Does my Prior DUI Have an Effect on Current DUI Charges?
When someone is arrested and charged with a DUI in Los Angeles, there are several steps taken before your case is prosecuted. The officers who arrest you gather the evidence they find at the scene, which could include anything from a witness who watched you drinking from a beer bottle as you drove down the freeway, the results of your field sobriety tests, or even your own admission you were drinking and driving. When they have their evidence and make an arrest, they send the evidence to the prosecutor’s office so he or she can make the decision whether to bring your case to court.
If the evidence is insufficient, your charges might be dropped immediately and nothing comes of your DUI. If the evidence is substantial or telling, the prosecutor will bring your case to court and work on a conviction. This conviction could send you to jail, it could cost you thousands of dollars, and it might even cost you your driver’s license for several months or longer. There is no set consequence in place for any DUI arrest without knowing specifics and bringing a case to court. However, there are some factors that might just make a difference in your DUI case.
Getting Your DUI Dropped
If you’re arrested for a DUI, this is the best possible outcome. If the blood alcohol level you were arrested with is close to the legal limit but doesn’t cross it, the prosecutor might drop the case. If his or her office is already backed up, there is a greater chance your case could be dropped. If you are a first-time offender and your level isn’t much higher than the limit and you can argue you simply didn’t feel drunk at all, you might be let off.
If you were pulled over and charged with a DUI because you took prescription drugs your doctor just prescribed and had no idea they’d affect you like this, it’s a good argument that the prosecution might consider worth letting go. Essentially, there are ways you can get your charges dropped if you didn’t hurt anyone, if you didn’t damage anything, and if you have a relatively decent explanation for what happened when you were arrested.
If you have been arrested and charged with a DUI in the past, however, you don’t have much of a chance of seeing your DUI charge go away. In fact, you’re no longer being charged with a misdemeanor DUI. You’re being charged with a felony. You did it before, were arrested and convicted, and you didn’t learn from that even though part of your conviction was a promise to uphold the law from that point forward.
Your past DUI will haunt you for many years. Say you were out with friends and decided you would be their designated driver. This means you had one beer at the beginning of the night that was it for several hours. Even if you are pulled over after that and register a .02 on your blood alcohol test, you’re being arrested and charged with a DUI because it’s your second offense. Someone who has no prior DUI arrests or convictions and this level of intoxication during a traffic stop is generally given a warning and let go as long as they can get a ride home.
Your prior DUI stays on your record, and it makes your life more difficult. This is not to say you cannot get an attorney to drop your charges or have them reduced if you are arrested, but it is more difficult to make that happen when you’re a repeat offender.
An attorney is the first call you make when you are arrested for DUI the first time or the second. Attorneys who handle DUI cases regularly know the law, they know what to do to increase your chance at a reduced sentence or even dropped charges, and they know how to help you when you need it the most. You can fight your own charges, but that prior conviction changes the entire game when you’re arrested for a DUI the second time around. Let an attorney help you make your case when it’s time to speak to a judge.