Will I Have to Serve Time for a California DUI Conviction?Published on October 24, 2018
Being convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) can be a daunting situation for anyone. After being found guilty, you likely have many questions. You may wonder if and when you can get your license back. You may have concerns about how much you’ll have to pay in fines. The number one question most people have is whether they’ll face incarceration after a conviction. The law sets the maximum and minimum penalties you can receive for your offense. What your actual sentence is will depend on a number of factors.
A Los Angeles DUI lawyer will explain the possible sentences you can face for a DUI conviction. If you or a loved one has been convicted of a DUI in California, contact Spolin Law P.C. as soon as possible. Our attorneys have a wealth of experience dealing with DUI law. Contact us today at (310) 424-5816, or reach out via our online form to schedule a free and confidential case consultation.
Several Factors Can Impact Your Sentence
The sentence you receive for a DUI in California will depend on the circumstances that surround your conviction. Some of the factors may suggest that you deserve a lighter sentence. These are known as mitigating factors. Aggravating factors, however, will suggest that you deserve a harsher penalty.
In some cases, the prosecutor may offer you a plea bargain. This involves pleading guilty in exchange for a lesser punishment. The aggravating and mitigating factors of your situation will also play a large role in plea bargain negotiations.
What are Mitigating Factors?
When examining mitigating factors, the prosecution will be looking for reasons you deserve a lighter sentence. For example, if you were intoxicated by a medication that was legally prescribed to you, this could be a mitigating factor. Other factors that may reduce your penalties are:
- Your blood alcohol content (BAC) being only slightly above the legal limit
- Voluntary completion of a counseling or substance abuse program
- Whether you are gainfully employed
Aggravating Factors in a DUI Case
By contrast, aggravating factors tell the court that you deserve a harsher sentence. Many times, the most aggravating factor is having multiple DUI convictions on your record. A criminal record of any kind can signal to the court that you do not deserve leniency. Other circumstances can increase your punishment, including:
- Having a BAC drastically over the legal limit
- Driving recklessly
- Driving excessively over the speed limit
- Driving with a revoked or suspended license
Possible Penalties for Your First California DUI Conviction
The minimum and maximum penalties for your DUI conviction will depend largely on your prior record. For your first DUI offense, California law allows a possible sentence of between 48 hours and six months in jail. If a judge orders probation, however, you are not required to serve any jail time. In general, judges are inclined to be lenient with first-time offenders. Each case, however, is unique. Your sentence will depend on factors like the ones discussed above.
Potential Jail Time Increases With a Second DUI Conviction
If you’re convicted of a second DUI, California law does prescribe jail time. The sentence for a second DUI conviction in California is up to one year in jail. However, there are several ways that you might avoid serving any term of incarceration. Depending on your circumstances, the judge may allow you to serve your sentence on house arrest. Alternatively, you could go through a work program rather than going to jail.
Penalties for a Third DUI
You will likely have to serve some jail time upon your third California DUI conviction. The penalty for a third DUI in the state is between 120 days and one year in jail.
Facing a DUI Conviction in California? Contact Us Today for Help
Your DUI sentence can be affected by any number of details. If you’re facing a conviction, you should enlist the help of a skilled DUI lawyer to explain how the law applies to you specifically. An attorney from Spolin Law P.C. can help determine what factors will affect your sentencing, how severe your sentence is likely to be, and if/how there is any chance of getting your sentence reduced.
To schedule a free, initial evaluation of your case, contact us today at (310) 424-5816.
How Los Angeles Prosecutors Decide to File Charges in a Criminal CasePublished on October 10, 2018
If you are accused of committing a crime, it is up to a prosecutor to decide whether to file misdemeanor charges or to ask a grand jury to indict you for a felony. Prosecutors work for the government. They may represent a county, city, state, or the federal government. To convict you for a crime, the prosecutor must prove you committed each element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. The greater the likelihood of winning a criminal case against you, the more likely it is that a prosecutor will pursue charges. The weaker the evidence, the less likely a prosecutor is to pursue a criminal case. They do not have the time or resources to fight cases they are unlikely to win. They also do not want to tarnish their track record of success.
Given that many factors go into whether or not a prosecutor files charges, you should speak with a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer as soon as you know you are under suspicion or are under investigation.
Spolin Law P.C. can help. Contact us online, or call (310) 424-5816 to request a free consultation.
How Los Angeles Prosecutors Decide to File Charges in a Criminal Case
When determining whether or not to pursue criminal charges, prosecutors will analyze:
A significant factor in deciding whether to file charges is the amount of evidence against you and the strength of that evidence. The more evidence there is against you, the better the situation is for the prosecutor. However, the type of evidence and its weight also matters. A great deal of circumstantial evidence, which relies on jurors making various assumptions, is not as strong as direct evidence of you committing the crime. Using their knowledge of California criminal law and their experience, the prosecutor will determine whether they have enough evidence to convince a jury you committed a crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
The Credibility of Witnesses and Victims
A part of analyzing the evidence is reviewing the testimony of the alleged victim(s) and witness(es). How credible are these individuals? Prosecutors have to determine how likely jurors are to believe each victim or witness. The less trustworthy or sympathetic a victim or witness appears, the less likely the juror is to believe their testimony. When a prosecutor believes a witness or victim may not be credible, then their testimony may be considered weak evidence.
The Circumstances Surrounding the Accusations or Arrest
At some point, the criminal matter has to come to the prosecutor’s attention. This may stem from an arrest or due to a law enforcement investigation. Then, the prosecutor closely reviews the current information, including the alleged criminal conduct, the environment where it occurred, and any other relevant factors that make the situation worse or better. For example, there is a difference between a first-time offender accused of possessing a small amount of cocaine versus someone with a criminal history being accused of possessing a large quantity of cocaine that is packaged for distribution.
The Possibility of a Plea Bargain
After reviewing the evidence and circumstances surrounding a case, the prosecutor will have an educated opinion on whether they can win the criminal case or not. However, winning at trial is not always the end goal. Prosecutors do not want every case to go to trial. Neither they nor the courts have time for this.
In many cases, prosecutors are hoping that a defendant will accept a plea bargain. You agree to plead guilty in exchange for a pre-determined penalty, which is often lighter than the maximum penalty you could be sentenced to by the judge. A prosecutor may bring a case that will be tough to prove at trial if they believe it is likely they can pressure you into accepting a plea.
Current Political Pressures
In Los Angeles County, a nonpartisan district attorney is elected as chief prosecutor every four years. They are responsible for running the District Attorney’s Office. Assistant district attorneys also staff this office. Because chief prosecutors are elected, and because they influence how the office handles cases, prosecutors are susceptible to political pressures and agendas. The current political climate can influence whether charges are brought against you or not.
Talk to a Criminal Defense Lawyer About Potential Charges
If you have been arrested or know you are under investigation for a crime, you should call an experienced criminal defense lawyer to discuss the possibility of a criminal case. An attorney from Spolin Law P.C. can protect your rights during an investigation and reduce the risk of facing charges. Also, if a prosecutor chooses to pursue charges, then you have an attorney ready to defend you in court.
To learn more about how prosecutors decide to file charges in Los Angeles, contact us today at (310) 424-5816.