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What is at Stake in a Los Angeles DUI Case?

Posted by Ronald D. Hedding | Dec 15, 2021

I've handled thousands of DUI cases throughout the last nearly 30 years, and there are many things at stake.  Your freedom is at stake, depending on what happened.

You could do typically up to a year in jail if it's a misdemeanor case and up to three years in prison if it's a felony case. If you cause great bodily injury to somebody, that's an additional three years on top of the three years you're facing for the felony DUI.

What is at Stake in a Los Angeles DUI Case?

There is a lot at stake.  Your driver's license is at stake, and you could end up in a situation where you lose your driver's license for many months -- even years -- depending on whether it's your first, second, third, or fourth DUI

Your future is at stake because if somebody sees that you have a DUI on your record, they will look at you in a different way than someone who has a clean record.

The bottom line is that you want to do everything you can if you get arrested for a DUI to make sure that you properly defend yourself. 

Part of that is hiring the best criminal defense attorney you can find. Someone who has local knowledge, skill in fighting cases, and dealt with the type of case you have.

Somebody who has dealt with the prosecutor you're dealing with -- there's a whole host of things that you have to consider.  Our Los Angeles DUI lawyers will take a closer look below.

California Vehicle Code 23152 VC

Prosecutors use two primary DUI laws to file charges against someone driving under the Influence.

California Vehicle Code 23152 VC

Vehicle Code 23152(a) VC criminalizes driving under the influence of alcohol, and Vehicle Code 23152(b) VC makes it a crime to go with a BAC of .08% or higher. Most people are charged with both statutes.

Most DUI cases in California are prosecuted as a misdemeanor. Still, they could be filed as a felony under certain situations, such as prior DUIs on your record and if someone was injured.

You must contact the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) within ten days of your arrest and request a DMV hearing.

If you fail to do this, you will forfeit your right to a hearing, and your driver's license will automatically go into suspension after 30 days. If you retain a DUI attorney, they can request the hearing on your behalf.

If you are convicted of VC 23152 driving under the influence, the penalties you will receive will depend on different factors, such as whether someone is injured and whether you have prior DUIs on your record.

Some DUI convictions will result in jail time. Typically, you can still drive your car but could be required to install an ignition interlock device (IID).

California Vehicle Code 23153 VC

The crime of DUI causing injury is defined under California Vehicle Code 23153 as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and causing physical harm to someone.

VC 23153 is a “wobbler” that can be filed as a misdemeanor or felony crime. Put simply, DUI causing injury is the more severe form of a traditional VC 23152 DUI charge.

To be found guilty of VC 23153(a), a prosecutor has to prove you could not drive with the ordinary caution of a sober driver. See CALCRIM 2100 Jury Instructions. 

On the other hand, vehicle Code 23153(b) count will depend on a scientific determination you had had a blood alcohol concentration at the time of driving that was .08% by weight or higher. See CALCRIM 2012 Jury Instructions. In the case of a misdemeanor prosecution for DUI causing injury, the potential penalties include:

  • Up to one year in county jail,
  • A maximum fine of up to $5,000,
  • Alcohol or drug program,
  • Driver's license suspension,

In a VC 23153 felony prosecution, however, the penalties include the following:

  • Up to four years in a California state prison,
  • A maximum fine of up to $5,000,
  • DUI school that is Court-approved,
  • Driver's license revocation,
  • Habitual traffic offender,
  • Victim restitution.

Further, there is a consecutive three to six-year prison sentence if the victim suffers great bodily injury or a consecutive one-year sentence for each additional person who sustained an injury.

Related California Offenses 

  • Vehicle Code 20002 VC – misdemeanor hit and run,
  • Vehicle Code 20001 VC – felony hit and run,
  • Penal Code 191.5(a) – gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated,
  • Penal Code 191.5(b) – vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated,
  • Penal Code 273a – child endangerment.

Defense Strategy for DUI Charges

So, with all of these things at stake, finding the best DUI defense attorney is crucial. 

That's why I've put some videos on my website so you can see how I interact because the attorney that you choose is going to talk to the prosecutors, is going to be the one who talks to the judge, is going to be the one fighting for you and representing your interests.

Defense Strategy for California DUI Charges

You are trying to keep you out of jail, keep you out of prison, and try to save your driver's license -- basically, trying to mitigate and minimize the effects of the DUI case.

I invite you to come and sit down with me.  I've been doing this for nearly 30 years.  I've worked for the prosecutors early in my career.  I worked for a judge earlier in my career, and then in 1994, I handled cases just like yours with a great degree of success.

When facing so many different consequences, you must find an attorney who will put your interests at heart, which will fight for you; that is someone you paid to make the right moves and get you the best rest.

Pick up the phone now if you've got a DUI anywhere in LA county.  Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding.  I stand at the ready to help you.

Hedding Law Firm is based in Los Angeles County and offers a free case review by calling 213-542-0963, or you can fill out our contact form.

About the Author

Ronald D. Hedding

What Makes Ronald Hedding Uniquely Qualified To Represent You? I've been practicing criminal defense for almost 30 years and have handled thousands of cases, including all types of state and federal sex crime cases. All consultations are discreet and confidential.

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Hedding Law Firm is committed to answering your questions about DUI law issues in California and throughout the United States.

I'll privately discuss your case with you at your convenience. All consultations are free, discreet, and confidential. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.