L os Angeles First Time DUI Lawyers
To convict you of a DUI in Los Angeles, the prosecution is required to prove three things beyond a reasonable doubt. Those are that:
- You were operating a motor vehicle
- While under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Or you had a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher at the time of operation
Your attorney should first look to determine if there was probable cause for you to be stopped. Probable cause might consist of speeding, failure to signal when changing lanes or even a burned out tail light or brake light.
A person can even be charged with a DUI when their blood alcohol level is less than .08 if he or she showed signs of driving under the influence or exhibited other objective signs of being under the influence.
First time DUI sentencing
A first time DUI in California is ordinarily charged as a misdemeanor. Because it’s punishable by a jail sentence, the right to a jury trial is triggered. Other possible penalties can include but not be limited to:
- A mandatory six month driver’s license suspension
- Mandatory alcohol counseling and education for three to nine months
- Three to five years of probation
- A fine not to exceed $2,000
On top of these penalties, a DUI conviction will appear in any criminal background checks that are performed on you. Your car insurance rates will rise dramatically too.
Aggravating factors can be considered in sentencing
If there are aggravating facts or circumstances, judges have wide ranging sentencing options for first time DUI offenders. Different policies might be in effect in different counties, especially if a blood alcohol level is hovering at or around .15 percent or higher. Just some aggravating facts and circumstances that sentencing judges take into consideration with first time DUI offenders could be when:
- Breath testing was refused
- He or she was involved in an accident
- There were any injuries in an accident
- He or she was driving at a high rate of speed
- Children under 14 were in their vehicle
- The defendant was under the age of 21 at the time of the offense
If a driver is determined to have a blood alcohol content above .08 and causes an accident resulting in personal injury, that individual can be charged with a felony. If convicted of felony DUI, a person can face 16 months to 10 years in prison with the possibility of consecutive terms. That depends on how many people were injured and the extent of their injuries. Additional enhanced sentencing provisions also apply on top of the prison sentence.
Rather than incarceration in jail or a state prison, alternative sentencing is available. We strongly recommend that you contact us right away after your DUI arrest for a free consultation and case evaluation. There are many defenses to DUI charges. With our help, you might not even be found guilty of a DUI. All charges against you might even be dismissed.
Don’t submit to field sobriety tests at the scene, and refuse breath testing with a portable breath testing device. The law doesn’t require you to submit to those tests. Don’t admit to having consumed alcohol, and be polite with your refusals. It’s likely that your entire stop will be video taped. On a first time DUI, our recommendation is that you don’t submit to breath testing at the station either. Invoke your rights and don’t give prosecutors the evidence that they need to convict you with. Call us right away after any DUI arrest, and protect your rights, reputation and future.