Community Service As A Sentence For A DUI In Los Angeles

There are many different punishments or sentences that a judge can give in a DUI case in LA. One of these is certainly community service and there’s a bunch of different forms of community work. The harshest punishment that the judge can give – and usually this is given in place of jail – would be Caltrans. Those are the people that you see on the freeway in the orange jumpsuits picking up trash. This is particularly dangerous. It’s also very difficult to do, in the sense that you have to get up real early – 5:00 or 6:00 in the morning – and they only have so many spots available and if you don’t get one of the spots then you just wasted your time going out there. Obviously, Caltrans is not the best sentence somebody could get, but if you really, absolutely want to avoid jail time for your DUI sentence, then this form of community service is certainly a viable one.

There’re also other forms of community service related to your DUI that are very close to this. For example, the PAWS Program, community labor – these are in this same area of more difficult than the easy community service. This is actually physical work – working at a park or a beach. There’re different things that they can make you do depending on what is needed out there in the community. In addition, there actually is community service. This is usually an easier form of work where you can work in an office – it’s not necessarily physical labor – and it’s safe for those offenders who are obviously on the low end of the offense scale and it’s typically and 8 to 10-hour day. A lot of times, you can even get rid of most of the DUI fine if you can get community service instead. This is viable for those people who really don’t have the money to pay $2,000 to $3,000 related to a DUI case.

Another form of community service is the easy community service which is saved for those people who may be injured – it’s called light community service – you bring forth medical documentation showing that you simply cannot do physical work. A lot of times we can get the light community service instead of some harsh community service where you’re going to injure yourself. So, there’s all forms of community service. A lot of whether you do community service has to do with many factors. Obviously, your DUI defense attorney is going to be your best source in figuring out what type of community service you might end up with related to your DUI.

The bottom line is, if you don’t do your community service and you violate your probation and violate your sentence, what’s probably going to end up happening is the judge is just going to throw you in jail. It’s easier for the judge if someone is not doing their community service sentence related to a DUI case to just throw you in jail, because then you’ll serve your jail sentence and then you’ll be done. That’s something you really can’t mess up, because once you surrender, that’s it. The authorities have you and they’re going to have you serve whatever percentage of time that they have you serve, then you’ll get out and you’ll be back on probation.

Really, if you have community service questions related to DUI’s, every single court in Los Angeles has a community service office which is an office within the court where you can go – they have all the different community services that you can do. They have a sheet and you can talk to the people there and get all the information related to a community service issue. Some people think well, I can just do any community service I want. I’ll work over my brother’s store. I’ll do something at church, but you have to get a court-approved community service if you have a DUI case and you’re trying to meet the terms and conditions of your probation.

Make sure you’re doing an approved program. Make sure it’s run through the court. Make sure your attorney approves it. Because if you don’t get something that’s approved by the court in the community service office then you’re going to have to redo the whole thing. Another thing people mess up on related to community service is, once you do the community service, you actually have to get your community service hours verified in order to satisfy your DUI sentence. The way you do that is you run them back through the community service office in the courthouse. They’ll put the stamp of approval on it and then the judge will know you didn’t just make the community service hours up – that the community service office verified that you actually did them. You have to be careful about this because some people try to cheat and get fake community service hours. If you get caught doing this, you’re going to violate your probation.

So, if you are sentenced with community service to satisfy your DUI charge, you’re going to want to speak to your attorney about it, because it is a sentence that you want to get if you want to try to avoid jail time related to your DUI matter.

Contact a Los Angeles DUI lawyer

So, if you have a DUI in California, and specifically, Los Angeles, you’re going to want to get an attorney who has been down this road before and had success. Contact our Los Angeles DUI lawyers to review your case.

What Happens If You Get Caught Driving On A Suspended License Related To A DUI In Los Angeles

When someone is put on DUI probation, they are ordered to not drive without a valid driver’s license. You have to go through the DMV to get a valid driver’s license – whether it’s a temporary driver’s license or a full driver’s license. Typically, related to DUI cases, you’re going to need to get an SR22 proof from your insurance company that you’re able to drive and you have liability insurance. Also, you’re going to have to be enrolled in a first offender alcohol program and have to pay some fees.

What I have my clients do for DUI cases in getting their driver’s license back, is go to the DMV, find out exactly what they need so they can get it and can be driving lawfully. Because the answer to what will happen to you if you’re caught driving on a suspended license related to a DUI is that you will face mandatory jail time. They don’t mess around with these types of cases. They don’t want people on the road who they consider dangerous because of drinking and driving.

So, we are sometimes able to get out of the jail time, but it’s not easy. When you get a 14601.2, 14601.1 of the Vehicle Code, you’re definitely looking at jail time and it’s very difficult to get the prosecutors and the judge not to give you any jail time. So, this is where we have to do some real lawyering here and show why you were driving. We’re going to try and show that you weren’t dangerous at the time. Hopefully, you weren’t drinking and driving. Because when you do this, not only do you pick up a new open case for driving on a suspended license related to a DUI in LA, you also violate your probation related to your DUI. So, you’re subject basically to double punishment. In other words, they can punish you for the open case and they can also punish you because you violated the terms and conditions of your DUI probation.

So, if you have a driving on a suspended license case, we’re also going to want to try to get your driver’s license. In other words, the next question the judge and prosecutors are going to have is, why don’t they have their driver’s license? Okay, well the DMV suspended it. Alright, well then they can’t drive. So, the closer you are to getting your driver’s license, the stronger argument we’re going to have to keep you out of jail.

What Are Some Defenses To Driving On A Suspended License Related To A DUI In Los Angeles?

One defense is that you didn’t have knowledge. In other words, you didn’t know that your driver’s license was suspended. The best way for them to be able to prove that you did know is to show some sort of proper service. In other words, did the judge tell you in court that you could not drive without a driver’s license, but you also have to know that the license was suspended. So, the judge can tell you, don’t drive without a valid driver’s license, but if you say, wait a minute I didn’t know the license was suspended – the Judge would have to tell you in court, this would be the best service. Your license is suspended. Do not drive on it. You can’t drive until this date.

Another effective way is if a police officer tells you and is ready to testify, hey I told him his license was suspended and then you drive after that. The last way is if the DMV can give you effective notice. Just sending a letter in the mail is not good enough. They’re going to have to send a certified letter to prove that you actually got the letter and that you had noticed that your driver’s license was suspended. A lot of this is common sense. If you got a driving on a suspended license and you’re afraid you are going to end up in jail, you better get an attorney. Let’s figure out exactly how we can get that license, because sometimes when the case is pending, we can actually get the driver’s license. That helps us avoid the conviction for the 14601.2 of the Vehicle Code. It also helps avoid jail time. Maybe we can get it reduced to a 12500 which is driving with no license in Los Angeles. That has no mandatory jail time and we can avoid you having to spend some time in jail – away from your job and away from your family.

So, pick up the phone. Make the call. We can talk about your DUI case. We can talk about any probation violation you might have, and if you have a driving on a suspended license case, we can figure out how to help you with it.

Contact a Los Angeles DUI lawyer

So, if you have a DUI in California, and specifically, Los Angeles, you’re going to want to get an attorney who has been down this road before and had success. Contact our Los Angeles DUI lawyers to review your case.

Do You Have A Defense In A DUI Case If You Weren’t Driving When The Police Caught You?

I do a lot of cases where people are not driving their car when the police come upon them and that is a problem in a DUI case because in order to get you for a DUI, you actually have to be driving at some point, and when you were driving the police are going to have to somehow be able to determine what your blood alcohol level was at the time of driving. So, I get cases where people crash their car and they’re not driving when the police come upon the accident scene and the police have to figure out who was driving the particular car, when the accident occurred – that’s a little bit easier to pinpoint things because there’s usually witnesses there to talk to. A lot of times everybody’s all shaken up, but the police are going to try to identify who’s driving and if they find somebody who is DUI, they’re obviously going to try to get that person to take the field sobriety test, etc.

Other scenarios where there’s people not driving related to DUI’s is let’s say your car breaks down on the side of the freeway. You’re sitting there. Police eventually come up. The key for the police is they are once again going to have to determine when you were driving. Obviously, first that you were driving, but when you were driving. So, they’ll come up and ask you. If you are the only one in the car, there is circumstantial evidence through common sense that you must have driven it there. So, they’re going to ask you, were you driving this car? You say, yeah. They ask, when did you stop here? You say five or ten minutes ago. Alright, that’s it. They got you. You admitted you were driving and it was five or ten minutes ago. You’re not going to have an angle to try to say I wasn’t driving.

Another big one I see is that sometimes people realize their drunk and finished and just park their car on the side of the road and go to sleep. Finished. That’s not driving. If you’re legally parked in a parking space – don’t fall prey to the fallacy that if the keys are in the car — it doesn’t matter if the keys are in the car. That just might be evidence that you were just driving or about to drive. But, if you’re parked on the side of the road whether the keys are in the car or not and you’re asleep, that’s not driving.

However, there are circumstances where I’ve seen people park in the middle of the street – either because they’re black-out drunk or maybe they’re drunk and parked their car, but it’s partially blocking the road. That’s driving. The case law has said that would be driving for purposes of a DUI. So, again, it really depends on the circumstances. We can come up with a million different scenarios. The bottom line is when you talk about driving for purposes of a DUI, you’re going to want to talk to a seasoned DUI defense attorney if you have an issue related to that. I had one case in Ventura. My client crashed into a pole, got out of the car, walked like three miles to get help, called for Triple A, got himself something to eat and was headed back to the scene. Police come up and see the crash. They find him and they arrest him for DUI. The one though the police didn’t do is, they didn’t pinpoint the time of the crash, so I was able to get that case dismissed because how were they going to figure out what the person’s blood alcohol level was at the time of driving which they must do in a DUI case if they didn’t know when the crash occurred.

So again, a lot of these cases are fact-specific – meaning whether you have a defense or not is going to depend on what the facts and circumstances are related to the case. The bottom line is this – when it comes to a DUI, if you really want to test the prosecutor’s case, you have to set the case for trial. That’s going to make them bring in all their witnesses and they will have to bring in an expert because they’re usually going to have a blood or breath result, and that expert is going to have to extrapolate backwards and be able to say, okay, his or her blood alcohol level was this at this time. I say that it must have been this at this time and here’s why. So, they have to explain that. They have to have crucial key things, which is when were you driving and when did they take your blood test. If they don’t have when you were driving for purposes of the DUI, that’s it. They don’t have the case, because again, it’s very key. You have to be driving a vehicle and the question is what was your blood alcohol level at the time of driving? If it was a .08 or greater, it’s a DUI. If it wasn’t a .08 or greater, they can’t get you for Vehicle Code Section 23152b which is the .08 or greater, but they could still make a run on you depending on the circumstances of the case for Vehicle Code Section 23152a, which basically says you had alcohol in your system and you couldn’t safely operate a motor vehicle at the time of driving. So, that doesn’t require any type of a .08. That’s just saying they can prove that you were drinking and that you were driving around recklessly. For example, you couldn’t walk when you got out of the car, you could pass a field sobriety test.

So, if you have one of these driving under the influence cases and there’s a question as to when you were driving, come and sit down, we’ll go over everything in the privacy of my office and we’ll figure out exactly how to handle your DUI case.

Contact a Los Angeles DUI lawyer

So, if you have a DUI in California, and specifically, Los Angeles, you’re going to want to get an attorney who has been down this road before and had success. Contact our Los Angeles DUI lawyers to review your case.

DUI Refusals In Los Angeles County

Over the course of the last twenty-five years, I’ve got a lot of clients who have come to me with cases of refusal. A lot of times they’re saying, everybody told me I should just refuse all the tests and that’s why I did it. I wasn’t really drinking that much and I didn’t think the police had any reason to pull me over so I didn’t take any of their tests. There’s a whole litany of different reasons why people refuse to take the breath test or the blood test when the police officers ask them to do. And they really think that they are within their rights when they do that and a lot of times people think it’s a good idea to do that. I’m here to tell you that it’s not a good idea to do that, and you put yourself in a much worse position than if you had just cooperated with the police.

If you’re coming to this website now and you’re seeing this, you’re probably saying that information is too late, and you’re right, but you have to understand that information so you can help to resolve your case with your DUI defense attorney. when it comes to these refusal DUI cases, you make it easier for the prosecutors because once you refuse to take that test there’s a presumption that you are DUI, and then you have to rebut that presumption if you don’t want to take a DUI conviction on your record. Obviously, you’re going to need information and ammunition to be able to do that, so that makes it very difficult on your DUI defense attorney.

The policy behind this whole concept that if you don’t take one of the tests – a blood test or a breath test – it used to be urine, but they go rid of that, so you just have to take a blood or breath test. The policy behind it is that if we didn’t have that rule in society, in California DUI law, then everybody would just refuse to take the test and then they couldn’t get anybody for a DUI. Really, what they say is driving in California is a privilege and not a right. It’s not like a right to bear arms. When you take your driving test, even though a lot of people don’t realize or remember this, you’re basically told that – it’s called the implied consent law – if the police believe that you’re drinking and driving – and of course that’s a subjective thing on their part – but if they believe it and they ask you to take a blood or breath test, you have to cooperate with them. If you don’t, you’re going to be arrested and you’re going to be prosecuted and you’re just going to make it easier on the government to prove you guilty of a DUI.

What Is A Key Requirement To Get Somebody For A DUI Refusal?

One big thing is they have to tell you that if you do not take one of the tests – a blood test or a breath test – then you will lose your California driver’s license for one year, and that’s a real suspension. Meaning, you cannot drive for one year. You can’t get a restricted license – not like you can when you get a first offense and you only lose your license for a month and then you can get it back on a restricted basis for six months as long as you put an ignition interlock device in your car or get in a first-offender alcohol program and cooperate with the DMV.

So, these refusal cases are very serious, because driving in California – especially Los Angeles, California – is crucial, and if you get caught driving because you have a prior DUI and you have a suspended license, it’s mandatory jail time once they get you into court and arrest you. Now you have to get a lawyer again. The bottom line when it comes to these refusal cases is they must show that they told you that you were going to lose your license for a year. If they don’t have that then they can’t get you for a refusal. The might be able to get you for a DUI depending on the circumstances, but they won’t be able to get you for a refusal. That’s why when I get the police reports in DUI cases, especially refusal DUI cases, I’m looking to see if they asked the client, we need you to take the test – are you going to take the test, or not? Then they are supposed to write down exactly what you say and then they sign that under penalty of perjury and they have to read, and indicate in their police report, that they warned you that if you don’t take one of the two tests then you’re going to lose your driver’s license for one year.

Another thing that can be equated as a refusal is if they say, do you want to take the blood or breath test, and you say you want to say the breath test and you start trying to blow into the tube and it won’t register. It won’t register either because you’re not blowing hard enough – there’s ways to trick that too – if you don’t blow hard enough, you’re just pretending like you’re blowing – that’s why the police say, blow harder, harder, harder. If you don’t blow in that thing hard enough and they can’t register a result, then they’re going to make you take the blood test. So, I get refusals that way, where people are trying to blow and they say, well it’s not my fault the machine won’t work. I’m done. That’s a refusal. If the breath test is not working for whatever reason, then you need to do the blood test. If you don’t do it they’re going to get you for a refusal.

Another thing I see is the say, do you want blood or do you want breath? The person says, I want blood. They say okay and take them all the way over to the hospital. They get them in there and they say, I changed my mind. You see, playing games like that is another way they can try to get you for a refusal. Making them take you all the way to the hospital and then saying you don’t want it, that’s a borderline case depending on the circumstances. Yes, they are supposed to make you take the breath test at that point, but a lot of times they don’t have the breath test right there. They’re going to need to take you all the way in to a police station that actually has the breath test that they use in court when people fight DUI cases.

So, if you have a refusal case and you think that there’s some suspect stuff going on related to your DUI refusal, get in front of an attorney. Tell him the truth. Give him all the accurate information so that we can help you make an informed decision. We can help you make the right decision in your DUI refusal case.

Contact a Los Angeles DUI lawyer

So, if you have a DUI in California, and specifically, Los Angeles, you’re going to want to get an attorney who has been down this road before and had success. Contact our Los Angeles DUI lawyers to review your case.

Negotiating A DUI In Los Angeles County

I’ve been negotiating DUI’s now for quite some time and it is an interesting art form. It takes a combination of knowing your client and their situation and knowing the location where you are negotiating – who is the judge, who is the prosecutor? How do they typically handle these cases? What will move them and make them give a lesser charge or dismiss a case? This comes through experience and having a good feel for how a particular court system works – and also having a good feel for who you’re dealing with. The prosecutors are people just like anybody else. Some of them are tough; some are middle-of-the-road, and some are very easy to work with.

I’ve gone into court, looked at a prosecutor and said, you know what, there’s no way I’m going to get the resolution that I want out of this prosecutor. I’m just going to continue the case and come back to fight another day. There’s nothing wrong with doing that. The bottom line is, the job is to get the best possible resolution – whether that’s a dismissal, a win in a jury trial or some negotiated plea bargain – but as an attorney who has been practicing DUI for a long time, you have to know how to negotiate with these prosecutors. Sometimes you have to negotiate with the judge if the prosecutor is not being reasonable. It really just depends on the circumstances of the case, what your client has supposedly done and a number of other factors that you gain through working hard, getting the experience, and you have to have a knack for doing DUI cases and negotiating them. That’s the bottom line.

The Tough Negotiation Approach In A DUI Case

One approach that I’ve seen used and I’ve certainly used myself is to go in and say, the client is innocent. We’re going to trial. We need this, this and this. You’ve got video. You’ve got body-cam. You’ve got MVAR’s – we need them. Just make the prosecutors think that no matter what happens, you’re going to trial. Sometimes that tactic is nice. Sometimes you do decide to go to trial, but other times you can decide at the last minute to say, listen, we think we have a very strong case. Here’s what we have, but, also, anybody could win or lose at a trial so, we’ll consider resolving the case but we’re not going to consider resolving it unless you give us this.

That brings me to another point. When you go in there to negotiate as a defense attorney – and this is where clients need to be aware – you need to have a game plan. You need to know what your client will take and what your client will not take and that requires communication between attorney and client about the DUI case – about the negotiation process. The lawyer has to tell the client. Listen, here’s what I need from you. If the person used prescription medication for example and ended up with a DUI, you need to get the bottle. You need to show me what it says on the bottle about driving and taking that prescription medication. We need something from the doctor. Go in there. Be honest with the doctor. Tell him what happened. Maybe the doctor can come through with some sort of a letter explaining what’s going on and it’s really not your fault. You would have had no way to know not to drive with the prescription medication. Maybe it’s new medication. Maybe the warning label on the bottle doesn’t say anything about driving. Maybe the doctor didn’t tell you anything. I mean, I could go on and on and on. That’s just one small example.

Getting character letters to show that you’re a good person and have a good job, etc., there’s nothing wrong with that. I don’t know how effective that is though, because a lot of people who get DUI’s have that. Most people who get a DUI are not criminals. They just drank and drove and fell right into a police trap or got into an accident – or whatever happened to them. So, just because you can get character letters, that doesn’t necessarily solve your problem. You’re going to need to come up with a strategy with your attorney that relates to your case. What happened? Was your blood alcohol level not that high? Was it close to the legal limit? Bam! You’re in business.

Now we can attack the breath machine or the way they did the blood or whatever other issues surround having a blood alcohol level that’s low because that’s usually the best-case scenario. That’s when you can get cases dismissed. That’s when you can get lesser charges. So, there are all sorts of different negotiating angles, but I think one of the biggest things is that the lawyer and the client work together. The client listens to the lawyer and gets what the lawyer tells him to get. Also, the client and the lawyer come to a meeting of the minds as to exactly what the client will take and what they won’t take, because having that in my hip pocket – knowing what my client will take – that I can use some effective negotiating techniques to try to get one thing when I know that I’m angling for another thing that is what the client will take.

So, there are all sorts of different ways to handle cases. I can go on, and on, and on, but I think the bottom line is we get you in for a consultation. We look at your case. We see what happened and then we get our strategy together. Based on twenty-five years of experience, doing thousands of DUI cases in-and-out of the LA court system, there isn’t a case that I haven’t seen. There’s not a scenario that I haven’t seen and I know the strategy on how to get the job done when it comes to negotiating cases in Los Angeles.

Contact a Los Angeles DUI lawyer

So, if you have a DUI in California, and specifically, Los Angeles, you’re going to want to get an attorney who has been down this road before and had success. Contact our Los Angeles DUI lawyers to review your case.

Lesser Charges In DUI Cases In Los Angeles County

When it comes to a DUI, most people are trying to figure out how they can avoid getting that DUI conviction on the record, losing their license and also the ramifications that come along with having a criminal record and having to deal with the DMV, insurance and all the issues that surround that. There are all kinds of different lesser included offense, depending on the circumstances of your LA DUI case – which court you’re in in LA County. There used to be forty courts in LA County now there’s twenty-five. That’s still a lot of courts and a lot of different jurisdictions. As probably most of you know, California as a state is one of the toughest as it comes to DUI laws.

But listen, if you’ve got a good case and a good angle, there are lesser included defenses and I have a whole list of them that I carry around in my head. Again, depending on the circumstances. The most obvious lesser included defense is a wet reckless. It’s not much different than a DUI, but it does sound better. And if it’s a second-time DUI and you get a wet reckless, then you can avoid the second-time DUI, so that comes in handy. Usually a lesser fine and some lesser penalties are associated with that. You’re going to have to be pretty close to the legal limit though in order to get a wet reckless as it relates to a DUI case.

The next step down I would say would be a dry reckless. That’s just driving around recklessly. It doesn’t have anything to do with alcohol, and obviously, that would be a great result if you were busted for a DUI and you actually had alcohol in your system and the police are trying to claim that you were driving under the influence in Los Angeles County.

Another crime that I see that is definitely lesser to a DUI is what we call a speed contest – Vehicle Code §23109c. That basically says, you were screeching your tires. You weren’t driving safely, but it’s not a DUI. It doesn’t come with all of the DUI ramifications. It doesn’t come with all the penalties in court. So, a speed contest is definitely a heck of a lot better than a DUI when it comes to lesser charges in a Los Angeles county courtroom related to DUI’s. To get that speed contest you’re going to need to be pretty close to the legal limit, have no prior criminal record, obviously not being involved in any dangerous driving, or the prosecutors will never consider giving a speed contest as it relates to a DUI in Los Angeles County.

Also, I’ve had cases where I’ve been able to get just simple moving violations for people. I had an attorney that I represented in the Van Nuys court. He had a .08/.07. He could not have the misdemeanor conviction on his record for bar purposes and other reasons, so I was able to convince the prosecutor to give him two moving violations. For example, if he ran a stop sign and he made an illegal left turn without signaling – so, those would be two moving violations. He had a couple of points on his record, but he still maintained his driver’s license. He didn’t get a criminal conviction because moving violations are just infractions. He didn’t get a misdemeanor on his record. That’s definitely a great resolution when it comes to DUI’s in LA County.

You don’t have to necessarily have to be a .08 to get a DUI in LA county. If you have alcohol in your system and you can’t safely operate a motor vehicle, you don’t pass the field sobriety test according to the police, your speech is slurred, your eyes are red and bloodshot and watery, you have an unsteady gait, then the police can say, you have alcohol. You’re a DUI. I’ve seen prosecutors try to go after these types of cases. So, there’s all sorts of lesser included offenses. Another tactic I’ve used, if you get busted for a DUI and another charge – it has nothing to do with a DUI – sometimes we can just get the DUI dismissed and you work out a resolution as it relates to the other charge. So, there are all sorts of thing that can be done, but of course it depends on your case. It depends on your attorney. It depends on what happened in your case – how high you blood alcohol level was, how dangerous you were on the road and a host of other factors. There also going to look at your criminal record. If you have a bad driving record and you’re busted for a DUI don’t expect the prosecutors to give you a break. If you have prior DUI’s on your record – even if they’re outside the ten-year period – don’t expect the prosecutors to give you a break.

So, the biggest thing you want to do is get a great DUI attorney that is local to the jurisdiction where your case is pending. Give him all the facts. Be honest and straightforward. I wrote a book on this particular topic. Grab my book and give it a read. It’s very inexpensive. You can get it on amazon.com. It really talks about the ins-and-outs of DUI’s in a nice common-sense approach. So, if you have a DUI and you’re trying to get a lesser charge, sit down with an attorney who knows what they’re doing. I’m always available for a consultation and see if it’s realistic that you can get a lesser charge. If not, you at least need to minimize the penalties which is a topic for another blog.

Contact a Los Angeles DUI lawyer

So, if you have a DUI in California, and specifically, Los Angeles, you’re going to want to get an attorney who has been down this road before and had success. Contact our Los Angeles DUI lawyers to review your case.

The Nuts And Bolts Of A DMV Hearing In Los Angeles County

Having practiced DMV law and DUI law for twenty-five years now in LA, I think I have a pretty idea of what goes on at a DMV hearing. There are two ways to conduct a DMV hearing. One is to actually do the hearing face-to-face with the DMV Officer. Sometimes that’s a good strategy depending on the particular circumstances of the case. But I find you can also have a very effective strategy by doing the DMV hearing over the phone. Different lawyers have a different approach, depending on the particular case, circumstances and the defendant.

On disadvantage of doing it face-to-face and actually bringing your client to the DMV hearing is that gives the DMV hearing officer an opportunity to ask questions of the client. That can sometimes be dangerous because a lot of times the clients possess information that can be very incriminating to them. For example, they can admit that they were driving at a certain time in a certain location. They can admit to actually drinking alcohol. They can admit to how much alcohol they had during the night of their arrest. They can also admit to whether they had food. A lot of these thing can then later be used at a trial against the particular defendant because the DMV hearing is being recorded. This is something you’re going to have to discuss with your DMV defense attorney and get a good strategy together as to whether or not you want to do an in-person face-to-face hearing, or whether you want to do a hearing over the phone.

What generally happens at a DMV hearing is the DMV has a responsibility in a DUI case in Los Angeles to prove their case. The first thing they’re going to do is start moving evidence in. They’ll list all their evidence and say at the end of their evidence -they’re going to ask whether there is any objection, and of course the defense attorney or a person representing themselves in a DMV hearing can make whatever objections they want and then the DMV hearing officer rules on the objection and usually lets the evidence in. This is where it is a little bit unfair because it’s almost like a kangaroo court where the DMV is putting on the evidence. The DMV – like the judge – is making rulings on any objections to the evidence and in the end, the DMV decides whether or not to take your license away. This is called an administrative hearing and it’s done with all DUI cases.

Basically, what they have to prove in these administrative hearings is (1) that the police officer lawfully stopped you or came upon you – sometimes you’re not even driving; (2) they lawfully arrested you; and (3) your blood alcohol level was a .08 or greater. If they can prove all three of these things, then you are going to lose your license for a period of time depending on how many prior DUI’s you have or if this is your first DUI offense. If they cannot prove one of these three things, then they are not going to be able to take your license away administratively. That, of course, does not get you out of the fire because if you are convicted in court of the DUI, all the court’s computers are synced up to the Los Angeles DMV and they will suspend your license for getting the conviction in court. So, in order to avoid a conviction altogether, you’re going to have to win the administrative hearing and you’re going to have to win in court – not be convicted of a DUI offense.

The defense is also entitled to put on evidence at a DMV hearing, so the client can testify, and witnesses can testify. You can subpoena the officer in to testify and ask questions about his or her police report. The DMV can subpoena the officer in to ask questions about his or her report. Experts can also be called. If you think there’s a problem with the blood alcohol level, then you can call your own expert and that expert can put on evidence. That expert can challenge the DMV’s case. I see all the time where the DMV even sees themselves – by reading the police officer’s report – that they have a problem in a case, so they’ll try to call the officer and ask the officer questions to try to get their case that way. I object all the time. I, as a defense attorney in a DMV hearing in Los Angeles, am able to cross-examine the police officer about some of the things in the police report, my client’s blood alcohol level. There’s a lot of things that can be done. In the end, the DMV hearing officer is going to say, okay counsel, thank you very much for your information. Thank you very much for your participation in the hearing. I will let you and your client via mail what our decision is. Then usually in a day or two you’re going to get their decision in the mail.

If you brought up some real good issues in the DMV hearing, then what I’ve seen happen is it takes them a long time. I think what they end up doing is they’ll run it by the attorneys there at the DMV or they’ll run whatever issues by the Mandatory Action Unit and this takes some time. So, your client is allowed to drive on that temporary driver’s license that they get or you’re allowed to drive on the temporary driver’s license up until there is a ruling by the DMV. If the DMV suspends your license they let you know via mail and then you discuss with your attorney exactly what you have to do in order to get your license back. Typically, you’re looking at getting an SR22 which is proof of insurance, paying a fee to the DMV, installing an ignition interlock device for a period of time and there may be some other things, depending on the special circumstances surrounding your particular case.

Contact a Los Angeles DUI lawyer

So, if you have a DUI in California, and specifically, Los Angeles, you’re going to want to get an attorney who has been down this road before and had success. Contact our Los Angeles DUI lawyers to review your case.

Learn The Most Accurate Test For A DUI In Los Angeles

When it comes to DUI’s, I’ve been practicing in twenty-five years and I’ve seen the various tests that are being used in order to test somebody’s blood. The tests that we think about are obviously, the breath machine and taking somebody’s blood. Urine used to be a test that was available as well, but now the legislature has pretty much narrowed it down to either blood or breath in order to test somebody’s blood alcohol content.

But other tests that are available that are relevant to a Vehicle Code §23152a charge are the field sobriety test because they are supposed to judge whether somebody can safely operate a motor vehicle, so a lot of people don’t realize that they don’t really need your blood alcohol by breath or blood or even urine. They can just look at your results on the field sobriety tests which, of course, are very subjective tests and they can say that you smelled of alcohol and looked like you were intoxicated and then try to get you for a DUI that way, without trying to go after the .08 and using the 23152b which says your blood alcohol level was a .08 or greater in Los Angeles, California.

So, there are a number of different ways to get you. If they’re trying to get you by way of the 23152a section – which basically says you had alcohol in your system and you couldn’t safely operate a motor vehicle – and does really talk about whether your BAC was a .08 or greater. In addition to the field sobriety test, they’re going to look at the way that you’re walking. They’re going to look at the way that you’re talking. They’re going to look at the way that you were driving when you were either pulled over or some people get into an accident. Obviously, if you crash into somebody, there’s an argument you can’t safely operate a motor vehicle – then the next question is – can they prove that you had alcohol in your system.

There’s a lot of ways to do that. Again, if you smell like alcohol and you’re acting like somebody who is intoxicated, the police could certainly put those pieces of evidence in at a potential jury trial and then let the jury decide. Of course, it’s best for them if they just have some sort of a reading.

What Is The Best Way To Measure Blood?

In my opinion, and I think based on science, getting somebody’s blood is the most accurate test of the tests that are available to law enforcement and prosecutors who deal with DUI cases in Los Angeles County. If they can get your blood, then they can get pretty darn close to what your blood alcohol level is and it kind of rules out a lot of arguments that you can argue when you take somebody’s breath. Of course, you could still argue that the sample that they took was contaminated if you have the evidence available to do that, and there are other things – depending on when they take the blood in relation to the driving – that could be an argument. If they’re waiting three to four hours to take somebody’s blood, who cares that their blood alcohol level was three to four hours after the driving.

We want to know for purposes of a DUI in LA County what was the blood alcohol level at the time of driving. They’re going to have to use an expert to attempt to extrapolate backwards from the point when they take the test – either by way of a breath test or a blood test – what was the result then, and now how do you go and say what the result was one hour, two hours, three hours later.

So, the bottom line is the blood is the most accurate. As far as breath tests go, there is some accuracy there, but those tests can be impacted. If the machine that’s being used to test the breath is not working properly – and that happens all the time. It hasn’t been calibrated the right way. There’s some issue with it. It’s taken out of service close in time to when your breath was taken, then we’ve got an argument that the machine wasn’t working right and whatever your BAC was is not accurate.

Also, I think it is commonly agreed among experts in the DUI field, that the machine that are used to test your breath at the police stations across LA County have an error rate of .02. So, basically that means if you blew a .08 you could have been a .08. You could have been a .90. So, you’re not going to have that exact accuracy. Obviously, the closer you are to the legal limit, if they’re trying to get you for Vehicle Code Section 23152b, the stronger argument you have when looking at everything from a totality of the circumstances that you were not driving under the influence, and therefore, should not be prosecuted.

So, I guess it would be fair to say that the second-best test for a DUI in Los Angeles County is the breath. Now, don’t get the breath tests at the station confused with the breath test that’s typically used out in the fields. The Preliminary Alcohol Screening or PAS Device is not as accurate as the blood test or the test at the station. In fact, they’ve had all kinds of problems with that PAS Device test and you didn’t even used to be able to say what the reading was on that in court in order to try to prove that somebody is a DUI. Now the courts have given that some more credence. But the bottom line is that test is not accurate. The defense can always get their own expert to attack that test and really make it look bad and murky. Depending on how high your blood alcohol level was, how many drinks you had, how you were walking, talking, driving – that’s all going to be impacted in any DUI case that you get yourself involved with.

But obviously, if you’re stumbling around, crashing into things and you’re more than double the legal limit, it’s going to be very difficult – despite what some attorneys who are trying to get your money say – it’s going to be very difficult to get a case dismissed under those circumstances unless you have some other angle. You know, I’ve been doing this twenty-five years. I have angles all the time. Sometimes people are not even driving their vehicle come upon them. There are all sorts of things that can go wrong for the Police Department when it comes to these DUI cases in Los Angeles County. Your best move is to get in front of a DUI defense attorney who knows what they’re doing and can check every angle for you and get you’re the right result.

Contact a Los Angeles DUI lawyer

So, if you have a DUI in California, and specifically, Los Angeles, you’re going to want to get an attorney who has been down this road before and had success. Contact our Los Angeles DUI lawyers to review your case.

Learn the Potential Punishments For a DUI in Los Angeles

Having practiced DUI law in LA for the last twenty-five years, I’ve seen all kinds of different punishments either dolled out to criminal defendants in a DUI case or at least offered to criminal defendants in a DUI case and I tell you, it starts as early as the arraignment now.  The prosecutor and the judge – even on a first-time DUI – they don’t just want to let the person go on their won recognizance if their blood alcohol level is high or they’re involved in any kind of an accident which shows kind of a dangerousness level, then they’re going to try to make them do AA meetings – like three AA meetings a week while the case is pending if they want to be released on their own recognizance.  For me, that’s punishment started right off the top.  Even if the person does not have an alcohol problem, these guys are trying to make them do certain things right from the beginning or they make them post a bail in the case.

Other things I see them doing even at the arraignment level is if a person is dangerous enough because they have multiple DUI’s or because their blood alcohol level was high or because they hurt somebody, they’ll make them actually put a scram device on their , so they can determine whether or not they had any alcohol and then they’ll order them not to consume any alcohol.  Again, they’re really zeroed in and aimed at protecting the public, so that’s why they have all these different things.

Another big thing that I’m seeing now in the Los Angeles courts as it relates to DUI’s is they have this program called the H20 program.  What they’re doing is they’re waiting in the main DUI courts across Los Angeles county and they will wait for the person – they have a whole list of all the people with DUI’s who have to appear that day – especially people who have suspended licenses – and they will wait for them outside the court.  They’ll have identifying information and as soon as they get in their car and drive, they pull them over and charge them with violating their probation, driving on a suspended license – and when you get that and it relates to a DUI case, you’re looking at going to jail, so there are all sorts of punishments related to DUI cases that you might not even think about in Los Angeles, California, unless you are a DUI attorney who did this all the time, and like me, who has done thousands of these DUI cases.

What are Some of the Main Punishments that are Being Doled Out in the Criminal Courts Across LA County Related to DUI’s?

Probably one of the most common punishments is that they put you on three years’ probation.  Sometimes you can get it down to two years of probation if the blood alcohol level is l-ow enough and you’re not as much of a threat to anybody.  Another thing is they will try to make the person pay a fine.  Usually, the basic fine in Los Angeles county is $390 plus penalty assessment.  That ends up being – especially when they tack on all their fees – anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000.  Sometimes I’ve been able to get clients community service in order to wipe out most of the fines, but still you’re going to have to pay $400 or $500 in fees that the courts use to keep themselves going.

So, in addition to that, another thing is they’re going to make the person do an alcohol program.  In Los Angeles, for a first offense, they’re usually talking about a 36-month alcohol program, however, there’s also a 6-month alcohol program, a 9-month alcohol program, an 18-month alcohol program and a 30-month alcohol program.  So, you can start to see all DUI’s are not created equal.  These guys are not messing around.  Basically, it’s a sliding scale depending on how high your blood alcohol level was and how dangerous you were, how your criminal record looks.  They can make you do 9-month alcohol program.  Then you have to pay for it.  You have to go once a week to the program. Having a good attorney who knows the ins-and-outs of the court system is crucial when it comes to these DUI cases and trying to get the best possible result.

Jail Time and Community Service

Of course, the biggest weapon these guys have is jail time.  On a first offense, they can give you up to six months in the county jail.  If you’re on probation, it usually can be a year to a year and a half in the county jail.  On a second offense, they can give you up to a year just for that offense and if you’re on probation they can give you an additional year.  So, they do have some teeth when it comes to these DUI’s.  If they’re angry enough – based on the person, what they did and how dangerous they were out in public.  Other things that I’ve seen them do when it comes to DUI’s, they can make you do AA meetings because they feel you need an education in addition to the alcohol program.  They can also make you do community service, community labor, Caltrans, graffiti removal, and then they can put other restrictions on you where you’re not allowed to drink alcohol and you’re not allowed to drive your vehicle.  There’s a whole host of things that they do and sometimes they will tailor punishments based on what the person did.  Based on the person’s prior criminal record, and again, they’re trying to do things to really protect the public and make sure this person doesn’t get out on the road and kill somebody.

Felony DUI’s and Punishment

A lot of times for a first-time felony DUI, you can be looking up to three years in prison.  If you actually hurt somebody and cause them great bodily injury, you’re looking at a strike on your record, an additional 3-year enhancement, so you’d be looking at up to six years in prison and you can get your license revoked for three years.  There’s all sorts of things that can be done.  Again, these things are being done in the name of protecting the public.

So, if you’re going to drive a car and you’re going to take other people’s lives into your hands, then you’re going to take other people’s lives into your hands, then you’re going to be looking at a severe punishment.  Of course, the ultimate punishment they have – if you kill somebody related to a DUI they can through you in prison for 15 to life and charge you with murder.  So, a long story short, when it comes to DUI cases, you’ve got to have the best attorney possible who knows how to deal with the issues surrounding DUI cases, who knows how to protect your rights, your freedom, your interest, your reputation and your record.

Contact a DUI Lawyer in Los Angeles

If you have a DUI case and you’re concerned about the punishment, give me a call and we’ll sit down in the privacy of my office and go over everything.  I will give you a feel and an idea for what you’re facing, what you’re looking at and we’ll figure out exactly what can be done to help you related to your DUI matter in Los Angeles county.

Do Miranda Rights Have to be Read to Somebody Who is Arrested for a DUI?

When it comes to DUI’s in Los Angeles and across California, this is one of the biggest fallacies or confusions that people have, is that they must be read their Miranda Right or somehow the DUI is no good.  That’s one of the first things people tell me when they come into my office.  They didn’t read me my Miranda Rights – do you believe that?  Somehow, they think that can now be used to win their DUI case.  The bottom line is they do not have to  read you your Miranda Rights ever and if they don’t, it usually doesn’t make much difference in a DUI case.

The evidence they’re going to use in a DUI case is your breath or blood result to be able to prove whether or not that is a .08 or greater.  They don’t’ need you to say anything to them in order for them to typically prosecute you for a DUI.   You’re either a .08 or greater or you’re not.  Of course, if there’s more to it than that – how you’re driving, how you do on a field sobriety test and a host of other factors are going to control what happens in your DUI case, but the only reason they have to read somebody their Miranda Rights is if they want to use a statement against them.  So, if they don’t want to use someone’s statement against them, then they don’t have to read them the Miranda Rights.

In different criminal cases other than DUI’s, the police do read the Miranda Rights because a lot of times if the person is in custody and they want to take a statement.  So, if you don’t read somebody their Miranda Rights and they’re in custody and you’re asking them direct questions, or you’re saying things that would trigger another person to incriminate themselves or give incriminating information, then you have to read them their Miranda Rights.  If you don’t read the Miranda Rights and you’re in law enforcement, then any statement that the person makes, is not going to be able to be used against them.  You can still prosecute the person, you just can’t use their statements.

That does become applicable sometimes depending on what the circumstances are.  For example, let’s say someone gets into a DUI crash and they leave their car there and they walk away, and they get miles away from the scene of the accident and the police find them.  The police are going to start asking you questions.  When did you crash?  Were you the one who crashed?  Were you driving?  If they can pinpoint the answers to those questions, then they’re going to be able to get him for the DUI, but I’ve won a lot of cases when the person is not there.  They’re not driving.  You have to be driving for it to be a DUI, but of course, if the police can prove that you were driving at some point that wasn’t too far away and you crashed, they can still get you for the DUI.  But if they arrest you in that example that I gave, and they start asking you questions and the don’t give you your Miranda Rights, then your attorney has an argument that they’re not going to be able to use the answers to those questions because they didn’t read the Miranda Rights.  That just doesn’t happen very often in the standard DUI.  The police arrest the person and they’ve got him right there and they’re able to prosecute him for the DUI.

Are There Circumstances Where a Case can be Dismissed if Miranda Rights Were Not Given to a Person?

The answer to this question is yes.  There absolutely are circumstances where if they don’t read the Miranda Rights they’re not going to be able to get the person for a crime.  It just doesn’t happen very often.  If they need the person’s statement in order to convict them for the DUI and the person was in custody and they were being asked direct questions that could incriminate them, or the police were doing certain things to get them to make incriminating statements.  The fact the Miranda Rights were not given, the person made an incriminating statement, then the defense can file a motion and argue that that statement should be allowed in against them and if the prosecutors need that statement to prove the case to tie in the rest of the evidence and that statement is taken away from them, then they’re going to have to dismiss the case.

Unfortunately, though there’s just been an erosion of Miranda since it came into being.  The courts have just cut it to pieces.  I do Miranda hearings all the time.  Basically, what you do is you have to get the police officer in there and the defense attorney is entitled to cross-examine him.  What are the circumstances?  Was the person in custody?  You were asking him questions.  It brings up that scenario where the police caught a person who they suspected had used a shotgun to kill somebody and they needed that somebody in order to prove so they could get the ballistics and obviously, if the person admitted whether the shotgun was because they couldn’t find it after searching their house – and they’d be able to convict them of the crime, and they had the person in the back of the car – and again I’m paraphrases here on the case – but they said to the guy, hey it sure would be said if some little kid got ahold of that gun and killed themselves, and the police say a bunch of other stuff and the guy feels bad, so he gives the location of the gun and then he’s prosecuted for it.  In that circumstance, even though they’re not asking direct questions – hey, where did you put the gun – they’re saying things that are designed to get him to incriminate himself.  So, that’s a circumstance where you could say that they improperly got a statement from him.  They didn’t read him the Miranda Rights – and you can get the case overturned.  Again, those situations just don’t come up that often, so usually the Miranda Rights, as they relate to DUI cases is pretty much irrelevant.  There are circumstances where they do apply.

If you think you’ve got a case based on what I just said, or you can either damage the case or get it completely dismissed because they’re relying heavily on your statements and they didn’t give you your Miranda Rights, then obviously give me a call and we can sit down and talk about it.

Another way the police get out of reading people their Miranda Rights associated with a DUI is they say listen, the person wasn’t in custody.  I just pulled him over.  I wanted to talk to them.  They had committed a traffic violation and so I was just asking them simple questions and I could smell the alcohol on their breath.  They admitted that they had five drinks, so a lot of times they can get around the Miranda warnings by saying the person was not in custody yet.  They were just detained.  I was just talking to him. I was just conducting an investigator.

Contact a Los Angeles DUI Attorney

So, again, Miranda Rights and DUI’s usually don’t apply, but if you think you have a case, you should sit down with a qualified DUI expert who has been defending DUI cases in the local court where your case is pending and knows how to handle these types of situations.