DUI Defense

DUI Defense

DUI Information

The DUI laws in California continue to get more strict as time passes.  If you have been charged with a DUI, it is not something to take lightly.  Although, keep in mind that you are not alone as good people get charged with DUI’s every day.  It is important to hire an attorney who is familiar with DUI law (and the lewpoles), the Courts in California, the DMV, and the Process as a whole.  Whether this is your first offense, or you are looking at a second, third, or fourth offense, I understand what you are going through. I can help you through the legal process to keep your mind at ease and get you a favorable result for your case.

 

I am extremely experienced in DUI cases throughout Southern California.  The majority of first, second or third DUI  offenses are misdemeanor charges.  When charged with a misdemeanor, I am able to attend Court hearings and negotiate without the client present so you will be able to go on with your daily life while I handle your case.  I investigate and conduct an in-depth analysis for each case my firm handles to explore a wide range of possible defenses.  I understand the procedures and policies of the police agencies and the mistakes they may have made at the time of your arrest.  My firm’s goal is to obtain the most successful outcome with the least amount of inconvenience to you and your personal life.

Prior to going to Court on your behalf, I will go over your case in detail with you to find out what happened leading up to, and after  your arrest.   After every hearing, I will update you on the status of your case and analyze it with you.  I understand that your record and your freedom mean a great deal to you, and will research, investigate, argue and litigate aggressively on your behalf to ensure an optimal result for you.

Understanding The DUI Laws In California

1)  DUI Charge, Over 21 Years Of Age
*NOTE: VC 23152 was amended as of January 1, 2017. If arrested for DUI after January 1, 2017, click here: AMENDED VC 23152

Understanding the DUI Laws in California can be tricky if you are not familiar with them, and most people are not.  If you are over 21 years of age, and charged with a DUI involving only alcohol, the citation you receive may list two separate charges related to the DUI.  VC 23152(a), and VC 23152(b).  The “VC” portion stands for “Vehicle Code,” which is the set of laws in California that controls, among other things, DUI laws.

2)  Breaking down the subsections of the DUI statute VC 23152 based on the allegations.  

VC 23152(a) is a DUI alcohol charge in California that covers driving under the influence of alcohol without requiring a minimum blood alcohol content .  For example, a person can be convicted of this charge if they were under the influence of alcohol and  had a Blood Alcohol Content of 0.07.

VC 23152(b) is a more specific DUI charge in California and relates only to alcohol.  To be charged with this, a person must have a Blood Alcohol Level of 0.08 or higher.  For example, if after getting arrested, a person submits to a Breath Test and the results come back at 0.10, the cop will list both charges, VC 23152(a) and VC 23152(b) on the citation.  Keep in mind that if a person submits to a blood test as opposed to a breath test, the cop will only list VC 23152(a) on the citation.  But, if the results come back at 0.08 or higher, the Court prosecutor will then add the VC 23152(b) charge.

If you are a commercial driver and pulled over for DUI while driving a commercial vehicle, you can be charged under VC 23152(d) which lowers the legal blood alcohol content limit to .04.  Note that if you have a commercial drivers license and get pulled over for DUI while driving a non-commercial vehicle, then this subsection would not apply to you.  That being said, a DUI conviction has greater negative effect on a commercial driver license than it does a non-commercial driver license regardless of which DUI section you are convicted of.

VC 23152(e) and (f) are DUI charges that involve drugs or a combination of drugs and alcohol.  Note that you can be arrested and charged with DUI under these section if a cop believes that you were driving a car under the influence of a drug, including marijuana or prescription medication.

3)  PENALTIES for VC 23152

The subsections of VC 23152 each carry the same penalties for the most part, and they vary depending on whether this is your first offense, or you have received previous DUI’s within the last 10 years of your arrest.  There are different variances that can come into play with driver license penalties if there are DUI enhancements  (ie.  refusal, .15/.20 or higher BAC, under 21 years of age) or if you have a commercial driver license.

First Offense DUI: If convicted of a first offense DUI in California, the penalty may include anywhere between 48 hours to 6 months in jail, between 3 to 5 years probation, a fine between $390 to $1,000 plus penalty assessments*, a driver license suspension ranging from 6 months to a year, and an alcohol course ranging from 3 months to 9 months in length.  Depending on the county of your conviction, the DMV will require a 5 month Interlock Device (this includes Los Angeles County).  The Court also has the power to impound your car, require an IID (Ignition Interlock Device), and take other additional action (ie. community labor, community service, AA meetings, etc).

*Penalty Assessments are fees and taxes that California Courts add to a fine.  Currently, the penalty assessments are approximately 4 and a 1/2 times the actual fine.  That is why it is important to keep those fines as low as possible.  A $390 fine with penalty assessment will total approximately $2,000, but a $1,000 fine will be considerably more than that once fees and penalty assessments are added!

Second Offense DUI: If convicted of a second offense DUI in California, the penalty may include anywhere between 96 hours to 1 year in jail, between 3 to 5 years probation, a 2 year driver license suspension, a fine between $390 to $1,000 plus penalty assessments*, and an 18 month alcohol program.  Depending on the county of your conviction, the DMV will require a 1 year Interlock Device (this includes Los Angeles County). The Court also has the power to impound your car, require an IID (Ignition Interlock Device), and take other additional action (ie. community labor, community service, AA meetings, etc)..

It is important to hire an attorney that you feel confident will defend you vigorously in Court.  Although no Attorney can guarantee results, I know how to get DUI charges dismissed and minimize consequences and have done so time and time again.  If retained, in most cases I can appear on your behalf so you don’t have to miss work, school or other responsibilities you have.  I know the importance of your freedom and how jail time can affect your job, among other things, and I will fight on your behalf.  Note that if convicted of a 2nd DUI, it is possible to get an Interlock restricted license after 90 days.

Third Offense DUI:  If convicted of a second offense DUI in California, the penalty may include anywhere between 120 days to 1 year in jail, between 3 to 5 years probation, a 3 year driver license revocation, a fine between $390 to $1,000 plus penalty assessments*, and an 18 month alcohol program.  Depending on the county of your conviction, the DMV will require a 2 year Interlock Device (this includes Los Angeles County). The Court also has the power to impound your car, require an IID (Ignition Interlock Device), and take other additional action (ie. community labor, community service, AA meetings, etc).  This also raises the issue of being labeled a “Habitual Traffic Offender” which can cause additional penalties and future consequences.  Note that if convicted of a 3rd DUI, it is possible to get an Interlock restricted license after 6 months.

Fourth DUI (or more):  Where as a first, second or third DUI are all generally filed as misdemeanors (if no injury causing accident), a fourth DUI can be filed as a felony elevating the potential consequences dramatically including sentenced to prison, a four year driver license revocation, as well as other penalties listed for a third offense DUI. It is possible to mitigate consequences on a fourth DUI, have it reduced to a misdemeanor DUI (or lower) and avoid a sentence to prison. Note that if convicted of a 4th DUI, it is possible to get an Interlock restricted license after 12 months.

4)  DRIVING UNDER INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL OR DRUGS –  OPERATIVE JANUARY 1, 2017
REVISED DUI Statute VC 23152.  If you were arrested after January 1, 2017, the subsection you may be charged under VC 23152 for DUI is specified below.

(a) It is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage to drive a vehicle.

(b) It is unlawful for a person who has 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a vehicle.

For purposes of this article and Section 34501.16, percent, by weight, of alcohol in a person’s blood is based upon grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath.

In any prosecution under this subdivision, it is a rebuttable presumption that the person had 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood at the time of driving the vehicle if the person had 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood at the time of the performance of a chemical test within three hours after the driving.

(c) It is unlawful for a person who is addicted to the use of any drug to drive a vehicle. This subdivision shall not apply to a person who is participating in a narcotic treatment program approved pursuant to Article 3 (commencing with Section 11875) of Chapter 1 of Part 3 of Division 10.5 of the Health and Safety Code.

(d) It is unlawful for a person who has 0.04 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a commercial motor vehicle, as defined in Section 15210. In a prosecution under this subdivision, it is a rebuttable presumption that the person had 0.04 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood at the time of driving the vehicle if the person had 0.04 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood at the time of the performance of a chemical test within three hours after the driving.

(e) Commencing July 1, 2018, it shall be unlawful for a person who has 0.04 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a motor vehicle when a passenger for hire is a passenger in the vehicle at the time of the offense. For purposes of this subdivision, “passenger for hire” means a passenger for whom consideration is contributed or expected as a condition of carriage in the vehicle, whether directly or indirectly flowing to the owner, operator, agent, or any other person having an interest in the vehicle. In a prosecution under this subdivision, it is a rebuttable presumption that the person had 0.04 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood at the time of driving the vehicle if the person had 0.04 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood at the time of the performance of a chemical test within three hours after the driving.

(f) It is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any drug to drive a vehicle.

(g) It is unlawful for a person who is under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug to drive a vehicle.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 765, Sec. 1. (AB 2687) Effective January 1, 2017.)

5)  DUI causing Injury

A DUI causing injury can be charged under VC 23153 and has more potential consequences than a VC 23152 non-injury DUI.  DUI causing injury can be filed as a felony or misdemeanor.  Usually the extent of the injury determines how the case is filed, although there is inconsistency on VC 23153 filings and even minor injuries are sometimes filed as felonies.

6)  DUI under 21 years of age

If you are under 21 years old and are suspected of DUI, in addition to being charged under VC 23152 and VC 23153, you can be charged under VC 23136 (Driving with a .01 or higher blood alcohol content level) or VC 23140 (Driving with a .05 or higher blood alcohol content).  Both of those charges are infractions, but can have serious potential consequences including a one year driver license suspension on a first offense conviction of either of those.

If you were arrested and charged with a DUI or DUI causing injury, call Attorney Phil Hache at 818-336-1384 to discuss your situation in more detail.