or some other form of evidence — then you can win the DMV hearing.

Blood Alcohol Level

The last thing is, your blood alcohol level has to be a .08 or greater.  If they can’t prove that your blood alcohol is a .08, they’re not going to take your driver’s license.  That happens all the time.  People get busted and blow a .07.  The DMV is not going to get them for that.  You need to be a .08 or greater.  So, if they cannot prove that you’re a .08 or greater then they’re not going to take your license away.

There is an exception to that.  If you refuse to take the test.  You see, there’s a presumption in the law that if you refuse to take the test — because driving in California is a privilege, not a right — and part of your test is they tell you that if the police think you’re drinking and driving, you must cooperate; you must take the test.

So, if you’re a refusal and the DMV can prove that and they can also prove that the police told you that if you don’t take this test then you’re going to lose your driver’s license for a year, then they can get passed that hurdle as well, even if they don’t have a .08 or greater.

The policy behind this is, if people could just say they’re not taking the test and that’s the end of it, then everybody would do that and nobody would get caught for a DUI.

So, they’re not going to allow that to happen.  I would almost say that 99% of the time, if the police are asking you take the test you should take it because on a first-time DUI for example, even if you blow over a .08 — you’re only going to lose your license for a real thirty days and you can get it back on a restricted basis; but, if you refuse to take the test you lose your license for a year with no restriction.  So, why would somebody take that risk?  It just doesn’t make any sense.

Contact our Los Angeles DUI Lawyers

I don’t like people talking to the police because they usually same something that’s going to incriminate them, but you do need to cooperate with the police, otherwise you’re going to lose your driver’s license for a year.  So, there are ways to beat the DMV as it relates to a DMV hearing, but you have to look at what they’re trying to prove.

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

Related Resources:
Information About Driver Safety Administrative Hearings
Immediate Driver License Suspension or Revocation Drivers Age 21 and Older

Do You Need An Attorney If Arrested For A DUI In Los Angeles?

I’m always surprised that people don’t realize that a DUI is a criminal offense and they could go to jail for it.  Obviously, the answer is yes you need an attorney unless you just want to throw yourself on the mercy of the court and hope you don’t go to jail, lose your driver’s license, put on probation and host of other things that are potentially possible.

I guess the question in most people’s minds is, why is a DUI criminal?  I don’t get it.  Well, because if you’re out there driving on the road and you drank alcohol and have the potential to hurt somebody, obviously they’re going to take that very seriously.

Now they’re even filing murder charges when somebody kills somebody related to a DUI because in society now, the prosecutors, judges and police figure that everybody now knows that if you drink and drive you could kill somebody.  There’s people being killed all over the road, especially in Los Angeles, which is such a huge metropolis with all of these drivers out there.

Helping You Navigate The DUI Legal Process

So, the bottom line is, you absolutely need an attorney.  There’s so many different areas when it comes to a DUI where an attorney can be useful:  dealing with the DMV so they don’t take your driver’s license away — and if they are going to take your driver’s license away, trying to get the driver’s license back as quick as possible, what you have to do in order to do that to make sure that you cover yourself.

You’re also going to be sent into a Los Angeles County criminal court where you can be sent to jail, where there’s judges and prosecutors.  Unless you have experience and training related to DUI’s, obviously you want an attorney to help you.

Retaining A DUI Lawyer Is Crucial

Hiring your own attorney, in my opinion, is crucial because you’re going to be able to talk to that attorney face to face before the court date, give them all the details — not only about your case, the arrest and what happened — but about you as a person, so they go in there armed with information that can help you; armed with the ability to be able to try to convince the prosecutors that you don’t deserve the worse punishment.  You don’t deserve to go to jail.  You don’t deserve a lot of the bad things that can come related to a DUI.

So, when you’re looking at a criminal conviction, jail time and the loss of your license and a host of other issues, of course you need an attorney to represent you and you need somebody that you hired that knows your story and can go in there and work for you and try to get you a result that does damage control and takes into account your life and all the important things you need to do related to having your vehicle, and not putting a mark on your life that will affect your future, your career and a lot of different areas of your life if you end up with a criminal conviction — especially if you can’t get the criminal conviction off.

Contact a Los Angeles DUI Lawyer at Our Law Firm

So, depending on what happens with your case — not matter what it is — you need an attorney.  As far as what the attorney can do to help you, that’s going to be determined by exactly what you did, what you’re charged with and what potential defenses are available to you and what damage control the attorney is able to do in resolving your matter. Contact us to review the details of your case.

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

Related Resources:
Immediate Driver License Suspension or Revocation 

Should I Handle My DMV Hearing Myself if Arrested for a DUI in Los Angeles?

The short answer to this question is, probably not.  Because, you’re not an attorney.  Your license is at stake, and obviously, if you live in Los Angeles you need your driver’s license.

So, unless you’re trained on how to deal with the DMV, then you probably want to let an attorney handle that and since you’re probably going to need an attorney for your criminal court case, you might as well just let the attorney deal with both — that way you know your license and your criminal record are in the best hands possible.

Just to give you an idea of kind of how the DMV works, the first phone call is made.  They have a bunch of people answering the phones over there and they don’t really care about you and trying to help you, in my experience.  A lot of times people claimed that they called the DMV, and then the DMV claims they never got a call.  If you don’t call within ten days, you automatically lose your driver’s license.

Communicating with the DMV in Los Angeles

So, then you put yourself in the position of having to try to convince the DMV that you did call them when they’re looking at their computer system and saying that you didn’t call them.  I see that happen all the time with people, so that’s your first hurdle — even communicating and dealing with a huge bureaucracy like the Department of Motor Vehicles in Los Angeles.  Your attorney is able to call in there.  They have an attorney line.

When I call in there, they know who we are because we’ve dealt with them before.  We send them a letter.  We fax it and get a date stamp on it saying that we represent you.  We want a stay on any suspension and we want a DMV hearing.  We’re covered.

So, having a DUI attorney right from the beginning is important.  After that, they’re going to set a hearing and they’re going to send you all the paperwork.  Now, you have to try to defend yourself in the hearing.  That’s going to be awkward because the DMV hearing officer is entitled to ask you questions.

They’re going to be asking you questions like, did you have any drinks that night?  Any alcohol?  How much did you have?  They’re going to be asking you a bunch of questions that’s going to cause you to incriminate yourself.  Technically, the court could use those answers against you as well to help prove the criminal case.

So, obviously your attorney can do the DMV hearing without you even testifying if that’s not something that’s in your best interest.  Whereas, you trying to do it without you testifying or saying something incriminating is a lot more difficult.

Importance of Having a DUI Lawyer

Then you’ve got the fact that the DMV is basically a kangaroo court and the DMV hearing officer wears the hats of both the prosecutor and the judge, is making rulings on all the objections, and is going to finally decide whether they themselves put on enough evidence to make the case.  So, even an attorney has the deck stacked against them in a DMV case.  You’ve got a real tough road to hoe as your own attorney.

So, you’re definitely going to want to have your attorney handle your DMV hearing in my opinion, and obviously, you want an attorney to handle your court case as well.  So, you should go in and hire an attorney.  Give them all the facts and details and let them direct and guide what happens moving forward with the DMV.

Then you’ll be in a much better position to do things the right way, get the best result, and then moving forward if your license is suspended, figuring out how you can get it back and not put yourself in a position of driving on a suspended license, looking at another criminal charge and also, potentially looking at jail time.

Contact Our DUI Lawyers for Help

So, make the call.  Hire an attorney to handle your DMV matter and do it once, do it right and never do it again. Our law firm has a long track record of success. Contact us to review the details of you case and legal options.

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

Related Resources:
DUI Arrest DMV Administrative Hearings vs Criminal Court Trials