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.
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.
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.