When you're looking for the best, look no further. I've been doing this for 30 years, representing those charged with DUIs in Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley. The two main courts in the Valley are Van Nuys and San Fernando, and there are hundreds of DUIs prosecuted every month there. So, if you want the best, your best bet is to get somebody who is local and knows the court.
My office is in Encino, about five to ten minutes away from the court, depending on traffic. I'm very easy to meet with. Having been in the community for nearly 30 years -- dealing with the judges and prosecutors -- I think the local aspect gives The Hedding Law Firm a massive advantage over other law firms.
Also, another big thing that has the top defense attorney is knowledge of the courts. Not just being local and knowing the courts, but you've got to know the judges and prosecutors, and you have to know how to handle DUI cases depending on what you're looking at.
There are all sorts of different cases. There are felony DUIs where there's a bad injury. There are hit-and-run DUIs. There are DUIs where somebody dies. So, all sorts of things can happen when you're talking about a DUI case in LA County and the San Fernando Valley. That local knowledge -- the knowledge of the judges and prosecutors is crucial.
California has numerous laws prohibiting driving under the influence, such as the following:
- Vehicle Code 23152(a) - driving under the influence;
- Vehicle Code 23152(b) - driving with blood alcohol content 0.08%, or more;
- Vehicle Code 23152(f) - driving under the influence of drugs.
California Vehicle Code 23153 defines the crime of DUI as causing injury. This law makes driving under the influence more serious when somebody was injured due to your DUI. VC 23153 is described as somebody driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and causing physical harm to another person as a result. Our Los Angeles DUI lawyers will review further below.
Which Type of DUI Cases Usually End with Jail Time?
A first-time DUI in Los Angeles County will almost always NOT require any jail time, but there are some circumstances where you're looking at jail time. For example, if you get into an accident and there's an injury. In this case, prosecutors will typically want to put you in jail.
They're going to charge you with a felony case that usually carries a 90-day minimum jail sentence for any DUI that involves a serious enough injury. Another situation where you will probably receive some jail time in a DUI case is if you caused a great bodily injury on somebody, which is described as a significant injury.
A great bodily injury is much more than bruises. It has to be some broken bone or a severe laceration, something significant and severe, but a GBI allegation in a DUI case is serious because it causes you to go to a California state prison.
It will also result in a strike on your record, a violent felony, and you will serve 85% of your sentence. Another scenario where you could receive prison or jail time is driving fast during a DUI, and then an accident results.
Felony DUI Causing Death
Prosecutors will seek felony driving under the influence charges when you cause the death of another person. They will typically use California Penal Code 191.5 PC. Subsection (a) defines gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, and Penal Code 191.5(b) defines ordinary vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.
Gross vehicular manslaughter includes the critical element of the crime of gross negligence to the ordinary vehicular manslaughter crime. A felony DUI causing death case means the prosecutors must prove certain factors beyond a reasonable doubt.
Prosecutors could also decide to seek a felony DUI crime causing death under California Penal Code 187 PC. This murder charge is a second-degree Watson murder after the California Supreme Court case with the same name.
In that case, the Watson ruling held that drunk driving with a prior DUI conviction could be considered “malice aforethought,” which is required for a Penal Code 187 PC second-degree murder conviction.
Experienced DUI Litigator
I also think, believe it or not, when it comes to DUIs, you want a litigator. You want somebody who's fought trials and has been successful, not just somebody who's a DUI attorney. Because there is an unwritten situation when it comes to DUIs, meaning, a lot of these DUI attorneys don't try cases because most DUIs don't go to trial, so they don't know how to prosecute a case.
Without knowing how to prosecute a case, you can't point things out to the prosecutor that can get you a better resolution in the case. It's like going into a war with a gun that's unloaded. You've got to be able to pull the trigger.
You've got to be able to get in the prosecutor's face when they're being unfair with your client, trying to send them to jail and take their driver's license away, and a whole host of other things they're able to do.
So, trial knowledge is crucial. I've done nearly 250 jury trials starting in 1994. That is a broad range of cases and skills that can be utilized in your case. The more dangerous, the more likely the prosecution will want to punish you with jail or prison time. Anytime you get a 4th time DUI, that will be a felony, and you're going to be looking at prison time or jail time.
Also, even 2nd and 3rd-time DUIs can result in jail time. A 2nd time DUI carries a mandatory minimum of 48 hours in jail, and on a 3rd time DUI, there's a mandatory minimum of 120 days in prison.
California is one of the toughest states when it comes to DUIs. Los Angeles is no different. There are a lot of DUI cases here. It's a vast metropolis, and the prosecutors -- both the City Attorneys and District Attorneys will punish defendants with jail time under certain circumstances. Simply put, you need an experienced negotiator to have the best chance at a favorable outcome.
If you have a clean record, don't get in an accident, and don't hurt anybody, you have a perfect chance of avoiding jail. So, if you want the best, you've come to the right place. Pick up the phone. Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding. I will put my skills to work for you. Hedding Law Firm is located in Los Angeles County and offers a free case consultation by phone or fill out our contact form.