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
213-542-0963

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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
213-542-0963

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Key Factors Between a Filing a Misdemeanor or Felony DUI Case in Los Angeles County

This is a big question because obviously, nobody wants to be charged with a felony DUI.  You lose a lot of rights, you’re looking at jail or prison time.  So, a lot of people are asking me when they’re arrested for a DUI whether they’re going to be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor.  There’s a number of different ways that give justification to the prosecutors in Los Angeles County to file a case as a felony.

DUI With Great Bodily Injury

One is if you seriously hurt somebody or if you cause great bodily injury to the DUI, you can bet your bottom dollar they’re going to file that case as a felony in LA County.

You’re going to be looking at custody time and a whole host of other issues related to your driver’s license, your criminal record, and your whole life will be on the line if you’re charged with a felony DUI because you seriously hurt another individual.

Fourth Arrest for DUI

Another way they can justify filing a case as a felony when it relates to a DUI is if it’s your fourth-time DUI.  That automatically gives the prosecutors the right to file a case as a felony DUI and again, you will be subject to prison time.  Most felony DUI’s that I see getting filed that are fourth-time DUI’s are typically looking at a minimum of 16 months in prison.

They could even get more time depending on what the injuries were to the other party.  There’s a three-year enhancement if you cause great bodily injury.  That makes the case a strike.

You won’t be able to vote.  You won’t be able to own, use or possess a gun or bullets, and again, you’d be looking at a significant amount of time in custody and loss of your driver’s license.

Prior Felony DUI Conviction

The other way I’ve seen them file a case as a felony is if you have a prior conviction for a felony DUI and you pick up any new DUI, even if it might have normally been a misdemeanor circumstance, they can file that case as a felony as well because you have that prior felony conviction in Los Angeles County or elsewhere related to a DUI matter.

So, that’s one of the biggest factors though, is injury.  If there’s a bad injury, you can bet your bottom dollar the prosecutors are going to be looking to file the case as a felony in Los Angeles county.

As far as the injury goes, this is not an entirely crystal clear area of the law.  In other words, sometimes people are claiming they have a soft tissue issue when the reality is, they don’t really have that bad of an injury and in that circumstance, a lot of times we can get the case filed as a misdemeanor.

Misdemeanor vs. Felony DUI

It’s a huge difference when a case if filed as a misdemeanor versus a felony.  You’re not looking at as much time in jail or prison.  You’re not looking at a lot of ramifications that come along with the felony conviction.

Nobody wants a felony conviction.  It will affect your rights.  It will affect your freedom.  It will affect your job.  It will affect your future and a whole host of other things.

So, these are one of the biggest things that I battle in these DUI cases is trying to get it down to a misdemeanor, if my client is good for a DUI but really shouldn’t be charged with a felony, and all of these cases, whether you’re deciding whether a case is a felony or misdemeanor, kind of center around a number of different factors and they’re all going to center around the facts and circumstances of your particular case.

Experienced DUI Defense Lawyer

That’s why it’s so crucial to hire someone like me who has been doing this for 25 years, knows how to deal with these DUI cases, knows what factors will influence a judge and prosecutor, knows what type of mitigating circumstances we can bring up to try and avoid that felony conviction for  DUI or at least set things up so you can later get the case reduced down to a misdemeanor, so you don’t have this felony haunting you for the rest of your life.

So, if you’re charged or booked for a felony DUI or even a misdemeanor DUI and you’re concerned when you get to court, they’re going to file it as a felony, pick up the phone, call me now.  We will start the process of dealing with your DUI matter in the quickest, easiest way possible and getting you the best possible result.

Hedding Law Firm
16000 Ventura Blvd #1208
Encino, CA 91436
213-542-0963
www.acecriminalattorneys.com

Related Resources:
California DUI: What are the Penalties?
First-Offense DUI in California

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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
213-542-0963
www.acecriminalattorneys.com

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Driving While On DUI Probation – California Vehicle Code Section 23154

This Vehicle Code Section has to do with people who are on DUI probation in Los Angeles County who get pulled over by the police and part of the terms and conditions of their probation is they cannot have any measurable amount of alcohol in their system.

A lot of times the police can look in their computer in their vehicle and see that someone is on probation for a DUI, they pull them over and have them blow into a preliminary alcohol screen device, and if they blow a .01 or greater — meaning they have some alcohol in their system, they can then write them a ticket for this Vehicle Code Section 23154, which basically says that a person may be found in violation of this Section if the time of their driving while their on probation for a violation of Vehicle Code Section 23152 or 23153, which is the felony DUI, and the trier of fact is able to determine that they consumed an alcoholic beverage and were driving a vehicle with a blood alcohol level of .01% or greater as measured by the preliminary alcohol screening device.

Terms of DUI Probation

Part of the terms of this are that the testing shall be instant to a lawful detention and administered at the direction of a police officer having reasonable cause to believe the person is driving a motor vehicle in violation of subdivision (a).

So, basically what that’s saying is, people can’t just pull people over for any reason, just because they want to see if they have any alcohol in their system.

They have to have a lawful reason for pulling them over — some sort of a traffic offense — tinting windows, illegal turn, speeding — and then if they smell alcohol on them and it looks like the person has been drinking, and then they’re able to determine that they’re on probation for a DUI, then the police officer can have them blow into a preliminary alcohol screening device which most of the officers carry in their car, and if it registers anything a .01 or greater, then the person is going to be cited for this Vehicle Code Section 23154.

Driver’s License Suspension

They’ll probably be cited in with a ticket to the local court in that jurisdiction.  The worse thing is, their license will probably be snatched away from them and sent to the DMV and the DMV is going to be notified and they have a chance they’ll lose their driver’s license.

The next element in order to prove this Vehicle Section, the person shall be told that his or her failure to submit to or failure to complete a preliminary alcohol screening test or other chemical test as requested, will result in the suspension or revocation of the person’s privilege to operate a motor vehicle for a period of one to three years as provided for in California Vehicle Code Section 133353.1.

So, what this is indicating is, if you fail or refuse to take the preliminary alcohol screening test, they can suspend your license for a minimum of a year, and the police officer has to tell you that.

Failing to Take DUI Breath Test

When they say failed to take the test, a lot of people will try to blow in the PBT and they won’t blow hard enough and intentionally try to beat the test by not blowing hard enough into the machine.

This, if it is determined is happening, can put them in a position where they end up with the violation, losing their license for a year or more, and a lot of times the officers will then take them to the hospital or police station where they can draw their blood in order to prove that their either a DUI or they have violated this Vehicle Code Section 23154.

Consult with Experienced DUI lawyer for Help

As you can see from this Code Section, they take DUI’s in Los Angles County very seriously and if a person gets charged with this Code Section, they definitely want to get an attorney who is seasoned, local, knows how to deal with these DUI’s, knows how to deal with the DMV and knows what it takes to get you the best possible result if you’re facing a DUI case or if you’re facing a violation of Vehicle Code Section 23154 which basically is offenses involving alcohol and drugs when you’re on probation for a DUI.

Hedding Law Firm
633 West Fifth Street
Los Angeles, CA 90071
213-542-0963
www.acecriminalattorneys.com

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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
213-542-0963
www.acecriminalattorneys.com

Related Resources:
California DUI: What are the Penalties?

Why Is A Wet Reckless Better Than A DUI?

When it comes to DUI’s I hear a lot of people talking about wet reckless.  They’re not necessarily that much better than a DUI, although if I had my choice between a DUI and a wet reckless, obviously I would pick a wet reckless.  But there’s other charges that are better than a wet reckless.  For example, a dry reckless is much better because it doesn’t involve alcohol, there’s less punishment, it doesn’t trigger a number of things and it’s not priorable.

Priorability has to do with getting a wet reckless and then in the future you get another DUI within ten years, then it would count as a second-time DUI.  So, that makes the wet reckless priorable and obviously, that’s not something  you want to have on your record.  Insurance companies will not look favorably on you if you have a wet reckless on your record.  It’s probably going to cause your insurance rate to go up.

Dry Reckless & Speed Contest

In my opinion, although a wet reckless is definitely better than a DUI — and I would rather have that on my record than a DUI in Los Angeles — there are still other charges related to DUI’s that you’d rather have on your record than a wet reckless.  In addition to a dry reckless, a speed contest would be a much better charge in Los Angeles than a wet reckless.

Then the next question is, if you’re not able to get a dry reckless or speed contest or something less than a DUI, how could you get a wet reckless?

Factor of Having a  Prior Criminal Record

What it really boils down to — the factors that I’ve seen in practicing DUI defense over the course of the last twenty-five years is — whether you have any prior criminal record involving bad driving or any record that involves a DUI.

If you do, it’s going to make it a lot more difficult to get a wet reckless.  On the other hand, if you have a clean record and your blood alcohol level was close to the legal limit, then you’re in a much stronger position to argue for a wet reckless.

The range, in general — because it varies depending on a bunch  of different factors — but being a .10, .11, .12 and not having any record and not doing anything egregious during your stop for a DUI, puts you in a much stronger position to be able to argue for a wet reckless.

Punishment for Wet Reckless

The next question that we probably see when we deal with these types of offenses is, what are the punishments related to wet reckless’ in Los Angeles.  Basically, if you are convicted of a wet reckless, the punishment is negotiable, meaning the prosecutors can offer whatever they want.

Sometimes they say, we gave you something better than a DUI and therefore, we are not going to change the punishment.  You’re still going to do a fine that’s $390 plus penalty assessment.  You’re still going to do the three-month alcohol program.

You’re still going to be on probation for three years, but we will give you that wet reckless so your record looks a little bit better than if you got a full-fledged DUI in Los Angeles County.

So, that is one thing that the prosecutors can do when it comes to a wet reckless conviction.  Another thing is they can give you a smaller fine.  Instead of $390 plus penalty assessment — which works its way out to about $2,000, they could give you $240 plus penalty assessment which saves you a significant amount of money once they tack that 200% penalty assessment on you related to your DUI matter.

So, one area they could help you is with the fine.  They could also put you on less probation.  For example, they could put you on a two year or one year probation if the prosecutors were so inclined.  That would obviously be better than the typical three to five year probation that comes along with a first-time DUI.

Typically, you’re not going to get jail time on a first-time DUI in Los Angeles.  But, if it’s a second-time DUI, you are going to get mandatory jail time.  You could avoid that jail time by getting wet reckless.  That’s probably one of the biggest benefits that I see that a wet reckless gives you in Los Angeles — is avoiding jail time for a second offense.

Avoiding Alcohol Program

So, that’s one area that you can save as far as a wet reckless goes.  Also, you could sometimes avoid having to do the alcohol program when it comes to a wet reckless conviction.  The only time you’ll need to do the alcohol program is if you want to get your driver’s license back.  Then you’ll have to do it — even if you get a wet reckless and no license suspension.

Consult With Our Los Angeles DUI Lawyers

So, the bottom line is, if you have a situation where you’re arrested for a DUI and you need some help.  Give me call.  We’ll sit down and strategize how to get you the lowest possible resolution.  If a dismissal is in the cards for you, we’ll try to get that.  If not, we’ll try to get you something lower than a first-offense DUI in Los Angeles, and if the wet reckless is the right thing to get based on your circumstances, that’s what we will shoot for.

Hedding Law Firm
Los Angeles DUI Lawyers
633 West Fifth Street
Los Angeles, CA 90071
213-542-0963

Related Resources:
How can I get my DUI reduced to reckless driving?
DUI Reportability Requirements

Will You Get Jail Time For Your DUI In Los Angeles?

This is a big question on people’s minds because obviously, nobody wants to go to jail.  It’s very confining and very stressful.  There are dangerous criminals in jail and it’s an unsafe place.  So, this is one of the biggest fears people have when they are arrested for a DUI in Los Angeles — whether or not they’re going to go to jail.  Believe it or not, whether you go to jail depends on a bunch of different factors.

DUI Courthouse and Prior Criminal Record

One is the courthouse where your case is pending.  That’s one of the first things you want to talk to your attorney about when you sit down with them — is this the type of courthouse that’s going to try to throw me in jail?  Are these the judges that do that type of thing on a first-time DUI?  Another factor is, obviously if you have any prior criminal record.

If you have prior driving-related offenses and/or prior DUI convictions on your record, then you can probably expect that the prosecutors are going to try to put you in jail in Los Angeles and you’re going to want to use your DUI defense attorney to pull out all the stops to prevent that from happening.

Public Safety Issues and Conduct Toward Police

Another thing they’re going to look at is the DUI itself.  How dangerous were you to the public?  That’s one of the big things the prosecutors and judges look at when deciding whether to throw somebody in jail to teach them a lesson for a DUI.  Were you swerving all over the road?  Did you get in an accident?  Were you going very fast on the road or on the freeway?

They’re going to look at how you performed on the field sobriety tests.  The prosecutors are going to look at how you acted with the police.  Sometimes the police put a lot of bad stuff in their police report in an effort to try to make you look bad because you were belligerent with them, didn’t cooperate with them.

I’ve had clients spit on the police, curse them out, threaten the police.  These are obviously all things that would make it much more likely that you’re going to end up with jail time when it comes to a DUI.

First Time DUI Offenders Don’t Typically Serve Jail Time

All that being said, all first-time DUI’s in Los Angeles, most of the time it’s a fair statement — and I’ve been doing this for twenty-five years, so I should know — it’s a fair statement that you are not going to get any jail time under that circumstance and you will be able to avoid having your freedom taken away.

So, that’s good news for those people who are worried about going to jail, but the best way to assess whether you’re going to go to jail or not, is to go and sit down with a DUI defense attorney who is local and understands the jurisdiction and the courthouse where your case is pending and then that attorney will be able to give you a good feel about your chances of going to jail in Los Angeles for a DUI; what can be done now before you go to court to make it less likely that you’re going to go to jail, and to be able to evaluate your case, your circumstances to see whether your case is the type of case where jail time will be sought by the prosecutors and judges.

Jail Alternatives

I get cases all the time where it is the type of case where the judge is going to try to give jail time, and we try to come up with not only alternative plans for jail, but also ways to show the prosecutor and judge that your actions were an aberration.  They’re likely to never happen again.  They don’t need to put you in jail to teach you a lesson.  This is what we have to show them.

We have to realize when we’re concerned about jail in a DUI in Los Angeles, that the prosecutors and judges are worried themselves to a degree, and if they give somebody jail time or don’t give somebody jail time, how that will play out in the future.  Will the person do something else more dangerous and put more lives at risk if they don’t punish them with jail.

So, if we can show them that they don’t need to give you jail time we’re in a very strong position to get you the result that you want and need. Contact our Los Angeles DUI attorneys to review your case and legal options.

Hedding Law Firm
Los Angeles DUI Lawyers
633 West Fifth Street
Los Angeles, CA 90071
213-542-0963

Related Resources:
DUI Punishments and Penalties

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Roles Of The DMV And Criminal Court Relating To DUI ‘s

The court and the DMV work together when it comes to DUI’s in Los Angeles, California.  In fact, the court’s computer is hooked up to the DMV’s computer. So, anytime anybody gets convicted for a DUI in Los Angeles, that information is transmitted to the California Department of Motor Vehicles.  So, that’s why when people are convicted of a DUI — even if the DMV didn’t take their license administratively, that conviction is going to trigger a suspension depending on whether it’s the person’s first, second, third or fourth DUI in Los Angeles.

DMV and Suspension of California Driver’s License

So, when it comes to the DMV, they’re pretty much dealing with a person’s license.  I have a lot of client’s that say to me, why don’t we get the judge to not suspend my license.  I say, it’s not really up to the judge.  It’s up to the Department of Motor Vehicles.

They don’t really interfere with the DMV.  The court gives information to the DMV and also, the court will enforce suspensions by the DMV.  If somebody gets caught driving on a suspended license, the court will criminally prosecute that person by using the prosecutors and court system.  So, in that respect, the court pretty much backs-up the DMV so to speak.

When you’re comparing the court and the Department of Motor Vehicles in Los Angeles, know that the DMV deals with the license and any suspension and getting the license back and any restrictions that are placed on your vehicle.

For example, they can make you put an ignition interlock device in your car and you have to blow into it in order to start the car and they could suspend your driver’s license.

Criminal Courts are Responsible for DUI Punishment

The court, on the other hand, as it relates to DUI’s in Los Angeles, is responsible for punishment if they find that you’re guilty of a DUI, and also terms and conditions of probation.  They’re also responsible for whether you get any type of a criminal record related to your DUI arrest.

For example, a first-time DUI, pursuant to California Vehicle Code Section 23152 is a misdemeanor.  You’re going to get a couple of points on your record from the DMV and the court will also give you a conviction.

So, you’ll have a criminal misdemeanor conviction and in addition to that, the court can punish you with jail time, fines, community service, Caltrans, community labor, other restrictions like a scram bracelet.  They could put you on probation.

They can order you not to drink alcohol while you’re on probation.  There’s a whole host of things that the court has the power to do versus the DMV.

DMV and Criminal Courts Work Together

But, if you ever get confused about it, know that the court deals with your record and punishment for the DUI in Los Angeles; whereas, the DMV deals with what, if anything, will happen to your driver’s license and also whether you can get your driver’s license back and making people install ignition interlock devices on their vehicles related to DUI cases.

So, both the court and the DMV work together in a lot of ways.  The court is kind of the big brother of the DMV in that they give the DMV teeth.  Because if the DMV suspends your license and you get caught driving, the court then comes in to back them up and punish you.

A lot of times you’ll get charged with a misdemeanor – Vehicle Code Section 14601.2 driving on a suspended license – and the bigger problem with that is if it relates to a DUI, there’s a mandatory ten days in jail and a host of other punishments that can come along with it.

Contact our Los Angeles DUI Lawyers for Help

So, if you have a DUI you definitely want to get an attorney to untangle this mess with the DMV and the court system so that you can end up with the best result and get yourself free from both the DMV and the court as quickly as possible.

Hedding Law Firm
Los Angeles DUI Lawyers
633 West Fifth Street
Los Angeles, CA 90071
213-542-0963

Related Resources:
Los Angeles County Criminal Courts
Suspended California Drivers License

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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
213-542-0963

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

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