Driving under the influence in Los Angeles is a charge that can result in you serving time in jail or prison, you paying off a large fine or you making significant changes to your lifestyle. Some drivers will even lose their licenses. Though you often hear stories about people charged with a DUI while sitting in a parked car or while in the backseat of a car, Los Angeles prosecutors must prove that you both operated a motor vehicle and were under the influence for a DUI charge to stick. The penalties that you face will depend on the circumstances of your case.
Finding a DUI lawyer with experience in handling Los Angeles cases is the key to getting penalties that you can live with and those that will not disrupt your life. The sooner you get help, the sooner you’ll know exactly how that DUI will impact your life, which can help you sleep at night. It’s important that you look at some of the aggravating factors that can impact your sentencing before you meet with a lawyer.
Your Maximum Speed
One factor that can impact your sentencing is the maximum or top speed that police clocked you at before pulling over your vehicle. Driving at a higher speed can result in charges of reckless or negligent driving. To meet a reckless driving charge, you must drive at a speed much higher than the posted limit.
If you have any one DUI on your record, the penalties you face will likely be much higher. The court can enlarge the potential jail time you face and the amount of fines that you pay. Judges may ignore or overlook DUI charges that are seven to 10 years old or older.
Kids in the Vehicle
One of the biggest factors that the court will look at is whether you had any kids in your car. The law refers to children as anyone who is under the age of 18. This can result in a charge of child endangerment in addition to the DUI.
Though you may get a DUI because an officer pulled you over on a city street, you may get a DUI because you caused an accident. If one or more people suffered injuries in that accident, you may face a DUI and some type of felony charge too.
Refusing to Take an Alcohol Test
Officers at the scene can ask you to take a breathalyzer test or a field sobriety test to determine if you have any alcohol in your system. Though you can refuse to take any of these tests, this does give the officers the right to take you back to the station. If you refuse to take a test at the station, the officers will warn you that this can result in you facing additional fines or penalties.
The main problem with refusing to take one of these tests is that the prosecution can then charge you for failing to take one. You will then face two separate charges, and the court does not necessarily need to combine those charges into one case. The court can actually sentence you on the refusal and DUI separately.
The court will also consider any restrictions on your license as an aggravating factor. If you had a DUI in the past, the court might limit where you can drive, which might lead to an officer catching you outside of this area. Courts often placed those convicted of a DUI on probation, but a second charge can lead to you serving jail time instead of getting probation.
If arrested for a DUI and caught driving on a suspended license, the court can charge you with two separate offenses. You’ll face a charge of driving on a suspended license or without a license as well as the DUI.
A DUI can impact your life in any number of ways and leave you spending a weekend in jail, with restrictions on where you can drive and with fines that you cannot afford to pay. A Los Angeles DUI lawyer can tell exactly how a DUI charge can change your life and what you can do to minimize those changes. At H&M Law, we highly recommend that you call us for a consultation when you face a DUI charge with any of these aggravating factors.