Los Angeles DUI Lawyer
At El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers, our Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer is ready to fight for your rights, future, and freedom. A drunk driving charge is a serious matter and you need a skilled advocate on your side. Professional representation is a must if you or your loved one were arrested and charged with intoxicated driving. To set up a completely confidential case review with a top California drunk driving defense attorney, please contact our Los Angeles office today.
What to Do If You are Arrested for a DUI in Southern California
Were you arrested and charged with intoxicated driving? You are certainly not alone. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that approximately one percent of all licensed drivers are arrested for a DWI nationwide each year. Though not unusual, a DWI arrest is a very serious matter. You need to know what to do to protect your rights, your license, and your future. Here are four things that you need to do if you are arrested for a DWI charge in Los Angeles:
- Safely Stop Your Vehicle, Present Your Information: If you are pulled over by a law enforcement officer and suspect that you may be arrested for a DWI in Southern California, the first thing you should do is safely stop your vehicle. This means pulling over to a safe location, turning off your engine, and following the officer’s instructions. It is important to present your driver’s license, registration, and insurance information as required. Be polite and cooperative with the officer. Never attempt to evade or resist an arrest.
- Know Your Right to Remain Silent: The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides clear legal protections. You have the right not to incriminate yourself. You are never required to answer a police officer’s questions. It is not in your best interest to do so. That you declined to answer cannot be used as evidence of guilt in a criminal DWI case.
- Do Not Consent to a Search of Your Vehicle: You have the right to refuse a search of your vehicle. If the officer asks to search your vehicle, you should politely decline and tell the officer that you do not consent to the search. If the officer insists on searching your vehicle, do not physically resist, simply state your objection. You can contest a non-consensual search in court under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
- Get Help From a Los Angeles DUI Defense Attorney: Once you are arrested, it is important to contact a Los Angeles DUI defense attorney as soon as possible. A defense attorney can advise you of your rights and options, represent you in court, and work to minimize the potential penalties and consequences of a DUI conviction. Your Los Angeles DWI defense attorney will ensure that you are treated fairly.
An Overview of DUI Charges in California
In California, all motorists are required to refrain from driving while under the influence. Under California law (Vehicle Code 23152(a)), “it is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage to drive a vehicle.” Any motorist with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher is intoxicated. A driver could also be arrested and charged with an impaired driving offense if they are under the influence of narcotics.
Note: The maximum allowable legal limit is lower in certain circumstances in California. For drivers operating a commercial vehicle, the maximum BAC limit is 0.04. For underage drivers (under 21), the maximum BAC limit is 0.02.
What to Know About DUI Penalties in California
In California, the penalties associated with a DUI conviction will vary based on several key factors. The most important factor is the driver’s previous history of drunk driving offenses or lack thereof. Here is an overview of the baseline penalties for a DUI conviction in Los Angeles, CA:
- First Offense: A four-month driver’s license suspension, fines and fees of up to $3,600, the possible requirement to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle, and up to six months in jail.
- Second Offense: A two-year driver’s license suspension, fines and fees of up to $4,00, the automatic requirement to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle, and up to one year in jail.
- Third Offense: A three-year driver’s license suspension, fines and fees of up to $18,000, the automatic requirement to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle, and up to one year in jail or 16 months in state prison.
- Fourth Offense: A four-year driver’s license suspension with the possibility of a permanent revocation, fines and fees of up to $18,000, the automatic requirement to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle, up to 16 months in state prison, and status as a convicted felon.
A DUI conviction can carry other adverse ramifications as well. For example, your auto insurance rates may skyrocket if you are convicted of a DUI in Los Angeles. There are also other factors that could result in a DUI charge being more serious, potentially even a felony criminal offense. For example, a motorist arrested for a DUI with a child in the car will face a more serious offense. Likewise, an intoxicated driver who causes an accident resulting in a severe bodily injury or a fatality will likely face a very serious felony criminal offense.
Why Rely On the Los Angeles DUI Defense Attorneys at El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers?
For many people, a DWI arrest is their first experience with the criminal justice system. Being arrested and charged with a drunk driving offense is stressful, confusing, and even overwhelming. You do not have to go through the entire process alone. At El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers, we will protect you and your future. Among other things, our Los Angeles DWI defense attorney can:
- Answer your questions and explain your legal rights/legal options;
- Investigate the DWI charges, gathering documents, records, and other evidence;
- Represent you in all correspondence/negotiations with police and prosecutors; and
- Develop a fully personalized strategy focused entirely on getting the best outcome.
DWI Charges in California: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do I Have to Take a DWI Breath Test in California?
In California, drivers are considered to have given “implied consent” to take a chemical test, such as a breath test, for alcohol or drug impairment if they are arrested for driving under the influence (DUI). This means that if you are arrested for DUI, you may be required to take a chemical test to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC) level.
Technically, you could “refuse” to give a breath sample. However, doing so carries significant penalties. A DWI breath test refusal in Los Angeles can result in an automatic suspension of your license for one year with no possibility of getting a restricted license. Further, your refusal to take a breath test could also be used as evidence in a DWI case.
Do I Have to Take a Field Sobriety Test in California?
No. In California, you do not have to take a field sobriety test (FST) if you are pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI). These tests are considered voluntary, meaning that you have the right to refuse them without any legal repercussions.
Field Sobriety Tests are usually a series of physical and cognitive tests, designed to assess a driver’s ability to perform basic physical tasks, such as walking heel-to-toe, standing on one leg, and following a moving object with your eyes. The problem with these tests is that they are not reliable.
Unlike with a breath test, there is no implied consent law for field sobriety tests. That you declined to take a field sobriety test will not lead to the automatic suspension of your driver’s license.
Should I Accept a Plea Bargain in a Los Angeles DWI Case?
It depends. A plea bargain, also known as a plea agreement, is a deal that a defendant agrees to make with the prosecution, where they plead guilty to a reduced charge or sentence, in exchange for cooperation or some other advantage. A plea deal may or may not be the right approach for your drunk driving or drugged driving case. You should always consult with an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer. Your attorney will help you evaluate your options and, if appropriate, negotiate a favorable plea agreement.
Contact Our Los Angeles DWI Defense Lawyer Today
At El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers, our Los Angeles DWI defense attorneys provide top-quality, personalized legal guidance and support to our clients. If you or your loved one was arrested on DWI charges, we are ready to help. Reach out to us by phone or connect with us online to set up a fully confidential, no-commitment consultation. From our Los Angeles office, we defend drunk driving and drugged driving charges throughout Southern California.
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