Los Angeles DUI Lawyers
If you have been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) or drugs (DUID), then you need to contact an experienced attorney immediately. An arrest for impaired driving can have immediate consequences, including the loss of your driver’s license. If you are convicted, then you can expect a number of statutory penalties and collateral consequences to make moving forward in life difficult.
At Spolin Law P.C., we are here to help you fight DUI charges. We understand how nerve-wracking this experience can be. A Los Angeles DUI attorney at our firm will fight hard for you to walk away from this experience with the best possible outcome.
What to Do if You Are Arrested for a DUI in California
If you are arrested for a DUI, the best thing to do is to ask for an attorney and state you are going to remain silent until your lawyer is present. After invoking your right to silence, do not answer any of the police officer’s questions and do not sign any paperwork. You must be given the chance to contact a DUI defense lawyer, or you may contact a family member or friend who can call one for you.
You have the right to refuse a chemical test to determine your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). However, there are consequences for doing so. If you refuse a warrantless breath, urine, or blood test, your driver’s license can be automatically suspended. You cannot be criminally punished for refusing a warrantless blood test, however officers may obtain a warrant requiring you to submit a blood sample.
Civil Consequences of a DUI Arrest
There are immediate consequences after you are arrested for a DUI or drugged driving in California. If you are arrested and had a BAC over .08 percent or you refused to submit to a BAC test, then you face an automatic civil driver’s license suspension. If you were charged for having a BAC over the legal limit and this is your first DUI arrest, then the suspension is for at least four months. However, if this is a subsequent DUI offense within 10 years or you are under 21 years old, then your license is suspended for one year.
If you refused to take a chemical test to determine your BAC and you are 21 years or older, then your license will be suspended for one year. A second refusal leads to a two-year revocation, and a third or subsequent refusal leads to a three-year revocation.
To avoid an automatic license suspension, you must ask for an administrative hearing quickly. You only have 10 days to request a hearing with DMV, which is why it is essential that you contact a lawyer as quickly as possible after a DUI arrest.
California Vehicle Code (VC) §23152 says it is unlawful for anyone who is under the influence of alcohol or who has a BAC of .08 percent or more to drive a vehicle. If you are arrested for a DUI for the first time in a 10-year period, then you will be charged with a first-time DUI.
If you are convicted of a first DUI, you face:
- Between four days and six months in jail
- Fines up to $1,000
- Between 30 days and 10 months of a driver’s license suspension
- Possible requirement to install an ignition interlock device on any vehicle you drive
If you are arrested for a DUI a second or subsequent time within a 10-year period, then you face a multiple DUI charge. Consequences for multiple DUIs in California are:
- Second DUI – Between 10 days and one year in jail, fines up to $1,800, a two-year license suspension, and installation of an ignition interlock device
- Third DUI – Between 120 days and one year in jail, fines up to $1,800, a three-year license suspension, and installation of an ignition interlock device
- Fourth DUI – Between 16 months and four years of incarceration, fines up to $18,000, a four-year license suspension, and installation of an ignition interlock device
While first, second, and third DUI offenses are typically charged as misdemeanors, a fourth DUI within a 10-year period will likely be charged as a felony. In fact, every DUI has the potential to be charged as a penalty if you have previous DUI convictions, and if your accident caused great bodily harm to the alleged victim.
To avoid these harsh penalties and other collateral consequences that stem from a DUI conviction, call a drunk driving attorney from Spolin Law P.C. today.
California DUI laws have a zero-tolerance policy for underage drinking and driving. Numerous statutes make it unlawful for anyone 20 years or younger to drive with a BAC of .01 percent or greater. If you are under 21 years old, are pulled over, and a roadside breath test shows you have any amount of alcohol in your system, you can expect to be arrested for an underage DUI.
The consequences of an underage DUI are based on your BAC at the time of the arrest:
- BAC between .01 and.04 (VC §23136) – This offense results in your driver’s license being suspended for one year. You may also be required to attend alcohol education classes.
- BAC between .05 and .07 (VC §23140) – This charge results in a one-year driver’s license suspension, fines, and an alcohol education program.
- BAC .08 or higher (VC §23152) – This is a misdemeanor offense punishable by a minimum of 96 hours in jail, probation, fines, driver’s license suspension, alcohol education, and possible installation of an ignition interlock device.
Also, if you are underage and you refuse to submit to a chemical test to determine your BAC, then you face one to three additional years of driver’s license suspension.
Despite changes in California’s marijuana and drug possession laws, it remains illegal to drive while under the influence of a drug. Based on VC §23152, you cannot drive if you are addicted to any drug, are under the influence of a drug, or are under the influence of a combination of drugs and alcohol. California defines drugs for this statute as any substance, other than alcohol, that can interfere with the normal function of your brain, nervous system, or muscles. This encompasses controlled substances, prescription medications, and over-the-counter drugs.
If you are convicted of a first-time DUID, you face:
- Up to six months in jail
- Fines of at least $390
- At least a six-month driver’s license suspension
- Possible installation of an ignition interlock device
- Alcohol and/or drug education
The consequences of a second or subsequent DUID arrest within 10 years become much harsher, including longer periods of incarceration, higher fines, and longer driver’s license suspensions.
Possible Alternative DUI Punishments
There are also a number of alternative punishments for first-time and multiple DUI convictions, such as:
- Community service
- Electronic home monitoring/house arrest
- Alcohol and/or drug rehabilitation
- Mothers Against Drunk Driving Victim Impact Program
You can work with your Los Angeles DUI attorney to seek alternative punishments as a way to avoid incarceration and to get back to your school or career as quickly as possible.
Collateral Consequences of a DUI Conviction
If you are convicted of a DUI or DUID, you can expect to face a number of long-term consequences beyond the statutory punishments. A DUI will affect your life for years to come. Because you cannot drive for a period of time, you may have a difficult time continuing your college education. You may lose your ambition if you do not have a driver’s license or reliable transportation, and it could be challenging to find a new job. Since a DUI or DUID will appear on a background check, it also may be challenging to obtain loans or rent apartments. Additionally, a conviction could harm your immigration status or be used by your child’s other parent to reduce your amount of custody or visitation.
Defending Against DUI Charges
If you are charged with a DUI or DUID, there may be one or multiple strong defenses available in your case. An experienced attorney will review your situation and advise you on the best way to defend against these charges.
Potential defenses to DUI charges include:
- Challenging the constitutionality of the initial traffic stop
- Challenging the legality of a road block
- Suppressing illegally obtained evidence
- Challenging the validity of field sobriety tests
- Challenging the results of a urine, breath, or blood test
- Proving there was no impairment
- Establishing there is a lack of evidence
Let a Los Angeles DUI Lawyer Help You
If you have been charged with a DUI or DUID, call Spolin Law P.C. today. Attorney Aaron Spolin personally handles California DUI cases, from the initial administrative hearing all the way through trial. He will aggressively fight for you to obtain the best possible outcome in your case, and ensure that your rights and freedom remains protected throughout the process.